Thursday, January 15, 2004


Christopher Hitchens reviews Lydia Davis's translation of Proust in the current The Atlantic: "The Acutest Ear in Paris." About Proust, Hitchens writes,
his is the work par excellence that exposes and clarifies the springs of human motivation. Through his eyes we see what actuates the dandy and the lover and the grandee and the hypocrite and the poseur, with a transparency unexampled except in Shakespeare or George Eliot. . . . [O]ne does well to postpone a complete reading until one is in the middle of life, and has shared some of the disillusionments and fears, as well as the delights, that come with this mediocre actuarial accomplishment. . . . [The novel] is all about time. And one does not fully appreciate this aspect until one has learned something of how time is rationed, and of how this awful and apparently inexorable dole may conceivably be cheated.

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