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AlbertJayNock

Thoughts On Proust

I'd recently read Duane's Depressed by Larry McMurtry. The last third of the novel is called "The Walker And Marcel Proust" because Duane's (The Walker's) psychiatrist has told him to read Marcel Proust's In Search Of Lost Time.

McMurtry must be a really powerful and persuasive writer, because I've been through a brief period of obsessing about Marcel Proust. Even though I have never read any of his work. Or more to the point, because I have not read any of his work, including his signature novel In Search Of Lost Time I did some googling on it and found out that it is (depending on the translation and edition) 3000-4000 pages long.

This obsession led to an interesting incident at Starbucks the other day.  As I was getting my coffee, I noticed that they also sold madeleines. It made me think about Proust's famous episode of the madeleine, in which a character is flooded with memories after dipping a madeleine into his tea.

I didn't express this thought to anyone, because I haven't read In Search Of Lost Time and would have come across as unbearably pretentious. (If I'd read it, I could at least have come across as authoratitvely pretentious.)

The whole episode was a good illustration of how times change. In the early 20th century, Prousts character was reminded of episodes from his own life. Later, I'm sure many others were reminded of their own reading of Proust by a madeleine. Later on, I was reminded not of my own life, or of a novel I'd read, but a novel I'd read about on Wikipedia.

I am unquestionably a man of the 21st century. Proust unquestionably was not. That is to his credit.

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