David Auerbach on literature, tech, film, etc.

Celine on Proust

Proust, who was half ghost, immersed himself with extraordinary tenacity in the infinitely watery futility of the rites and procedures that entwine the members of high society, those denizens of the void, those phantoms of desire, those irresolute daisy-chainers still waiting for their Watteau, those listless seekers after implausible Cythereas.

Journey to the End of the Night


  1. A good occasion for Grillet on Celine: “He wrote two great books, but after that his stupidity got the best of him”

  2. Not arf! This has always been one of my big sticking points with M. Marcel . . . if you read the quote out in the sinister, portentous voice Cocteau uses to narrate Melville’s Enfants Terribles, it gains too :)

  3. Of course Celine is only channeling Proust there — especially the great earlyish scene of the haut monde as an aquarium.

  4. Are you reading Journey again? I’m coincidentally doing just that.

  5. Grillet, I assume, is refering to Journey and Death on the Installment Plan when he says Celine only wrote two great books. Nonsense. His final three works – the great trilogy Castle to Castle, Nord, and Rigadoon – are also among the summits of 20th Century literature.

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