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Erik Visits an (Non) American Grave, Part 274

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This is the grave of Marcel Proust.

Born in 1871 to a wealthy family, Proust was asthmatic and sickly. He grew up and became known as a difficult snob and social climber who a lot of people hated. He was a political conservative who spent his younger life writing screeds against socialism and in favor of a Catholic-dominated state. But he did rise in society, met many famous people, went to salons, and lived the life of the Paris intellectual. Continuing with his life-long bad health, Proust was in bed off and on. So he began writing his novel. It goes on and on. In Search of Lost Time was a seven-volume novel that reached 3,200 pages on its original printing and contains more than 2,000 characters. In my own experience trying to read it, it reminds me a lot of what death seems like it will be if it is anything–it goes on forever and nothing happens. People disliked him so much that he had a hard time getting it published, at least initially.

Yes, sure I am a troglodyte. I admit it. But I’ve largely found Proust unreadable, although because of that it’s been like 15 years since I’ve tried. So maybe I should try again. In any case, the first part of the novel, Swann’s Way, was published in 1913. But much of it did not come out until after Proust had died of his general bad health in 1922. The final volume, which I don’t know if anyone has had the fortitude to actually make it to, Time Regained, was published in 1927.

Marcel Proust is buried in Père Lachaise Cemetery, Paris, France.

If you would like this series to summarily dismiss your favorite author, you can donate to cover the required expenses here. Who wouldn’t want me to write a stream of consciousness post on Joyce? Previous posts in this series are archived here.

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