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How Proust Can Change Your Life

by

How Proust Can Change Your Life Cover

 

 

Excerpt

Following is an excerpt from Chapter 8, "How to be Happy in Love":

Q: Did Proust have any relevant thoughts on dating? What should one talk about on a first date?

A: Advice is scant. A more fundamental doubt is whether one should accept dinner in the first place.

There is no doubt that a person's charms are less frequently a cause of love than a remark such as: "No, this evening I shan't be free."

If this response proves bewitching, it is because of the connection made...between appreciation and absence. Though a person may be filled with attributes, an incentive is nevertheless required to ensure that a seducer will focus wholeheartedly on these, an incentive which finds perfect form in

a dinner rebuff.

Q: Was he against sex before marriage?

A: No, just before love. And not for any starchy reasons, simply because he felt it wasn't a good idea to sleep together when encouraging someone to fall in love was a consideration.

Women who are to some extent resistant, whom one cannot possess at once, whom one does not even know at first whether one will ever possess, are the only interesting ones.

Q: Surely not?

A: Other women may of course be fascinating, the problem is that they risk not seeming so...

Q: Are there any secrets to long-lasting relationships?

A: Infidelity. Not the act itself, but the threat of it. For Proust, an injection of jealousy is the only thing capable of rescuing a relationship ruined by habit...The threat of losing their partner

may lead them to realize that they have not appreciated this person adequately...If someone threatens the relationship, they get jealous, wake up for a moment, have another kiss with the horny tusk, and get bored once more. Condensed into a male heterosexual version, the situation runs

like this:

Afraid of losing her, we forget all the others. Sure of keeping her, we compare her with the those others whom at once we prefer to her.

From the Hardcover edition.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780679779155
Author:
de Botton, Alain
Publisher:
Vintage Books USA
Author:
Alain de Botton
Location:
New York :
Subject:
General
Subject:
Humorous
Subject:
European - French
Subject:
Proust, marcel, 1871-1922
Subject:
Proust, Marcel
Subject:
French wit and humor
Subject:
Humor
Subject:
Proust, Marcel - Humor
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Vintage International
Publication Date:
19980431
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
133 ILLUSTRATIONS
Pages:
208
Dimensions:
7.98x5.20x.60 in. .50 lbs.

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How Proust Can Change Your Life Used Trade Paper
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Product details 208 pages Vintage Books USA - English 9780679779155 Reviews:
"Review" by , "It's a real pleasure to read someone who treats this sacrosanct subject as something that is still vital and vigorous."
"Review" by , "[A] delightfully original work of literary criticism.... By characterizing In Search of Lost Time with amusing superficiality, he has succeeded in showing us some of the novel's greatest depths."
"Review" by , "Funny and very refreshing."
"Review" by , "Curious, humorous, didactic and dazzling.... It contains more human interest and play of fancy than most fiction."
"Review" by , "Erudite....After reading de Botton's book, one will savor Proust with fresh wonder and gratitude."
"Review" by , "A lively, original guide to living, and... an engaging introduction to the life and letters of one of the century's most interesting fictional thinkers... literary criticism wearing its slyest disguise since Julian Barnes's Flaubert's Parrot."
"Review" by , "One of my favorite books of the year.... Seriously cheeky, cheekily serious."
"Review" by , "A witty, elegant book that helps us learn what reading is for."
"Synopsis" by , Alain de Botton combines two unlikely genres--literary biography and self-help manual--in the hilarious and unexpectedly practical How Proust Can Change Your Life.

Who would have thought that Marcel Proust, one of the most important writers of our century, could provide us with such a rich source of insight into how best to live life? Proust understood that the essence and value of life was the sum of its everyday parts. As relevant today as they were at the turn of the century, Proust's life and work are transformed here into a no-nonsense guide to, among other things, enjoying your vacation, reviving a relationship, achieving original and unclichéd articulation, being a good host, recognizing love, and understanding why you should never sleep with someone on a first date. It took de Botton to find the inspirational in Proust's essays, letters and fiction and, perhaps even more surprising, to draw out a vivid and clarifying portrait of the master from between the lines of his work.

Here is Proust as we have never seen or read him before: witty, intelligent, pragmatic. He might well change your life.

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