Proust, Virginina Woolf, and the dangers of loving a book too much.

The Cork-Lined Room

by Dennis Abrams

I’ve been thinking back to one of my first posts, listing the ten reasons why people should join in the reading of reading Proust.  In it I quoted Virginia Woolf’s famous line, “My great adventure is really Proust.  Well — what remains to be written after that?”   In reading Alain de Botton’s How Proust Can Change Your Life,” I read about the danger that such feelings had for Woolf.

“Reading Proust nearly silenced Virginia Woolf.  She loved his novel, but loved it rather too much.  There wasn’t enough wrong with it, a crushing recognition when one follows Walter Benjamin in his assessment of why people become writers: because they are unable to find a book already written which they are completely happy with.  And the difficulty for Virginia was, for a time at least, she thought she had found one.

Virginia Woolf first mentioned Proust in…

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