Reading the Books that the Bloomsberries Read

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Reading the Books that the Bloomsberries Read

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Apr 13, 2010, 1:37pm

Like us, when we read a good book we recommend it . When not so good we don't. There are two books that most if not all of the Bloomsbury Group where crazy about . "Swann's Way" by Marcel Proust and "The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman" by Laurence Sterne.

The Apostles , plus Starchey , Grant, Bells , Woolfs et el all read it and as far as my memory serves me , they LOVED it .

Reading Prousts book to me is like swimming in syrup. Thick Syurp. I'm determined to get through it but its incredibly difficult. I can't explain it completely but its so drawn out and depressing sort of like a upper middle class Angela's Ashes . Proust lived in a cork lined room which might have something to do with his literary style , maybe the cork emitted some mystical gases . I often have to put this book down and pickup something lighter to read like the Federal Register. It rough but I will finish it one of these days.

Tristam Shandy isn't near as tough to read as Swan's Way. Its a scatter shot novel going down many roads simultaniouly. The 18th century humor is curious if not hilarious and yet somewhat difficult to comprehend.

I would not recommeded these two books to anyone unless the reason for wanting to read them was to experience what the Blooomsberries experience. To understand better what it was they enjoyed.

If you have read them , or plan to let me know what you think?.

Apr 18, 2010, 12:00am

I believe we begin our group read in June, don't we? Of Proust's In Search of Lost Time? And read one book a month through the year's end? At least that's what I had figured on doing with Le Salon? IDK. Sure hope I'm right.

Apr 18, 2010, 1:43am

rainpebble pleasetell more about this> read one book a month through the year's end, Le Salon. IDK

Edited: Apr 18, 2010, 3:13pm

I second Fred's request, rainpebble -- do tell us more!

For the past year & a half I've been leading a 6-person Proust group. We're just beginning The Fugitive. I've read In Search of Lost Time on my own & didn't get nearly as much out of it as I'm getting this time. The different voices of smart, engaged readers adds so much. I think an online reading group could be wonderful.

YMMV, but reading a book a month could be an awful lot. Parts of Proust go quickly but other parts s-l-o-w way down. We've been doing 200-300 pages a month w/additional readings of assorted lit crit, lit theory, history, etc. We've also taken a week off here & there to read Nietzsche, Freud, & Wilde when they seemed pertinent.

Proust can indeed be slow as thick syrup, as Fred says. Strangely, tho, I'm finding that it feels faster now, reading it over what'll be 2+ years, than it did when I read the whole thing in a summer.

My unasked for advice: Stick with it, Fred; try to find someone to read it with you -- maybe Rainpebble's group; read it slowly; read some of it aloud, & listen for water, the sound of waves throughout.

Edited: Apr 21, 2010, 3:07am

Perhaps I lied.
It would be one book a month through November unless you count Paintings in Proust which I got simply to enhance my reading enjoyment with my viewing pleasure.
June: Swannn's Way
July: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower
August: The Guermantes Way
September: Sodom and Gomorrah
October: The Prisoner and the Fugitive and
November: Finding Time Again.

You will find it under Tomes in 2010:

I hope that link worked.

Apr 21, 2010, 3:14am

This would (the above noted) be a good group for you. They are mostly over my head but I just try to keep with the keeping up and follow along as best I can.
I am attempting to do all of L.T.'s group reads this year and most of the ones I have had to drop came from this group but I have learned so much from them and I keep learning from them. So if I, with my 62 1/2 year old brain can do that, I think you certainly can as well. And reading your comments over time I think you would fit in nicely.
It's not always the same people in on every read. Some do this and some do that.
So.....................c'mon over. The water's warm. Oh, that was piss H2O............."nefer" mind. But do come. I will remind you come June.

Apr 22, 2010, 7:44am

Belva .. I will consider your invite which , by the by ,I very much appreciate . Maybe the syrupy-ness will change viscosity? Surrrre hope so :)

Apr 26, 2010, 3:53am