Sunday, May 24, 2015

Proust and his prodigy

When in doubt, read the leader and the follower...

Indeed with the written word, there is no real leading and following. All good writing is unique and follows no one and no body, at least not directly. You 'follow' others when you pay tribute to them in your style of work. But you never copy, consciously or not.

You're not supposed to qualify 'unique', so I won't. But if one did want to emphasise that uniqueness in writing, without breaking the rules of grammar, one would want to say that good writing, as both these memoirists produced, is UNIQUE.

So I am reading both Proust and his prodigy, Karl Ove Knausgaard at the same time to better compare and contrast these famous, long-winded, unique male authors.

They wrote and write - in the case of Knausgaard - about their private, sometimes public, and always very male lives, living almost exactly a century apart.

Proust's first volume (they each wrote several volumes of memoir) was published in 1913. Knausgaard's first volume was published in Norway in 2009; 2012 in English translation.

M has just bought me the fourth volume of Knausgaard's 'struggle', the Hitleresque subtitle of his six-volume memoir novels. I will finish my own struggle of the book by the author I know and hopefully Moby Dick, which has stalled half way some books back, first. I was in no burning hurry to keep going with Knausgaard after finishing Vol. III. He wore me out a bit. M's only managed two volumes so far.

Proust I'm looking forward to. I started the first volume a few years back and got a few chapters in before being daunted by the seven volumes and using that as an excuse not to even finish the first. One good thing, Knausgaard has softened me to the concept of seven volumes, though I have only managed three of his - so far...

Knausgaard V. Proust:

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