Paris: The Man With the Blue Guitar

August 29, 2013

I am in the process of excavating the social, historical and architectural terrain where I live. I go to a different area of the city once a week, or more often if my other tasks release me.  I use Metro stops as my landmarks, much the way a geologist might use an distinctive outcrop of […]

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Proust: The Narrator Himself

August 29, 2013

Marcel lui meme   Yes, always Marcel, the central figure. The tyranny of Marcel’s neurosis  – his obsessive need to be accepted, to access worlds he imagines more perfect than his own, his fantasies concerning certain idealized people, as Mme Swann, – dominates this second book. Yet, however “weak” or “sickly” Marcel may appear to […]

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Proust: Hints of the “Accomplishment”

August 29, 2013

(midway through  “Within a Budding Grove”   as before,  overwhelmed by the scope of Proust’s ambition and by how successfully he is accomplishing it.  I use the present participle “accomplishing” because the narrative has not yet arrived at the conclusion, the “accomplishment” that I don’t yet know how to define. But I suspect that it […]

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Proust: Proustian Time

August 24, 2013

    There are dizzying time-warps. We begin with the author remembering, in extraordinary detail, the world of his childhood, Combray, the house of his grandmother, a lush orchestration of sights and smells, of people, particular incidents, 200 pages of it, and then, snap, we are fully and deeply into the story of M. Charles […]

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Paris is the World: The Sacred and Not So Sacred

August 22, 2013

Paris giveth and Paris taketh away. It dazzles and disillusions, pleases and disgusts. Beauty and filth. Not, of course, a tension unique to Paris, one found in all great cities, but Paris is where the world and I rub shoulders.   I’d arranged to meet my daughter at the Sainte Chapelle, King Louis IX’s private […]

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Proust: An Informal Guide

August 20, 2013

A la recherché du temps perdu rises up before me,  the Himalayas of literature. I have started the climb and am keeping a journal of the adventure. Since Proust allows metaphors to cross and conflict,  I will permit myself the same liberty. Thus: climbing into rarified regions of language and letters, I go for swim and […]

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American Medicine vs. French Medicine – Part 2

August 19, 2013

Once “melanoma” was diagnosed,  I was directed by the dermatologist to the big public Hopital Saint Louis of the assistance publique system that is stigmatized as  “socialized” medicine and dreaded by the Americans – an irrational fear, rather like fearing the devil, and constantly fed fuel by politicians who are obedient  to their masters in […]

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The Girl on The Train

August 16, 2013

The decals of instruction on how to break the windows and escape from the TGV carriage in case of a wreck have upset a little boy sitting across the aisle. The graphic shows a figure striking the window. He tries to peel off the decals with his little fingers. His mother struggles with him, a […]

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American Medicine vs. French Medicine – Part 1

August 14, 2013

Vanity to the rescue.   I decided to inquire about the price of removing a large “age spot” on my face. Feeling lightly embarrassed by my interest in such a project: men of my age are expected to have such things, badges, if you will, of life spent.  “Age spot” had been the diagnosis, without bothering […]

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Paris is the World: Suffering

August 11, 2013

Paris, 10 August 2011 The day dawned fair, first good day in weeks. The white lines left by airplanes , like chalk marks, crisscrossed the perfect blue of Parisian sky. I would go, in the afternoon, after some writing done, to the great western forest, the Bois de Boulogne. Climbing out of the metro at […]

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