I just finished watching an NPR interview that you really need to see. Only five minutes long, and just wonderful. No, really, go watch.
On that page, they mention the "Proust Questionnaire", which also fascinates me. Essentially, it's a livejournal meme that Proust answered at a party when he was 13, and another from when he was 20. For all that I rabidly disliked "Researching the misplaced temps"*, these questionnaires almost make me want to re-read Swann's Way--it's quite clear that Young Proust is
- a) Just my sort of fellow, and
- b) Staggeringly intelligent and
- c) Well-spoken like space is cold.
By the way, it has recently been brought to my attention that space is not, in fact, cold. So, really, he's well-spoken like things in space are cold, not counting the warm things in space (like, for example, our son, or the inside of an orange). Which, I suppose, isn't much of an analogy, really. You may never know just how well-spoken Proust really was, although that questionnaire may give you a hint.
* And, no, actually, it wasn't for such Philistinic reasons as I'd expect--I'm more sophisticated than I give myself credit for. True, I wasn't enraptured by his prose (which, I take it, is his only value?) but I didn't dislike the novel because it bored me. I disliked it because Swann is such an asshat and... doesn't he frickin' kidnap Odette? (whose name, I've just learned, means 'wealth'...?) I don't know, I kept feeling that I was missing some key that would turn mediocre dreamy-romance with execrable gender politics into High Art. In fact, I still feel that way.