Sunday, December 02, 2012

All of Proust on audiobook? Time to go to bed early

Actor Neville Jason has recorded every last word of À la rechere du temps perdu. He isn't the only one obsessed with Marcel Proust's great novel, says Sameer Rahim.

Proust wrote at night propped up in bed
Proust wrote at night propped up in bed

About 10 years ago I was introduced to someone at a party, a trainee lawyer I recall. We were struggling for conversation and so I fell back on the reliable, “What are you reading?” He looked sheepish, as though uncertain whether to answer honestly. “Well,” he replied, “I’ve just finished reading Proust.” “Really?” I said. “Me too!”
We were inseparable for the rest of the evening, discussing our favourite of the hundreds of characters in À la recherche du temps perdu. I adored Bloch, the narrator’s pretentious friend who speaks in Homeric language. But what about Dr Cottard, he countered, who smiles at dinner parties just in case the conversation is supposed to be witty? Surely, though, it must be the outrageous Baron de Charlus? Yet how can we look past the narrator, Marcel, whose memories come flooding back when he dips a small cake in tea or trips over some paving stones?
Proust was an obsessive writer who provokes the same feeling in his readers. One such obsessive is the audiobook actor Neville Jason, who has just completed the almost superhuman task of recording all seven volumes of CK Scott Moncrieff's English translation, Remembrance of Things Past. Jason read the first book, Swann’s Way, as a 17-year-old schoolboy; he personally abridged and recorded the novel for Naxos between 1991 and 2000, translating the last volume himself for good measure. 
Full article at The Telegraph

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