Books 2010

Books 2009

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Thursday, 08 April 2010


To Dark Puss (end of the message)
Last year, I was offered a book on meals and food in Proust's novel. The book includes excerpts from La recherche and old recipes too. I have only browsed it, and still have to focus properly on it. To tell the truth, I was put off when I found a recipe involving alive lobsters that the cook was supposed to throw in boiling water! Not to my liking at all, although sadly it is the right and only way to cook them. I also found recently in a bootsale a book commenting Proust's novel from an historical perspective and explaining what Proust was refering to in real life. And now that I have read the Powellian saga, I feel that I could engage in reading the whole Proust saga to see why some people compared the two writers. If your goal is still to read Proust, I thought we could read it together/simultaneously and report on this weblog, Mr Bagshaw permitting of course, and unless he wants to join in the pain too.
Of course, this will be a very cool thing, without deadlines or duties, and not with a competitive spirit. And if we are tired with Proust, we could let him down and come back later when we are in the mood.
I propose to start in July or August, and I hope that I will be able to keep my promises. What do you think, Dark Puss ?

Dear Dark Puss,
Glad to see you are still with us, and I hope you will continue to visit this weblog despite having one of your own.
Yes, that's "Turner and the Masters" indeed. I was planning to go to London to see it, and then I was informed that the exhibition was due to be displayed on the continent too. Lucky us! I especially like the marine scenes from Turner, and his wonderful skies too. I will tell you more when I have visited.

Beside, I remember that we discussed Proust a few months ago , and I owe you an accurate answer about him.
I talked to a fan of Proust who rereads La recherche on a very regular basis, just like Mr Bagshaw rereads Powell or even more often. He gave me two tips that I want to transmit to you. First, he told me that he has never read Proust's work from the first page to the last page, but he recommends to forget about some pages, and then the following time, you read what you missed. He says that's the best way to cope with the whole if you want to enjoy it. Secondly, he said that usually readers take Proust too seriously; Proust'aim was to depict the French aristocrats and the socialites of his time humoristically, and he wanted them to look ridiculous. Then, the right mood for reading is to be light-headed and easygoing.

Glo, do you mean "Turner and the Masters"? If it is that one then I certainly visited it at Tate Britain and thought it very good indeed. Very interesting to see where Turner failed to paint anything half as good (for example his copy of Titian) and of course where he begins to show his mastery and to move painting in new and exciting directions.

I hope you like it as much as I did.

First time I hear of Paul Sandy. Sadly, I won't visit this exhibition but I will will soon visit the exhibition on Turner that was in London last winter, and I am very happy about that because Turner is one of my favourite English painters. Did you see it, Mr Bagshaw?

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  • Nothing is of greater consolation to the author of a novel than the disovery of readings he had not conceived but which are then prompted by his readers. (Umberto Eco, Reflections on The Name of the Rose)
  • ... relatively few persons in London ... can afford the luxury of one or more servants. No fewer than 3,700,000 have no servants at all, and of the half million that have servants 227,000 have only one. (The Times, 6 June 1895)
  • Standing among savage scenery, the hotel offers stupendous revelations. There is a French widow in every bedroom, affording delightful prospects. (Tyrolean inn brochure, according to Gerard Hoffnung)
  • (A doctor is at an elderly relative's deathbed) "The old sawbones, eh?" he bellowed ... "Just in the nick, perhaps. Haul the old girl back by the short hairs, if you ask me. Devilish smart at his work ... Always take a fence with more confidence when I know he's out with us."
  • Too often, when a man of Monty Godkin's mental powers is plunged in thought, nothing happens at all. The machinery just whirs for a while, and that is the end of it. (P G Wodehouse, Heavy Weather)
  • ...the breed that take their pleasures as Saint Laurence took his grid (Kipling, The Five nations)

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