Tag Archives: marcel proust

Lord Dunsany and Marcel Proust

Extract from my review of IN THE LAND OF TIME by Lord Dunsany:  HEREdunsany

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    “Then, the dawn wind being all about her, she said that she was cold and turned back into the Ivory palace. And I feared that we might never meet again, for time moves differently over the Lands of Dream than over the fields we know;”
    This Proustian-like unrequited love at the centre of this further River Yann and Go-By Street sequel of some length suits not only the Proustianised solidly wide and tall chunkinesses of the obsessive and compelling almost hypnotic paragraphs, with their tentacularly and sumptuously structured syntax of dream-fey sentences, but also it suits the Proustian sense of Time, with Proust’s huge novel having the title often translated as ‘In Search of Lost Time’ … And, further, this story also suits the mixed feelings of discrete personality between dream and life, and the Dark-Tower type doorways between these two illusions, this and much else in Dunsany suiting the concept of a number of Proustian Selves within one individual as he or she passes through Time. In fact, the more I think of it, Dunsany is a Proustian writer, and Proust is a Dunsanyan writer. It’s just that their subject-matter is different. In this story, I even got the sense that the protagonist’s equivalent to the Proustian cup of tea dunked into by the petite madeleine cake is the London Cockney language!
    Marcel Proust 1871-1922 — Lord Dunsany 1878-1957

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My reading-lifetime’s Hall of Fame

Image by Tony Lovell (2011)

My reading-lifetime’s Hall of Fame in no particular order:

Charles Dickens, Christopher Priest, AS Byatt, Enid Blyton, May Sinclair, HP Lovecraft, Barbara Vine, Reggie Oliver, Anita Brookner, WG Sebald, Jeremy Reed, Ian McEwan, Elizabeth Bowen, Stephen King, Oliver Onions, Marcel Proust, Salman Rushdie, Glen Hirshberg, Paul Auster, Mark Valentine, John Fowles, Edgar Allan Poe, John Cowper Powys, Lord Dunsany, Algernon Blackwood, Jack Vance, Philip K Dick, Jeff VanderMeer, Samuel R Delany, Anthony Burgess, Susanna Clarke, Rhys Hughes, Lawrence Durrell, MR James, Robert Aickman, Sarban, Ramsey Campbell, Thomas Ligotti, Tommaso Landolfi, Kazuo Ishiguro, Quentin S. Crisp.

This is a list including writers I once considered in my Hall of Fame but now rarely read, and new writers whose works I read quite a lot and have included in my Hall of Fame fairly recently and variations upon that, but all have been major reading experiences some time in my life.  Apologies to those I’ve inadvertently omitted because of my semi-Proustian memory.

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My first and only published novel

I have just re-read Nemonymous Night (Chômu Press, June 2011) in its full beautiful regalia as a book. And I wonder if it is a metaphorical suicide-bomb now planted on my bookshelf, knowing how close I am to my bookshelf…

More thoughtfully perhaps, having indeed just re-read this my only published novel, I deem it the worthy culmination of a lifetime tussling with fiction. I shall continue to deem it thus, I feel, even if the critical reaction to it is negative, but I certainly trust that most of its readers will gain value from the adventurous Jules Verne-ian plot together with its apocalyptic and acquired accoutrements.

Nemonymous Night, the Last Balcony story collection and the Weirdtongue novella are the only works of mine I would like to remain in existence after I’ve gone into my own nemonymous night. But, obviously, I have no say in what is kept and what is not.  And the earth may vanish before I do.

Please forgive any sign of pretentiousness that may be discovered in this statement.  And sincere thanks to the publisher of Nemonymous Night.

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The two quotes inside the book – the words from an Elizabeth Bowen story were discovered after completion and acceptance of the novel – and the ‘Carcosa’ words from Karl Edward Wagner were published in the mid-1990s, and the novel mentions a ‘lethal chamber’ and an anchovy!

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