Proust gets a lot of current notice in books like Proust was a Neuroscientist
and Proust and the Squid
. For my part, I'm starting to enjoy his descriptions. I'm reading the new Penguin Classic translations, and hope to finish them not long after the last of them gets published (actually a matter of a few years from now). Here is a quote from the second book
(pg. 327). "Now that the Combray breed, the strain from which there once sprang people of utter integrity, like my grandmother and mother, seems all but extinct, and if one's choice among men is more or less reduced, on the one hand, to uncomplicated troglodytes, unfeeling, straightforward creatures the mere sound of whose voice tells you they have not the slightest interest in any of your concerns, and , on the other, a race of men who, while they are in your company, can sympathize with you, cherish you, be moved to tears by you, and then, a few hours later, contradict all this by making a cruel joke about you, but who can go on being charming toward you, full of understanding, still on the same footing of momentary closeness, then I am inclined to think that, of the two, I prefer men of the latter breed, if not for their human value, at least for their company." Take that, people, English (and I suppose French) language, and sensibilities.