28 Feb 2009
John M. J.
They don't need to have read Proust in the original. (Who the hell has?)
Is this anti-intellectualism? If it is then I will find the time to argue and I refuse to be taken as une Prisonniere of the under-read.
So, just call me Albertine - one who lives within a 'Budding Grove', perhaps! Certainly, I am not une Fugitive from argument.
I will not skulk in the shadows and endorse the average Englishman's wilful and catastrophic ignorance of other tongues. Proust is important and it is important to read him and to understand him in his native language. One does not have to agree with his underlying philosophy but one has to understand him.
To attempt anything else is a betrayal of rationality and ratiocination. Proust, like a rock upon which a ship might founder, just is. One has to find a way around him or through him. On the whole, it's easier to go through him and learn much in the process. Better yet, learn French and fully understand him, for neither Kilmartin, nor Enright, got the translations precisely correct, more's the pity.
For me it's an essay of his written whilst he was very young that best conveys what I mean. Les nuages is poetic, majestic and wonderful when read in French -- in that language it carries poetry, imagery and profundity allied with emotion and sympathy for the human state. In its English translation, no matter how good, is banal, weak, pedestrian and none of the rich plethora of hidden references and calculated wordplay work or manage to convey any depth of meaning to the Anglophone.
There are two reasons which an Englishman may legitimately deploy to apologise for his, or her, knowledge of French -- the first is his decadent summers spent in Deauville and the second is the gloriously rich writings of Marcel Proust.
1 Mar 2009
Perfume for English women = Eau de Poisson et Pommes Frites.
1 Mar 2009
Avec vinaigre. Tres délicieux!