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Roger Shattuck (1923–2005)

Author of Forbidden knowledge: from Prometheus to pornography

15+ Works 2,372 Members 18 Reviews 2 Favorited

About the Author

Roger Shattuck taught for many years at Boston University and now resides in Vermont. He is the author, most recently, of "Candor & Perversion". (Bowker Author Biography)

Works by Roger Shattuck

Associated Works

The Story of My Life (1903) — Contributor, some editions — 5,228 copies
The Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust (2001) — Foreword, some editions — 142 copies
Partisan Review (1998) — Contributor, some editions — 38 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1953 (1953) — Contributor — 15 copies
Discovery No. 2 (1953) — Contributor — 10 copies
The New Salmagundi Reader (1996) — Contributor — 3 copies

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Common Knowledge

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Reviews

Roger Shattuck has provided readers of Proust's masterpiece with an invaluable guide and analytical touchstone for thinking through what we're reading. I found especially powerful the concept of a stereo-optic presentation of time for the way Proust presents remembering, recognition, memories and experiences. Having now read Shattuck's book, I can't imagine reading Proust without it and am glad to be so well prepared as I head into the next volumes.
 
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lschiff | 5 other reviews | Sep 24, 2023 |
A very fine scholarly description and analysis of Proust's great work including tables and graphic explanations of theme and structure, a discussion of almost all of the English translations available, an appendix just on optics, and an addendum written as a dialogue between fictional characters. As nice as it all is, I would not read this before reading In Search of Lost Time .
 
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markm2315 | 5 other reviews | Jul 1, 2023 |
Biographies of Alfred Jarry, Henri Rousseau, Erik Satie, & Guillaume Apollinaire - all creative people in Paris active from 1885 to 'WWI'. I LOVED this bk. I had just turned 22 when I read it. I was substantially familiar w/ all the characters & was engrossed by them. Satie & Jarry were both esp important to me. Rousseau & Apollinaire not so much so but still of interest. Shattuck clearly knows & loves the subject & writes about it well. The intertwining of these personalities creates a meta-personality for Parisian culture that's god-like in its crazed creativity.

Shattuck does a great job of establishing the lasting significance of these people. It's reassuring to know that even the most obscure person can have a long-term impact just b/c of what keeps them in obscurity while they're alive: their full-blown 'inaccessible' inventiveness.

If someone were to pick 4 such people in Pittsburgh (or any other city) now, who wd they pick? I'd like to read a bk that gradually expands out from "The Banquet Years" - these 4, then 12 more, then 16 to the 16th - eventually describing in detail everyone alive in the city during those 3 decades. Is that too much to ask?
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tENTATIVELY | 2 other reviews | Apr 3, 2022 |
A close friend just started Proust for the first time, which excited me so much that I wanted to reading group it with him. But I don't have time, so I read this instead. Not as good as Proust! Surprise, surprise.

It suffers a bit from being two books, one for people who haven't read the Search yet, and one for people who have. The one for newcomers is a better book, being an actual book. The book for veterans is less good, because it's just a bunch of stuff Shattuck has written over the years. But if you've read Proust and want an intelligent man's understanding of the thing, this is enjoyable enough. Shattuck suggests that the book is about desire as much as it is memory; human beings fail to understand their own desires, which leads to suffering. A new vision of life (literary critics always end up with these wild generalities: why can't a book be about society and art? Why do they have to be about 'life' and 'love'?) follows.

More helpful was Shattuck's take on the 'memory' theme; he understands Search less as an investigation of memory than as showing how an objective observer can combine a vision of memory and the present to better understand the past and the future. I think. He also stands against the aestheticist view that the novel holds art up as superior to life. A worthy argument, for all its generality.

There are also completely unrelated bits on translation, editions, and an almost unbearable 'creative response' to the novel.

If you love Proust, this is worth reading; if you're about to read Proust, half of it is worth reading; if you've read Proust and might not read him again, this won't change your mind, and you should avoid it, because you should absolutely read Proust again.
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1 vote
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stillatim | 5 other reviews | Oct 23, 2020 |

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Statistics

Works
15
Also by
7
Members
2,372
Popularity
#10,826
Rating
3.8
Reviews
18
ISBNs
50
Languages
7
Favorited
2

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