Sunday, September 26, 2010

Books: In Search of Lost Time Volume Three: The Guermantes Way, by Marcel Proust

Apparently, readers are itchy because I haven't posted on Proust for more than a month. Blame Marcel for writing such a dreadfully dull third volume, in which nothing of consequence ever happens, other than the attendance of chatter-filled dinner parties and "at-homes" in which the characters gossip about who is a Dreyfusard and who is an anti-.

Frankly, I find the Dreyfus Affair rather dull. As an undergraduate, I constantly heard it referenced, so I finally looked it up. It made so shallow an impression that, coming across it again in The Guermantes Way, I had to again look it up. As it turns out, the case is quite a bit more interesting than Proust makes it out to be. Still, Volume III now represents to me, in a particular way (i.e., not the way Marcel intended) lost time.

If I thought the volume warranted more discussion, I would offer it, but so far it seems that it is only worth reading to fill in the logical lacuna generated by reading only Volumes II and IV (the former filled with the titillations of heterosexual desire, the latter promising the titillations of homosexual pursuits (or so it seems; I've only read the first few pages)).

1 comment:

Grapeshot/Odette said...

I'm with you! It too me FOREVER to plod through The Guermantes Way. All those dreadfully boring parties and receptions. And nothing ever happened. The Guermantes wit was witless. I'm 100+ pages into The Cities of the Plain and the plot (if there is indeed a plot) is moving right along.