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Gate of Lilacs: A Verse Commentary on Proust

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  • Gate of Lilacs: A Verse Commentary on Proust 
    Title: Gate of Lilacs: A Verse Commentary on Proust
    Author: JAMES CLIVE
    Format: HARDCOVER
    Publication date: 26/04/2016
    Imprint: PICADOR
    Price: $12.95
    Publishing status: Active

    Writing in the UK’s Literary Review, Edward Behrens describes Clive James’ Gate of Lilacs as ‘ unabashedly personal response to a novel of asthmatically breathtaking self-obsession’. James learned French by readingÀla recherche du temps perdu and writing this verse critique was a similarly challenging project – as he said when the book was launched, ‘I needed to write it, perhaps to register my admiration for how he got on with his work when he fell ill. Thus I would trap myself into doing likewise.’ The format he has chosen is that of a poem and it works wonderfully as both an homage and critique.
    With <i>À </i><i>la recherche du temps perdu</i>, Proust, in James's words, 'followed his creative instinct all the way until his breath gave out', and now James has done the same. In <i>Gate of Lilacs</i>, James, a brilliant critical essayist and poet, has blended the two forms into one.

    <i>I had always thought the critical essay and the poem were closely related forms . . . If I wanted to talk about Proust's poetry beyond the basic level of talking about his language - if I wanted to talk about the poetry of his thought - then the best way to do it might be to write a poem.There is nothing like a poem for transmitting a mental flavour. Instead of trying to describe it, you can evoke it. </i>

    In the end, if <i>À </i><i>la recherche du temps perdu</i> is a book devoted almost entirely to its author's gratitude for life, for love, and for art, this much smaller book is devoted to its author's gratitude for Proust.

    ISBN: 9781509812356
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