Recommend Paintings in Proust
Fellow Proustians: How have we managed to live without this book? – Seattle Times
This is a book which no Proust addict can afford to miss. – Anita Brookner, The Spectator
Paintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to In Search of Lost Time
A captivating, colorful examination of the ways in which Proust incorporated artists and the visual arts in his work.
這本書搜羅普魯斯特巨作《追憶似水年華》中所提及的畫家及其畫作，擷取精華中的精華，如同作者 Eric Karpeles 在〈引言〉(Instruction) 一開始所述：
Like the labyrinthine galleries of the Louvre frequented by the young Marcel Proust and his friends, In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu) houses a vast repository of paintings. In the novel, over one hundred artists are named, spanning the history of art from the trecento to the twentieth century, from primitivism to futurism, from Giotto to Leon Bakst.
橫跨 14 世紀至 20 世紀百餘位畫家的作品深藏在這套小說當中，有時候只是一語帶過，有時候卻是寓意深遠地比擬、論述、轉化，藉由敘事者馬塞爾、藝術收藏家斯萬、夏呂斯男爵以及畫家埃爾斯蒂爾這些要角展露出這一片我們未曾深入探索的藝術天地。
每一段節錄的文章搭配簡短的提要以及相關的畫作，圖文並茂地相互參照，讓我們可以同時欣賞到文字及繪畫之美，試讀底下這篇取材自第一冊 Swann’s Way 以及十七世紀荷蘭的風俗畫家 Pieter de Hooch 的畫作 The Mother：
To his surprise, the erudite Charles Swann has become infatuated with Odette de Crécy, a flirtatious courtesan be cannot seem to live without. Tonight they attend the informal evenings at the home of M. and Mme Verdurin, where they first hear the music of Vinteuil:
He would enter the drawing-room and there, while Mme Verdurin, pointing to the roses which he had sent her that morning, said: I’m furious with you,’ and sent him to the place kept for him beside Odette, the pianist would play to them - for their two selves - the little phrase by Vinteuil which was, so to speak, the national anthem of their love. He would begin with the sustained tremolos of the violin which for several bars are heard alone, filling the whole foreground; until suddenly they seemed to draw aside, and - as in those interiors by Pieter de Hooch which are deepened by the narrow frame of a half opened door, in the far distance, of a different colour, velvety with the radiance of some intervening light - the little phrase appeared, dancing, pastoral, interpolated, episodic, belonging to another world. (p.48)
(p.238 追憶似水年華 I 在斯萬家那邊 聯經版 1992)
這本書最終的價值或許在於提供讀者一個充滿藝術氣息、有趣而全新的觀點去欣賞《追憶似水年華》，容我再次引述作者 Eric Karpeles 在〈引言〉裡頭的最後一段話：
Travelling restlessly from Paris to Balbec for the first time, the Narrator glimpses through the train window the first soft glimmers of dawn. The next moment, the train turns away from the east and his window plunges again into nocturnal dark. Soon it turns once more, and the window opposite him reveals a further effect of sunrise on cloud and sky. ‘I spent my time running from one window to the other to reassemble, to collect on a single canvas the intermittent, antipodean fragments of my fine, scarlet, ever-changing morning, and to obtain a comprehensive view and a continuous picture of it.’ Just as the Narrator grapples with the visual fracturing of his idea of morning and longs to unify the multiplicity of disconnected observations, so Paintings in Proust attempts to reassemble in a single volume the fleeting paintings weaving in and out of a moving narrative, to offer for the first time to the reader of In Search of Lost Time ‘a comprehensive view and a continuous picture’.
在此誠摯推薦 Eric Karpeles 的 Paintings in Proust！
Paintings in Proust is a companion guide to a monumental twentieth century work of art. Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, one of the most expansive literary creations ever composed, is a vast novel teeming with visual references. Author Eric Karpeles has combined his experiences as painter and writer to create a lavishly illustrated book that illuminates the winding corridors of Proust's singular, labyrinthine masterpiece.
For newcomers to Proust's work, Paintings in Proust functions as a complementary guidebook, providing a firmer ground from which to undertake the task of plunging into a novel famously known for its complexity and its length. At the same time, Paintings in Proust offers further nourishment to the seasoned Proustian reader, whose plate is already extravagantly full.
Paintings in Proust animates the experience of reading by revealing and clarifying much that might otherwise remain obscure. Illustrating a treasure trove of visual references, Paintings in Proust provides access and insight in its presentation of paired groupings of texts and pictures, arranged sequentially, as they appear in volume after volume of In Search of Lost Time.
Paintings in Proust will be a most welcome addition to the library of any reader interested in literature and art.