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Posts Tagged ‘Marcel Proust’

Morgan Library To Open Marcel Proust Exhibit

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first book in Marcel Proust‘s In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu) series, the Morgan Library & Museum has organized an exhibit called “Marcel Proust and Swann’s Way.”

The French novelist began his famous series with Swann’s Way (Du côté de chez Swann) in 1913. You can download a free copy of Swann’s Way at Project Gutenberg. 

Some of the items that will be on view include some of the author’s notebooks, galley-proofs and letters. The exhibit is set to run from February 15, 2013 until April 28, 2013. Have you ever attempted to read this series?

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Free eBooks of Long, Long Novels

What’s the longest book you’ve ever read? Flavorwire has collected a list of long, long books in the post, “10 Novels That We Dare You to Finish.”

If you are interested in taking the challenge, we’ve listed links below to free eBook copies of five massive novels. This GalleyCat editor loves reading digital copies of long, long novels–it seems like the perfect way to interact with these unwieldy titles.

Here’s more from Flavorwire: “we’ve compiled a list of 10 novels that could also function as doorstops if you decide to give up on them. Maybe you’ve tried to impress your friends by casually mentioning that you’re finally reading Proust, or you’re the annoying person on the train with the weighty tome in both hands, jostling into your fellow passengers because you can’t spare a free hand — whatever the reason, we salute you, foolhardy readers.

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Library Marriage Proposal

To match our romantic bookstore marriage proposal story from last week, reader Stephanie Campisi sent us the story of library marriage proposal.

As you can see by the video embedded above, Campisi’s fiance used a special Marcel Proust book to prepare for his proposal. Read the whole story at her blog, but we’ve included the climactic moment below–we hope the new couple uses library card save-the-date cards.

Check it out: “I retrieved my Proust, and opened it up to find that a ring box-sized hole had been carved from it, at which point I checked to ensure that this was not, indeed a library copy. (Aside: thanks to Jimmy at FreeHollowBooks for his fabulous work) Inside the hole was a specially made ring box with the date and my and partner’s initials carved into it. And inside the box was a vintage 1930s-era ring … At this point my partner crept up beside me and asked if I’d marry him, to which I gave a very hushed, library-appropriate yes.”

Marcel Proust Versus Artificial Intelligence

At the Slackstory blog, one writer tested the artificial intelligence of chatbots by giving them a personality survey made famous by novelist Marcel Proust. It’s fascinating to watch a computer-generated personalities grapple with such classic questions as “What is your idea of perfect happiness?” and “On what occasion do you lie?”

Follow this link if you want to see how Proust answered these questions. We recommend visiting the chatbots Cleverbot, ALICE and Clownfish for Skype today–it is the perfect way to spend a slow summer afternoon at work. Visit the Chatbot directory to meet more online robots.

Here’s more from Slackstory: “Loneliness and alienation are hallmarks of modernity, but scientific researchers knew that talking to other people is terribly underwhelming, so they developed Artificial Intelligence. Now when you’re alone, you can open your laptop and have conversations with automated robots instead of people … We wanted to get a true snapshot of what makes these contenders tick, so we went the Vanity Fair route and gave them the Proust Questionnaire.” (Via Reddit)

Are Too Many eBooks Bad For You?

9780060186395.jpgHas reading digital texts and books changed your brain? With an idea that makes this blog editor shiver, one doctor worries that our brains will change as we read more eBooks.

In a Christian Science Monitor article about digital books, child development professor Maryanne Wolf explained that our brains benefit from the “deep dive” and “immersive” experience of reading a print book–a meditative activity championed by Marcel Proust in the 19th Century. Wolf studies these ideas in her book, “Proust and the Squid: The Story and Science of the Reading Brain.”

Here’s a quote from Wolf, from the article: “My concern is that we will develop within the next generation a shorter, less-enriched [brain] circuitry for reading … And I don’t think I’m ultraconservative. I’m not saying that we shouldn’t read online…. I’m saying that we need to preserve what’s best about the present reading brain–preserve the beautiful function of books in our lives–as we move across mediums that will allow us ever greater access to information.”

And Those Buying the Book Aren’t Reading it, Either

The last time Pierre Bayard made a splash in the literary world was with WHO KILLED ROGER ACKROYD, an intellectually-minded analysis of Agatha Christie novels and detective fiction. Now the man who specializes in links between literature and psychoanalysis is back in the news in a big way in his native France with the release of COMMENT PARLER DES LIVRES QUE L’ON N’A PA LUS (How to Talk about Books that You Haven’t Read), the Times reports. That’s because even though the book was originally destined for academic bookshelves, it sold out almost immediately, was reprinted and is now rising to the top of the bestseller lists.

The publisher, Minuit, now wants to get it on supermarket and airport bookshelves. “I think the success shows that it has touched on a sensitive point,” Professor Bayard said, adding that his aim was to help people to avoid feeling guilty about their failure to read. He says, for instance, that he wants to free French intellectuals from the taboo that prevents them from confessing that they have only leafed through the works of Marcel Proust – “although that is the case for most of them”. He says that a valid literary opinion can be formed by dipping into a work, hearing others talk about it or skimming through a review of it.

And indeed, plenty of critics in the UK world are jumping off Bayard’s thesis. John Sutherland invokes David Lodge, Jacques Lacan and Stephen Pile in finding others who write about books and bullshitters; and Ros Taylor has some fun commenting on Bayard’s book even though she, of course, has not read it. Something tells me that if there are no plans for an English translation, there soon will be…