Comments for Swann's Way: Combray: Lisa's First Word
Swann's Way: Combray: Lisa's First Word: 07/04/09
Swann's Way (Du côté de chez Swann) is the first of a seven volume fictionalized autobiography. I'm reading the Modern Library version, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff. I don't have a fixed schedule for how much I plan to read in a week or when I plan to finish this volume. I plan to read at a leisurely pace and see how far I get. When I come to a natural stopping point or run out of time in a week, I'll put the book aside and think about my weekly post.
As an interesting side note, Swann's Way was rejected by a number of publishers. Proust finally convinced a publisher to publish it if he'd cover the costs. In modern terms, Proust was a P.O.D. person. He's a perfect example of why I am so willing to read self published books.
I'll be doing the same thing that I did with Don Quixote de la Mancha and Ulysses. I will make comparisons to something pop culture, probably either from television or the movies but it might be something else, depending on how the book inspires me.
For this first week I managed to read thirty pages of the first section, "Combray." Proust starts off the book in first person without naming the protagonist (but it will later be revealed to be a semi-fictional Marcel Proust). He spends most of these first thirty pages talking about going to bed early and all the many different ways he slept, or didn't sleep. He talks of dreams he's had, of falling asleep in the wrong place or wrong position, of not knowing what time it is when he wakes and of having long bouts of insomnia.
With all this talk of sleeping or not sleeping and the importance of a good bed, I couldn't help but think of the Simpson's episode: "Lisa's First Word" (December 3, 1992). To make room for soon to be born Lisa, Bart has to give up his crib and sleep in a big boy bed. Even at such a young age he was fascinated by Krusty the Klown so Homer sets out to make him a clown themed big boy bed. Unfortunately it's a completely demented looking thing, thus giving rise to the great Bart line: "Can't sleep... clown will eat me." That my friends is my take on the first 30 pages of Swann's Way.
I'll leave you with a classic bit of Monty Python.