Sunny Days in Heaven
Spiritual/Political/Philosophical Blog on the Nature of Truth and Falsehood and Heaven

Saturday, January 17, 2004  

Swannee, how I love ya (not)

After reading a review extolling the Olympian virtues of Proust, I decided to try him again. I am some 20 pages in thus far, and am having difficulty perceiving his genius.

I will continue, but I don't see someone as good as Shakespeare and better than Tolstoy as this one fellow insisted.

I must note, though, that it is odd that Academia should celebrate Proust so highly as a stylist while at the same time teaching its creative writers that his prose is no longer acceptable.

The Academic style which you see in countless mainstream novelists who have been taught "to show, don't tell."

So you get lots of brief novels with much dialogue mixed with passages of personal reverie, but very little insight or exposition.

Yet, if you read Dickens, Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Proust you will encounter a great deal of expository prose, and ruminating digressions upon life.

So essentially, the Academy is teaching writers not to be like the greatest, but to express themselves in such a way as to automatically limit their value, appeal, and posterity.

Isn't it funny how "experts" can ruin everything?

Anyway, if anyone knows that Proust is worthwhile, and wishes to encourage me to continue reading, please point out what you think I might be missing.

posted by Mark Butterworth | 11:19 AM |