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Hoe Proust je leven kan veranderen by Alain…
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Hoe Proust je leven kan veranderen (1997)

by Alain de Botton

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2,716443,249 (3.66)88
Member:vanstin
Title:Hoe Proust je leven kan veranderen
Authors:Alain de Botton
Info:Olympus Pockets (Paperback)
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
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How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton (1997)

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English (38)  French (3)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (44)
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
I loved "The Art of Travel", but de Botton's "How Proust Can Change Your Life" left me cold. I think, sometimes, knowing too much about the author can negatively affect one's reading of his work. I have read the Swann's Way section of ISOLT (will read the rest someday, when I have time to reread the beginning), so I do find Proust's writing wonderful, but this book didn't do anything for me or my reading of Proust. ( )
  Marse | Jul 28, 2018 |
Philosophy of Marcel
  stevholt | Nov 19, 2017 |
“To make [reading] into a discipline is to give too large a role to what is only an incitement. Reading is on the threshold of the spiritual life; it can introduce us to it: it does not constitute it.”
Quote from one of Proust’s books, In “How Proust Can Change Your Life” by Alain de Botton

“Even the finest books deserve to be thrown aside.”
In “How Proust Can Change Your Life” by Alain de Botton

I read Proust's masterpiece back in the 80s when I was attending the British Council. I still remember all too well one particular hilariously snippy Monty Python sketch (“the Summarize Proust Competition”). Back in the day, I too wanted to be able to rub elbows with the elite intellectuals who mocked Proust, so I picked up the first of three volumes (the weighty Moncrieff editions) and got started. The first few pages were tough going, but soon I became mesmerized, then I fell in love, and by the end of the summer I was tucking flowers into the plackets of my trousers and wearing bows in my shirts. Oh childhood! Swann's Way is the swiftest, plottiest volume in the monster, with “Un Amour de Swann” a little novel in itself, with a beginning, middle, end, and all that sort of thing. Originally drafted in a mere three volumes, the “Recherche” grew as Proust re-Proustified the later volumes while waiting for publication; many readers have wished that that long mini-book could be recovered. The pace picks up again in the last volume, which the author's death prevented him from reworking, so that a dinner party—one of the greatest scenes in all literature, by the way—takes only a few hundred pages to describe, what with the jolts of consciousness with which Proust bracketed it, while the first half of the volume is impossibly brilliant about the first World War without ever leaving Paris. It's best to have time for such idleness, best to be so besotted with the possibilities of literature that you love rather than loathe the lengthiness; which is to say that you need to encounter Proust at the right time of your life and possibly even the right place, so that Proust's times and places become yours. I’ve been avoiding re-reading Proust. More than 30 years later should I re-read him? My advice for those of you who haven’t read it yet. I hope that luck will be yours; without it, the task may prove impossible. If you find yourself fatally at a loss to know what and why you're reading his work, check out Samuel Beckett's slim monograph; for all its showy intellectuality—it's a youthful work—it's still the best compass for getting across that ocean. De Botton’s attempt is not the best way to go about it. I also recommend the Proust Screenplay by Harold Pinter, which accomplishes the amazing feat of boiling the whole thing down into a 90-minute screenplay without losing any of the flavour. When I felt lost at the beginning of my first reading of Pinter's work, revealed the whole structure to me and enabled me to carry on. Reading De Botton’s book, full of Proust’s excerpts, proves that I’m still finding reading Proust a strangely claustrophobic experience. I got the overwhelming impression of a man who observes, dissects and minutely describes life, but perhaps forgets to live it? As a reader, I feel the novel takes me over. There is no room for separate interpretation or thought. Proust leaves no margin for error. It's a bit like the difference between watching butterflies fluttering in a meadow and having them pinned and labelled, dead, on a board for inspection.

When someone asks me why I read so much, and why “I don’t think for myself”, I always like to refer them to this quote by Proust:

‘The mediocre usually imagine that to let ourselves be guided by the books we admire robs our faculty of judgment of part of its independence. “What can it matter to you what Ruskin feels: feel for yourself” […] There is no better way of coming to be aware of what one feels oneself than by trying to recreate in oneself what a master has left. In this profound effort it is our thought itself that we bring out into the light, together with this.’ ( )
  antao | Mar 11, 2017 |
Picked this up at the library, partly because I've never read Proust and want to see more about him (who he was, etc.), and partly to decide if I ever *do* want to read him....

And well.... this book 1) makes it so I don't want to read him, and 2) makes it so I don't much care for anything about Proust or want to learn about him.

The other reason I picked this up was Botton himself. He seems like a reasonably intelligent person in the articles, interviews, speeches, and youtube videos I've seen of him..... but through this book, he comes off very much like the way he describes Proust. ....which is not good at all.

Flat out, the book does serve to do one thing for you -- to remind you not to live a life reminiscent of Proust's, but to read Proust (if you have the time, and don't care that he can write a sentence that is literally 14 lines long).

Sorry, I value my time far too much for this, for Botton's pompous outlook on things, for Proust's life, and definitely not to read the works of Proust; especially the seven volumes of 'In Search of Lost Time'. (Seems aptly named doesn't it?) ( )
  BenKline | Jan 21, 2017 |
I read this as a little kick start to my reading of In Search of Lost Time, which had stalled a bit. It definitely worked on that count, it's a nice little book, short and easy to read chapters looking at different aspects of Proust and his writing. It helped me think critically about and understand what I've read so far and will help me continue on. My life, however, remains unchanged. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Oct 16, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 38 (next | show all)
One doesn't usually think of Marcel Proust as the author of a great self-help book. Unless of course what you admire most about ''Remembrance of Things Past'' is its usefulness for killing huge amounts of time.

Alain de Botton, a novelist, doesn't take quite such a crassly utilitarian view in his delightfully original work of literary criticism, ''How Proust Can Change Your Life: Not a Novel.'' But he does come close in places. For instance, in Chapter 3, called ''How to Take Your Time,'' he points out that one reaction to the great length of Proust's famous novel was the ''All-England Summarize Proust Competition,'' once presented by the Monty Python troupe in the belief, as Mr. de Botton puts it, that ''what had originally taken seven volumes to express could reasonably be condensed into 15 seconds or less, without too great a loss of integrity or meaning, if only an appropriate candidate could be found.'' . . .
 
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0679779159, Paperback)

This is a genius-level piece of writing that manages to blend literary biography with self-help and tongue-in-cheek with the profound. The quirky, early 1900s French author Marcel Proust acts as the vessel for surprisingly impressive nuggets of wisdom on down-to-earth topics such as why you should never sleep with someone on the first date, how to protect yourself against lower back pain, and how to cope with obnoxious neighbors. Here's proof that our ancestors had just as much insight as the gurus du jour and perhaps a lot more wit. De Botton simultaneously pokes fun at the self-help movement and makes a significant contribution to its archives.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:10:21 -0400)

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A sly self-help manual for the bookworm distills from the life and work of Marcel Proust--particularly The Remembrance of Things Past--useful directions on such subjects as cultivating friendships and sexual relations.

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