Sunday, August 05, 2007

ISYGF, Chapter 12: That's why the lady is a trollope.

Okay, I've been AWOL, I know, but 3000-mile relocations are a bitch, knamean? Anyhoo, here I am, just six pages past my last post, but I've been brought to a screeching halt by what I find: "For all that, Mme Swann had mastered the manners of the fashionable; and, however elegant and dignified the grand lady might be, Odette was always her equal in them."

Say whaaaaa? I mean, let's ignore the whole switching from last name to first in the same sentence, because maybe that's just the journalist in me bristling at the inconsistency there. Let's just look at that sentence for its basic meaning. I mean, this is Odette we're talking about, right? Isn't a resolute lack of class one of her defining characteristics? I mean, Proust was just telling us about how she still views Mme. Verdurin as her major role model, and that woman was the personification of odious coarseness. I'll accept a certain amount of Eliza Doolittling going on after Swann domesticates la madame, but I find it hard to swallow that she suddenly goes from Anna Nicole Smith* to Jackie Fucking O. Non, M. Proust. Because I know you at this point. You're totally going to make some bitchy remark about her crassness and social gaucherie in another 50 pages, aren't you? Aren't you? Right. So don't even try this shit with me.

*I had a weird mental block for a second about ANS's name--for some reason, my brain kept giving me "Nicole Ritchie," which, while a viable alternative, was not really the exact metaphor I wanted. So I had to resort to Google. And I suppose it's some sort of legacy that, if you type "dead texas floozie" into an internet search engine, her name comes up right on the first page. Rest in peace, sweet DTF. Rest in peace.


Blogger Mr_Grant, Managing Editor said...

Huh? "...Odette was always her equal in them." That means she was competing with herself. I think he meant 'was always equal to them.' Who invented syntax? Probably Germans.

7:49 PM  
Blogger shutupproust said...

Well, to be totally fair, this may be the fault of the translator, and not of Proust himself. As you well know, translation can be a tricky biz.

9:04 PM  
Blogger julie rose said...

I googled the words "I hate Proust" and found your very funny blog. As of late, when considering whether to read Proust or you, you are winning out. I would imagine you are sincerely enjoying his writing, even with all the whining, contradiction, endless sentences, the 'Ewww" factor (which I quite agree with!). . .so, is it just for that occasional great sentence? Really? I want to throw the book against the wall, but I keep plodding away!

7:21 AM  
Blogger shutupproust said...

Aw, thanks! (And hilarious that those words brought you here.) I have a... somewhat fraught relationship with Proust, which, come to think of it, would be an accurate way of describing a lot of my relationships with men. I do enjoy the way he makes my brain work, just as I enjoy the way my muscles feel after a five-mile run. And yet I hate running. Proust is kinda like that, y'know?

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Barb said...

Good post.

11:40 PM  
Blogger Jacob said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

11:12 PM  

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