I'm thinking of reading this, but there are few obstacles in my way (apart from book's lenght) for me to finish it. In my first language only the first four volumes have been translated with no sight of the rest of the translation on the horizon, and even though my english is good enough to browse dank memes and read something that's not too difficult like Murakami or Steinbeck, Proust might be too hard for me.
Should I just read the first four anyway, or maybe it's not worth starting? How much would I be missing?
I've heard the translations Penguin publishes are easier to read. Anyway, many passages in the novel are very difficult to unravel, but the nice thing about Proust is that he reuses a lot of his themes. While a paragraph will tell you something esoteric about the nature of love or aesthetics or something, its message will almost certainly return again in the massive novel. And of course you have the power to return to it at later times in your life, when you have a better understanding of English.
Assuming that you guys have read much, if not all, of Proust, can you tell me how heavily he leans on references to earlier literature, art, music, and philosophy? I know there are a fair number of artistic references (I've seen a companion book "Paintings in Proust"), and would rather not embark on reading all of his work if there are going to be significant references to earlier works that will go over my head if they're foreign to me.
But that's probably the weakest part of the series. Yeah there's twists where people get married or are actually gay or whatever, but it's undercooked and surely incomplete. It certainly doesn't offer momentum or actual surprise in the way plot-centric books do. It's the events of a big plot without the delivery. Nice Venice mind.
Nah. Stuff like the Goncourt brothers or Ruskin's aesthetic theories will take you retarded amounts of time to read up on for slight gain. You might as well go research Parisian streets to appreciate his descriptions of them, or acquire a thorough familiarity with French seaside resorts.
The short passage later on where he satirises the Goncourts won't work for you, but then translated prose satire is a wonky idea anyway. The most important cultural figures in the book are fictional amalgams of painters/composers. Just dive on in anon.
I would definitely recommend you read all of it. Would be such a shame if you stopped halfway. Then don't bother reading it, I would say. You'll miss so many important and beautiful experiences that you can't get anywhere else due to the sheer length of the work.
Also, it would help if you're familiar with Der Ring des Nibelungen and Tristan und Isolde. Great works of art in their own right, and Proust can't stop talking about these masterpieces.
If you're not yet familiar with opera, I recommend this:
Fall in love with it, and then listen to:
Don't think it will get any better than Tristan und Isolde though.
Thanks for the advice, I guess my best bet is to check wether I can read and understand Proust in english, and if I can, then read the first four books in my first language and then switch to english.
As far as music is considered that one aria from Samson et Dalila is the most important to listen to. It shows his grandfather's opinion of the Jewish people in a lighthearted way. Also, Wagner is mentioned to. They mention The Ride of the Valkyries and a few others.