Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Preparing For Proust

1998 wasn't a very fine time for me. My friend Roger Baylor and I embarked upon planned joint reading of Remembrance of Things Past. I think Roger was likely more interested in helping me than exploring thousands of pages of introspective prose. I made it through Swan's Way and then entropy prevailed. The project was placed aside and ultimately passed over so we could read Magic Mountain, Master and the Margarita and eventually Gravity's Rainbow in an effort which culminated in our founding samizdat.

Just about ten years later I was at the christening of my friend's Mark's daughter and I met his friend Eldon. Eldon hails from Bloomington and for leisure has read all of Remembrance three times. We had a delightful conversation, he was fascinated that we were reading the Zachary Leader biography of Kingsley Amis. I tacitly vowed then that I would tackle Proust again.

So here we are. I have decided that given my recent predilection for contemporary translations, I might initially sidestep the honored Moncrieff edition and opt for Lydia Davis' current effort. A stroke of luck presented itself as a local library branch had a copy of Davis' Swan's Way. I consider this prudent before any investment.

I have wrestled with myriad approaches these last few days. I think I will proceed one volume at a time, aiming to complete one each month, but allowing the process to be interspersed with other works.


Blogger jon faith said...

Apparently Ms. Davis only translated SW but Penguin Classics offers other contemporary trnaslations to accompany such.

5:17 PM  

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