Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

The book is coming along

with 2 comments

I’ve gone through it, and tomorrow I’ll go through The Wife’s notes on it. We’ve done a trial run at the Adobe distillation, which is working well and preservers the hyperlinks between the table of contents entries and the corresponding sections in the text.

I use a quotation from A.J. Liebling that I thought you might enjoy. It’s taken from Just Enough Liebling, which I got from the library:

The Proust madeleine phenomenon is now as firmly established in folklore as Newton’s apple or Watt’s steam kettle. The man ate a tea biscuit, the taste evoked memories, he wrote a book. This is capable of expression by the formula TMB, for Taste > Memory > Book. Some time ago, when I began to read a book called The Food of France, by Waverley Root, I had an inverse experience: BMT, for Book > Memory > Taste. Happily, the tastes that The Food of France re-created for me—small birds, stewed rabbit, stuffed tripe, Côte Rôtie, and Tavel—were more robust than that of the madeleine, which Larousse defines as “a light cake made with sugar, flour, lemon juice, brandy, and eggs.” (The quantity of brandy in a madeleine would not furnish a gnat with an alcohol rub.) In the light of what Proust wrote with so mild a stimulus, it is the world’s loss that he did not have a heartier appetite. On a dozen Gardiners Island oysters, a bowl of clam chowder, a peck of steamers, some bay scallops, three sautéed soft-shelled crabs, a few ears of fresh-picked corn, a thin swordfish steak of generous area, a pair of lobsters, and a Long Island duck, he might have written a masterpiece.

Written by Leisureguy

25 November 2007 at 6:51 pm

Posted in Books, Food, Writing

2 Responses

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  1. No, no no! I have a 6-volume edition of Proust that I started on maybe 6 years ago, and I’m about one-third of the way through the third volume. He is exasperating to read. His sentences can get very long, so long that you have to go back to the beginning and read it again to figure it out. When I began reading him, I came across an article in which the writer said that he was reading Proust at the rate of 2 pages a day. Absurd, I thought at the time, but experience has shown me that he had the right idea. Reading Proust can be compared to having a diet based on gooey ice cream sundaes – too rich. Further, Proust is the most self-absorbed and self-centered writer I have ever read. To feed him up on more substantial fare would have encouraged him to write even more of that sort of thing. Of course, it’s all relative. For anyone who enjoys struggling, I recommend Immanuel Kant’s ‘Critique of Pure Reason’ – in German.



    28 November 2007 at 11:26 am

  2. Who among our fellow students at St. John’s rearranged the Proust volumes on some tutor’s bookshelf (the spines of which spelled out MPROUST) to spell PROSMUT?

    I’ve heard of a one-page-a-day suggestion for reading A La Recherche, and even that was too rich for me. Still, retirement beckons.


    Linda McConnell

    3 December 2007 at 10:38 am

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