A Year of Reading Marcel Proust (& Sri Ramakrishna)

Cami Kasmerchak just gave me the idea of a reading group (like the one we did in 2021 of Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov) of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. Who’s been wanting to read (or reread) this?

“In reality every reader is, while he is reading, the reader of his own self. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers to the reader to enable him to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have perceived in himself. And the recognition by the reader in his own self of what the book says is the proof of its veracity. . . . In order to read with understanding many readers require to read in their own particular fashion, and the author must not be indignant at this; on the contrary, he must leave the reader all possible liberty, saying to him: “Look for yourself, and try whether you see best with this lens or that one or this other one.” — Marcel Proust, Time Regained (volume 7)

Literary critic Harold Bloom: “Though Proust had a Jewish mother, he seems to me neither Christian nor Jewish. His wisdom is his own, and though it has an analogue to Shakespeare’s detachment, I think it is indeed closer to Hindu philosophy. There is a curious difficulty here. All of Proust turns upon erotic relationships, yet in time all of these are renounced or abandoned. And yet, without them, In Search of Lost Time could not have been composed. Marcel observes that Albertine fertilized him through unhappiness.”

Another long book to read then, alongside of Proust, is the spiritual masterpiece, The Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna.

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