Friday, November 9, 2012

The Proust is in the Pudding

So a bunch of the nerdiest staff members are gathering together and tackling Proust's epic, 6-volume novel In Search of Lost Time. Some of us have read it before, some of us are in book 5, some are fresh and new to the longest novel in the universe, but we're all having fun eating madeleines and talking about the book, and there is QUITE A LOT to talk about when each page has a whole novel's worth of unpacking to be done about it.

I have had as much fun finding and reading secondary material on Proust while I make my way through the series. My background in philosophy in particular is sending me on all kinds of romps through Husserl, Bergson and Merleau-Ponty to not only refresh my memory on phenomenology but to see also how the moment-to-moment perceptions and almost stream of consciousness style move along the observations and action in the novel.

If you're interested in a similar pursuit, there have been some serendipitous coincidences of arrivals in the UBC on the front of Proust-related books.

David Abram, Spell of the Sensuous
Abram's book is an investigation of language and perception and how through history our language and means of storytelling have influenced our conception of space and time; a subject of primary importance to Proust.

Henri Bergson, Creative Evolution
Bergson was a contemporary of Proust's, and in fact he even married Proust's cousin. Proust read Bergson and was highly influenced by him. Creative Evolution is a work written on the heels of Darwin drawing on immediate, moment-to-moment sense experience to explain reality, rather than pure reason alone. We got this beautiful Modern Library edition WITH a rad dust jacket that I lovingly mylared for you.

Alain de Botton, How Proust Can Change Your Life
de Botton turns to Proust's modern epic to learn important life lessons. Important chapters include: "How to take your time," "How to read for yourself," and perhaps most importantly, "How to be happy in love."

and of course, there's Proust himself. We have several volumes and versions of the epic novel.

Curl up with some madeleines, tea, and the perfect autumn to winter novel (and any and all supplementary materials), and read along with the staff!

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