New Proust

"It is surprising but true: a polished, mature work by Marcel Proust that is unavailable in English translation-- until now."

So reads the book description for The Lemoine Affair, the newly available novella pointed out by Chad Post over at Three Percent. It will be published by Melville House as part of their wonderful "Art of the Novella" series:
In this overlooked comedic gem based on a true story, the author considered one of the most important writers of the twentieth century tells the tale of a con artist who claimed he could manufacture diamonds, with each chapter of the tale written in the style of a different French writer. This delicious spoof of Balzac, Flaubert, Chateaubriand and others is presented in a sparkling, nuanced translation by the award-winning Charlotte Mandell.
(Mandell, by the way, has a detailed homepage over at PEN.org, one of many great translators in PEN's directory.)

This also gives me an excuse to link to Marilynne Robinson's piece on Proust from PEN America 2. Robinson begins by recalling the time her teacher, John Hawkes, called a paragraph of hers "Proustian":
He did this to shelter it from the criticisms of my fellow students, who were aflame then with a stern undergraduate passion for truth-telling, for tearing away veils and dispelling illusions. I was as impressed by this project as anyone, and I made certain poor attempts at it, which the formidable Mr. Hawkes discouraged by invoking this great name to approve one straying memory of my primordial Idaho.
PEN America 8 will include some remarks by Robinson on her interest in Iowan history-- which inspired not only Gilead, but also her upcoming novel, Home.

(The image aboves comes from the homepage for The Proust Society of America, "a permanent program of The Mercantile Library Center for Fiction.")

1 comment:

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