Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Proust on Art and Literature Paperback – August 26, 1997
|New from||Used from|
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
He is the Einstein of literature, always observing phonemena from specific points of view and then
calibrating the exact differences between them. Nothing is fixed and immutable; he allows us to learn his
theory of relativity in human relations, art movements, and most spectacularly, in the evolution of literature.
He teaches us a certain humility in seeking truth in any field.
'Contre Saint-Beauve' is an ethos that he developed several years earlier than his novel, though it plays a large part in the novel (and was not published until long after his death). This philosophy is partially explained in the later volumes of 'In Search Of Lost Time' when the narrator ruminates on Vinteuil's genius. Indeed, many of the characters and scenes in Proust's later novel find their early beginnings in a strange series of sketches that pop up throughout this essay. It was probably one of Proust's last stabbings at an academic or literary career, before he began his work on Swann's Way, but it proved to be very fertile ground.
Now, it's true that I originally bought this book for 'C S-B' alone, but I was very pleased to find that there were around two dozen other essays included. None of them match the length or depth of Saint-Beauve, but many of them are still very beautiful and incisive ('The Wane of Inspiration' is a particular favorite). Aside from a handful of random Proustian musings, the other essays deal with specific writers like Stendhal, Goethe and Tolstoi, or specific painters like Monet, Chardin and Rembrandt, or other such important figures of the era (even Robert de Montesquieu).
In brief, this book is definitely reserved for those who are already very familiar with 'In Search of Lost Time,' for much of the main essay is profoundly related to the novel, and much of the prose seems to be working towards the style he would later adopt. This book reveals very little of his personal life (see his theories in 'C S-B'), and stands independently as art. See Tadie for biography and Alain de Botton for general introductions.