Sunday, October 05, 2008
orientalis, reading proust, pimientos
This clematis orientalis drapes itself over a fence which I pass most days, Unusually, this year, its flowers and spectacular seeds are on show at the same time.
This morning, as I read another few pages of A la recherche du temps perdu, I realize in a Proustian way that I have changed since I first tackled the novel when I was in my early 30s. Most important, my attention span was so limited then that several years elapsed between my starting and finishing the 12 volumes of the original Scott Moncrieff translation. Now as I read it for the first time in French, although my progress is slow, it is at least uninterrupted.
Pimientos de Padron are green Spanish pimentos, chilli like in appearance but rich in flavour rather than hot, when served cooked in a pan or on a griddle. They are eaten whole, seeds and all. Sometimes, but not often, you can be unfortunate enough to get a hot one. But it is not hot enough to cause agony and the tast of the the ordinary ones make the discomfort worth while. Though not easily available in the UK, I was pleased to be served them at the local Black Pig restaurant the other day.
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Best of luck with the Proust!
Currently doing Proust for the third time (albeit in English rather than French) I am within a 100 pages of the end of Cities of the Plain, ie, two-thirds through. I have noticed one factor which dictates reading speed. When he is reflecting on abstract subjects such as sleep and art appreciation both sentences and paragraphs are much longer. This demands greater concentration (if for no other reason than to avoid losing one's place) and the pages pass slowly. However during straightforward plot narration, like the Verdurin party I have just finished, reading speed is roughly the same as with any other author, certainly much faster than with much of Henry James.
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