Details

ISBN-10: 0811224112
ISBN-13: 9780811224116
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date: 08/22/2017
Dimensions: 9.10" L, 5.90" W, 0.80" H

Letters to His Neighbor

Translator: Lydia Davis

Hardcover

Price: $19.95

Overview

Marcel Proust’s genius for illuminating pain is on spectacular display in this recently discovered trove of his correspondence, Letters to His Neighbor. Already suffering from noise within his cork-lined walls, his poor soul was not ready for the fresh hell when his neighbor Dr. Williams married a widow with small children.

Chiefly to Mrs. Williams, these ever-polite letters (often accompanied by flowers, compliments, books, even pheasants) are frequently hilarious–Proust couches his fury in a gracious tone. In Lydia Davis’s hands, the digressive brilliance of his sentences shines: “Don’t speak of annoying neighbors, but of neighbors so charming (an association of words contradictory in principle since Montesquiou claims that most horrible of all are 1) neighbors 2) the smell of post offices) that they leave the constant tantalizing regret that one cannot take advantage of their neighborliness.”

Proust makes fine distinctions among his auditory torments: “The valet de chambre makes noise and that doesn’t matter. But later he knocks with little tiny raps. And that is worse.”

Lydia Davis has written a generous translator’s note, tracing much of what we can know about Proust’s perpetually dark room; she details the furnishings as well as the life he lived there: burning his powders, talking with friends, hiring musicians, and, most of all, suffering. Letters to His Neighboris richly illustrated with facsimile letters and photographs–catnip for lovers of Proust.

With an Introduction by Jean-Yves Tadié and a translator’s note by Lydia Davis.

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Reviews
I imagine someone discovering these letters and wondering where to put them–too quirky, too crazy, too minor, too marginal. But, as we all know, it's the minor and marginal that are often the most interesting. And here the marginalia–the addenda and notes–are as essential as the letters. The foreword by Proust scholar Jean-Yves Tadié and the afterword by celebrated French translator Lydia Davis serve as codes to these letters, through which we catch a glimpse of the writer's idiosyncratic domestic life...–Jeanine Herman "4Columns" (8/25/2017 12:00:00 AM)
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Details

ISBN-10: 0811224112
ISBN-13: 9780811224116
Publisher: New Directions Publishing Corporation
Publish Date: 08/22/2017
Dimensions: 9.10" L, 5.90" W, 0.80" H
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