When this year ends, the Proustian celebrations will also end, which, at least in France, already began in 2019 with the commemoration of the Goncourt prize awarded to In the Shadow of Girls in Flower, the second volume of In Search of Lost Time, and continued in 2021, which marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Proust, whose death was one hundred years old last Friday, November 18.
France, which has always loved and exalted its writers, even now that literature no longer has the prestige it once did and is no longer understood as an element of national cohesion, has not allowed it to be erased from the study plans high school, contrary to what has happened in Spain, whose politicians, generally very ignorant, seem to detest it. Instead, the French continue to love it, and Proust's texts continue to be republished. However, the editors of the prestigious Gallimard, in whose collection La Pléiade Tadié, the great expert on Proust, directed the critical edition of In Search of Lost Time, suggested some years ago that today Proust probably would not find a publisher for any of his novels. Today's readers prefer action works, with few descriptions, minimal musings, a lot of dialogue and short sentences, in the antipodes of Proust.
Proust lingers in long paragraphs, thoroughly exploring the world of sensations to evoke time by gaining it again. "We are the time that we have left," said Caballero Bonald. Proust defended the opposite, we are the past time, the time lived until the moment we relive it, and there is no more life and no more moment than now. Thanks to involuntary memory, linked to an intense sensation, in his case the cupcake dipped in tea, the past is recovered. Proust, like our Machado, attended Bergson's courses at the Collège de France, perhaps with better use than Don Antonio, and this can be seen in the Frenchman's work, which perhaps would be different if he had not dabbled in the philosophy of bergson. But on this point, not all experts in Proustian literature agree and some even point out that he only attended the inaugural lecture of the Bergsonian course, even though he knew Bergson personally because he married a cousin of his mother and Proust was part of the procession. of the wedding
I confess to being an admirer of Proust, and every summer, as my grandmother did, from whom I inherited the habit, I reread Proust, whose books have helped me to understand myself better because the author very often hits the nail on the head. In my copy of the first volume of In Search of Lost Time, that is Swann's Path, in translation by the very Proustian poet Pedro Salinas, I underlined a sentence as a teenager: “And to think that I have wasted years of my life, that I have wanted to die, that I have lived the great love of my life with a woman I did not like, who was not my style”. A statement made by Swann referring to Odette de Crécy, a kind of demimondaine, one of many mischief-makers, who attended the aristocratic salons frequented by the young Proust, before secluding himself in a cork-lined room to lead a sick life forever. Proust's work, with its interest in the great world of the time, its flashy international aristocrats, may seem without interest to us, although, nevertheless, it continues to have it, if only because of the capture, so Baudelairian, in the end, of the importance of the moment... that is gone.