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From: Michael Andre-Driussi <mantis@sirius.com>
Subject: (urth) Wolfe on Proust
Date: Thu, 5 Aug 1999 19:11:56 

(the Proust bits from an unpublished interview conducted by myself a few
years ago--the manuscript of EXODUS had just been turned in.)

Q: How many times have you read _Remembrance of Things Past_ and what is
your favorite part?

GW: To the best of my memory, I've read _The Remembrance of Things Past_
two and a half times. I read the old translation through twice, began the
new one (by Terrence Kilmartin, but quite similar to Scott Moncrieff's) and
got about half through before I had to vet the galleys of something. Proust
is a problem for me because when I read him I don't want to read anything
else, and of course it's seven books.

     I've been looking through Volume I of the Kilmartin; I finished it in
1985. My favorite part, which I've been unable to find, is the young Marcel
going to mass in Combray, looking at the tombs in the church, the stained
glass windows, and so on.

     There is also that wonderful scene in the Bois in which he waits and
waits for his grandmother to leave the public toilet. After a wait that
seems almost infinite, she leaves, walking fast--very fast, for an old
lady--and he hurries to catch up with her. That scene is more horrible than
ninety-nine one hundredths of the avowed horror I've read.

Q: The first scene you mentioned (mass in Combray) begins on page 190 of
Kilmartin Volume I, the second (grandmother's stroke) begins on 319 of
Volume II. Interesting pair--the glory of the sublime and the horror of the
mundane. The quiet horror of grandmother's stroke, where everyday
banalities mask and hide a real crisis, where offhand remarks carry uncanny
portent--this comes up again in that unforgettable scene where the dying
Swann tries to introduce his daughter to the society that has shunned him
(for marrying her mother, among other reasons).


*More Wolfe info & archive of this list at http://www.urth.net/urth/

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