How to Make Proust’s ‘Finding Time Again’ Easier to Read.
Proust rarely uses chapter divisions, and it makes the books harder to read. Having learnt that in advance, tonight I went through ‘Finding Time Again’ and found the chapters beforehand so that I have a sense of the structure of what I am reading, when it begins, climaxes, and ends, and the general nature of the settings and meanings I can expect it to lead to. My read will be easier now.
Reading Proust takes skill and a bit of preparation. Reading books that yield a difficult pleasure is a different experience from reading for casual stimulation. Most books are not complex enough to relate to as one would a real person; those few that are that sophisticated are actually revered and celebrated for their difficulty. But what is the difficulty but the normal work involved in considering the feelings, views and world of another whom you love? Such a difficulty love makes no difficulty at all.
Books that you can live with as you would a real person are the genuine AI or artificial intelligence. They might win at chess, but no computer can yet come close to ‘A la Rechere du Temps Perdu’.
So here are the chapter divisions for the new Penguin paperback translation of ‘Finding Time Again’, reverently translated by Ian Patterson. Enjoy.
1-29 – At Tansonville with Robert Saint-Loup and the Goncourt journals.
29 – 1st Paris visit. 1914. Great War starts.
63 – 2nd Paris visit. De Charlus. 1916.
118 – Jupien’s hotel.
162 – 3rd Paris return ‘Perpetual Adoration’.
226 – The Masque ‘Bal des Tetes’.
304 – La Berma
308 – Time Found Again.