Helen DeWitt, translating Proust, and what is it that you want to do with you one wild and precious life

I only read two pages of Paris Match yesterday. It was about Elia Kazan and a film he failed to make about Greek-Turkish relations. It isn’t always easy to read French but the little makes for an alternative and memorable perspective.

It's only chemo

If you have read The Last Samurai and are in a state of nostalgia for the days when discovering Helen DeWitt was still ahead of you, go and indulge in her entire blog.

I can’t comment on these translations; happy to believe that both have much to offer. The one thing I’d say is, if you’re thinking of reading Proust and you’ve studied any French at all, do order Du côté de chez Swann from so you can read at least a few of Proust’s sentences in French.

People often say: “Well, I had a couple of years of French in high school but I’ve forgotten it all.” What they mean is not normally, “I had a couple of years of French in high school, but when I looked at the first paragraph of Du côté de chez Swann I couldn’t understand a word,” what they mean is, “If I…

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By penwithlit

Freelance writer and radio presenter

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