Tuesday, September 08, 2020

Proust as radio drama …

In search of ‘English Proust’ | Christopher Prendergast | Standpoint. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

The elephant in the room is of course that artistically difficult and complicated beast: the Narrator who is also a character evolving in the time of the narrative. The character “Marcel” (a naming that opens a whole can of worms) is divided between two actors, the boy Marcel and the older narrator. The former is unfortunately all too often stamped with (ha!) a Brideshead inflection; the childhood world of Combray is a cosseted one, but the boy didn’t attend Eton. The latter falls to one of our greatest living actors, Derek Jacobi, who brings his hugely versatile gifts to bear on two key dimensions of the narrating voice: rhythm and register. The key challenge is Proust’s notoriously elaborate syntax. Jacobi provides a master class in how to navigate these hypotactic structures.
I’ve not read Proust and the brevity of life suggests I may never. But I suppose listening to a radio adaptation would be worth a try. But will we be able to hear it on these shores?

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