Proust’s Hat

Via Making Light, I’ve just discovered the Language Hat, a blog full of entertaining digressions on language and words and possibly hats. Anyway, the Author is making his way through Proust (and subjecting it to his wife as well) which struck me as interesting (if a bit sadistic), as I vainly started reading Swann’s Way some time ago and just recently reached page thirty, where little Marcel is forced to take the long walk up the well varnished stairs, sans his mother’s goodnight kiss, which is followed by a four page digression as to how this makes him feel like, well, an awful lot of things, really.

The weird thing about Proust is that I don’t really feel qualified to offer an opinion (like it’s going to stop me, though!) I think this has to do with the density and aura of literariness that Proust’s work has gathered about it. There’s a certain amount of investment to be had when starting a seven volume novel. It’s not something you can just plow through in a long weekend, though Jane Smily thinks you can read the whole lot in 70 days,* which might be possible if you did nothing else. But for those of us with jobs and families and a half written novel to finish, that’s pushing it. Maybe as I read more of it I’ll feel more comfortable commenting. Seeing as how I’m still doggy paddling around in the shallow end of Volume 1, this may go on for some time. Perhaps if I resolve to make a weekly post about it, updating my progress, that’ll help. If anything, it’ll be a nice counter balance to all the Battlestar Galactica and Doctor Who blogging of late. Come for the Pop Culture, stay for the French Literature! And cat pictures (returning shortly; the little buggers have been camera shy of late). If I’m feeling really industrious, I’ll follow the example of Fred Clark’s superb analysis of the Left Behind Series. Only, this will be shallow analysis of a good book, rather than in depth analysis of a piece of crap (which is still fascinating in that it gives a critical view of the inner workings of evangelical end timers and their cultish fixations).

Besides discussions of Proust, Language Hat also features fascinating discussions on words and their origins and meanings. Well worth checking out if that’s your kink.