Maeve and Nora graduated from Hamilton College in May of 2012. Between us we have two bachelor’s degrees in Comparative Literature, another BA in Art History, a minor in Geoscience, mounting debt, and separation anxiety from books and seminar classes. With that in mind, here is the challenge we have set ourselves:
1. We will attempt to read, relate, and reflect on the entirety of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time in the year following our college graduation. This amounts to 4,211 pages in a year, or roughly 81 a week.
2. In the process, we will continue to read, write, and engage in some version of a literary pursuit, making up for the absence of these things in our post-graduate lives, and
3. Most of all, stay in touch with both our college selves and each other, no matter where we end up, or what we end up doing.
Marcel Proust’s “In Search of Lost Time” is often cited as the greatest Western novel, but because of its length—over 4000 pages in the standard English translation—it is seldom read. This course offers a rare chance to study the novel in its entirety, with particular attention to Proust’s understanding of time, his revolutionary views on sexuality, his narrative technique, and his ideas about the relationship between literature and the other arts. Prerequisite, 152 or consent of instructor. Open to first year students with consent of instructor only. Maximum enrollment, 12.
Both of us assumed that we would take “Proust” during our four years at Hamilton. Yet, due to a confluence of unrelated circumstances, neither one of us was able to accomodate the course in our schedule. So, faced with graduation and separation from constant literary activity, we decided that we would use our post-grad year to “take” the course at last.