Wednesday Miscellany: Proust, etc.

Edmund White lists five novels “reviewers should have in their libraries” for the “Critical Library" series over at the NBCC blog. Among them: In Search of Lost Time, which he has read thrice (!), the first time in high school (!, again). For more of White's thoughts on Proust, check out PEN America 2: Home & Away, and his piece, “The Consolations of Art”:
Of course Proust is also popular because he wrote about glamour, rich people, nobles, artists. And he wrote about love. It doesn’t seem to matter that he came to despise love, that he exploded it, reduced it to its shabbiest, most mechanical, even hydraulic terms. By which I mean he not only demystified love, he also dehumanized it, turning it into something merely Pavlovian. The love Swann feels for Odette is in no way a tribute to her charms or her soul.
Seems a bit less cheery than Alain de Botton's version. (Among the other writers who consider Proust in PEN America 2: Marilynne Robinson, Lydia Davis, Nadine Gordimer... check it out. And for a lighter-- and very amusing-- take on reading Proust, try Barnaby Sandwich.)

That discussion of “the place of the political in poetry” that Ted Genoways called for last week-- and which is mentioned below-- elicited some interesting remarks, both at the VQR blog and at The Chronicle of Higher Education. As part of the discussion, Don Share, senior editor of Poetry, called attention to this piece by Nathaniel Fick about “recent war poetry.”

As others have noted, the 2007 MacArthur “Genius” Grants were announced this week, and three members of PEN were among the recipients: fiction writer Stuart Dybek, playwright Lynn Nottage, and editor Peter Cole.

The New York Times
ran a profile yesterday of “two leading Brazilian novelists of Amazon themes”: Márcio Souza and Milton Hatoum.

Mid-day update: PEN and The Campaign for Reader Privacy applaud "the introduction today of legislation to safeguard the privacy of ordinary Americans and curb the FBI’s abuse of the National Security Letter power granted under the USA Patriot Act." Read more.

1 comment:

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