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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Paris is the World: Insane and How Not to Be

August 9, 2013

I started the day thinking about what it means to be insane and ended up going the park. The question about insanity came up because the defense attorney for the Norwegian mass murderer called his client “insane,” as if that would not only explain his action but would also minimize its significance. I think that […]

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