Litkicks Message Board Archive

I was bored... so here's Marcel Proust

Posted to WritersAndGenres

brooklyn, I know I didn't ask beforehand but while searching this board this morning, I noticed that there was nothing on Marcel Proust. So, out of nothing but boredom, I typed this up for the LitKicks group. My only hope is that you'll all enjoy it.

Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust was born on July 10th in Auteuil, France, a suburb near Paris. His father, well known for his works in epidermiology, was a doctor married to a stockbroker's daughter of Jewish descendent. From age of nine, having been sick since he was born, Marcel suffered through asthma attack, which diqualified him from professional life as a young man.

In the 1890's, he contributed some sketches to magazines such as "Le Figaro" and "Le Banquet," then published "Pleasures and Days," a collection of short stories, poetry, and essays, in 1896. Very active in social life, he became acquainted with high ranks of wealth and aristocrats. In 1894, he began an affair with a pianist, Reynaldo Hahn, prompting him to realize his homosexual tendencies with anguish.

In 1898, Emile Zola published a letter defending Colonel Dreyfus, who was facing charges of treason. Proust became known, as he qoute, "the first Dreyfusard." When Dreyfus was cleared of the charges, Proust's social life was already shattered due to anti-Semitism and political hatreds.

After the death of Proust's mother in 1905, he spent time in the sanitorium. Later, he devoted his time to writing due to failing health and the fact that he withdrew himself from the society. In 1913, after a couple of novels that basically laid out the groundwork, he finally published "Swann's Way." "Within a Budding Grove," published in 1919, won the Goncourt Prize and, along with it, instanteous fame and recognition. "The Guermantes Way" and "Sodom and Gomorrah" were published in his lifetime before Proust passed away on November 18th, 1922. The reamining volumes, in what was to become known as "In Search of Lost Time" were published shortly after his death. "The Captive" in 1923, "The Fugitive" in 1925, and, finally, "Time Regained," in 1927.

I have only read one book of his, "The Captive," with intention to start reading "The Fugitive" shortly and I don't think he's so easy to read. I became aware of Proust after the second reading of Jack Kerouac "On the Road," noticing that Dean Moriarty seems to be reading his works from time to time, especially towards the end when Sal imagined Dean to be reading it on a train while crossing the continent in search of Sal Paradise. Also, it seemed to me, having read "The First Third" by Neal Cassidy, that Neal was following the Proustian style and theory of writing.