a la recherche 04.16.2008, 1:43 PM
posted by chris meade
I was on the underground making my way to the London Book Fair yesterday, hoping to stand out from the crowds of frantic publishers jostling there by carrying over my shoulder the fabulously pretentious "Proust Society of America" book bag which I bought on a trip to New York for a meeting at the Mercantine Library, but was disconcerted to notice that the man on the other side of the carriage was staring at me strangely, then eventually he lent over and said to me, "Have you read Proust?" to which I replied yes I had, most of it, but many, many years ago, at which this gentleman told me that on his retirement he had made a list of classics he hadn't read, and In Search of Lost Time was top of it so he has since read it six times, on permanent rotation, breaking off between volumes for other novels and recently he's been looking for a Proust close reading group, has scoured the internet for such a thing, had found the New York group but nothing like it in London; then we arrived at Holborn Station and he stepped off the train before I could ask to swap email addresses, not because I want to start a close reading Proust group, but... well, perhaps he'll Google his way to this page, and perhaps some other London Proust lovers will too and then I can put them in touch with each other and so the Marcel Proust Underground Networked Book Group will be born.
roger stephens on June 22, 2008 11:41 AM:
Proust Reading Group
I was interested to read your anecdote about the encounter on the train with a Proust reader. I am a member of a group of half a dozen or so people currently working our way through 'Remembrance of Things Past'. We meet monthly in the London N1 area and read round the table our favourite excerpts from the couple of hundred pages we have read since the previous meeting. We are about half way through, and are at the moment looking at the first half of Chapter Two of 'The Guermantes Way' (according to the Penguin paperback edition of the Moncrieff/Kilmartin translation) . We would be very interested to hear from people involved in the same activity, with a view to exchanging notes on differing approaches, and, provided everyone was in agreement, perhaps paying each other the occasional visit.
I look forward to hearing from you.