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Proustfest This Week At The Athenaeum

madeleineProustfest at the Athenaeum comprises two separate salons to be held this Tuesday and this Friday in the evening. (I’m anxious to meet these experts as I have this idea for a scratch-and-sniff Proust comic in which our hero eats a radioactive madeleine, develops super memory powers, and remembers everything that ever happened to him except who sold him the radioactive madeleine. I really just need an agent.)

On Tuesday, November 15, 7pm to 8:30 — Writer Damion Searls has written a new translation of Proust’s essay, On Reading. This essay originally appeared as Proust’s preface to his translation into French of author and art critic John Ruskin’s book about reading, Sesame and Lilies; it is also the first example of Proust’s mature fictional style. Searls discusses the biographical background of Proust’s engagement with Ruskin, Proust’s unique (and often bizarre) approach to translation, Proust’s and Ruskin’s theories of reading, and some of the exquisite scenes that shed light on the themes and methods of Remembrance of Things Past.

Proust: Part Deux — Thursday, November 18, 5pm to 7pm — Boston Globe classical music critic Jeremy Eichler on “Proust’s Melody.” Proust not only wrote highly musical prose but was a wonderfully insightful writer about music. Eichler discusses the role of music in Proust’s novel and in his life, and explores what Proust has to teach us about the art of listening. With musical examples.

Free and open to the public, Tuesday and Friday, Proustfest, the Providence Athenaeum, 251 Benefit Street, 421.6970