Marcel Proust

Read the First Poems of 10 Famous Poets

In conjunction with the recent publication of a new, gorgeous dual-language edition of The Collected Poems of Marcel Proust, this morning The Daily Beast shared the first poem ever written by Marcel Proust (as far as anyone knows). The poem, penned when the legendary author was a mere 17 years old, reflects his struggle with homosexuality and his blossoming talent. After the jump, read Proust’s debut poem and a collection of nine other of the earliest known verses of now famous poets. Did we miss your favorite? Let us know about it in the comments. … Read More

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Extremely Silly Photos of Famous People Playing Air Guitar

There are certain photos guaranteed to make us giggle no matter how shitty we’re feeling, and one such image is the picture of Marcel Proust playing air guitar that resurfaced on the Atlantic this morning. Clearly, the appeal of air guitar is universal, and even those of us who aren’t famous musicians (or, y’know, famous air guitarists), can appreciate the appeal of soloing like crazy on a tennis racket, broomstick or nothing at all. In the spirit of such inclusiveness, then, here’s a light-hearted round-up of other famous people who’ve joined Proust in succumbing to the lure of the air guitar – starting with the great French writer himself. … Read More

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Extremely Silly Photos of Extremely Serious Writers

[Editor’s note: In celebration of the holidays, we’re spending the next two Tuesdays by counting down the top 12 Flavorwire features of 2012. This post, at #8, was originally published May 11th.] Every writer, no matter how serious, needs to let off a little steam now and then. Those oh-so-important mental health days might be filled with hobbies (from baking to beekeeping) or drinking (every writer’s default hobby), or just plain goofing around with friends. Luckily for us, some of these author’s kookiest, most candid moments have been captured on film, so we can all feel a little closer to our favorite literary heroes. Click through to check out our gallery of refreshingly silly photos of famous writers, and if you’ve seen a photo we haven’t, share the wealth and link to it in the comments! … Read More

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10 Famous Writers on How to Read

Recently, we came across Kurt Vonnegut’s term paper assignment for his 1965 “Form of Fiction” course at the Iowa Writers’ Workshop, recently reprinted in Kurt Vonnegut: Letters, edited by Dan Wakefield. Needless to say, the assignment is almost a short story in and of itself — filled with Vonnegut’s delicious turns of phrase and serious expectations, plus his advice on how best to read fiction, or in particular, how best to read short stories that one can then talk or write about well. Inspired, we hunted around for other famous authors with opinions on how best to read — get a little instruction in something you’ve been doing all your life after the jump. … Read More

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The Morning’s Top 5 Pop Culture Stories

1. If you missed seeing The Daily Show last night, there was a hilarious video segment that took a look back at Barack Obama’s first term, and was narrated by none other than Larry David. The major takeaway: “Less bad is better than more bad.” [via Gawker]

2. Here’s your first… Read More

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20 Famous Writers on Death and Mortality

Today marks the publication of Mortality, confrontational journalist Christopher Hitchens’ posthumous work about his experiences with the cancer that killed him. We’ve lost a lot of great minds recently — Nora Ephron, Maurice Sendak, David Rakoff, and Hitch himself — and we think this end-of-life memoir in essays, full of Hitchens’ trademark wit and his clear-eyed dissection of life as he sees it, may just heal us a little bit, as books tend to do. To celebrate the book’s publication, and to help recalibrate our own perspectives on the loss of so many of our intellectual heroes, we’ve put together this selection of passages on death and mortality from a few of our favorite authors. Read through after the jump, and since there are an infinite number of these, add your own favorite to our collection in the comments. … Read More

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When Marcel Proust Met James Joyce

In Craig Brown’s recently released Hello Goodbye Hello: A Circle of 101 Remarkable Meetings, Marilyn Monroe meets Nikita Khrushchev, President Richard Nixon meets Elvis Presley, Salvador Dali meets Sigmund Freud and of course, Marcel Proust meets James Joyce. These are just a few of the delightful and completely true stories in this book, which documents what happens when the famous, the genius, and the notorious bump up against each other, often to hilarious results. One of our favorite essays, which we’ve had the good fortune to be permitted to reprint below, retells the first meeting between Proust and Joyce in 1922 Paris — though accounts vary widely, one thing is for certain: neither had read the work of the other (or neither admitted to it). Click through to read this charming essay, and then be sure to check out the book for even more. … Read More

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The Books That Make Guys Swoon

A couple weeks ago we posted about the books that might make you undateable — at least in the eyes of those who might, perhaps, yes, judge your romantic appeal based on the book you’re reading. (Sorry, but this is a thing that happens.) We were inspired by a Paris Review blog post about the books guys should read to attract girls. But what about the inverse? What kind of books might make a girl appealing to guys? Culled from a number of anecdotal conversations with young men that read, collated by us, here’s a sampling of books the ladies might consider sticking their noses into if they’re hoping to catch that special literary fly guy’s eye on the subway, at the bus station, in the library or around the copier room. … Read More

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An Essential French Lit Reading List for Bastille Day

Tomorrow is Bastille Day, or as the French call it, la Fête Nationale or le quatorze juillet, the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, the flashpoint of the French Revolution that symbolizes the birth of the modern nation. So basically the French version of the fourth of July, only slightly bloodier and with more presidential garden parties. In honor of the French’s national holiday, we’ve put together a list of essential French literature to get anyone in the spirit. And obviously, there’s no way to distill the literature of an entire country into a ten point list, so these are just some of our favorites — chime in with your own in the comments. Vive la révolution! … Read More

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10 Novels That We Dare You to Finish

Peter Nadas’s novel Parallel Stories, which will be released this November, clocks in at well over 1,000 pages. In an interview with New York, the Hungarian author queried, “Why wouldn’t ­Musil, Mann, or Broch be my contemporaries?” In honor of his ambition,  we’ve compiled a list of 10 novels that could also function as doorstops if you decide to give up on them. Maybe you’ve tried to impress your friends by casually mentioning that you’re finally reading Proust, or you’re the annoying person on the train with the weighty tome in both hands, jostling into your fellow passengers because you can’t spare a free hand — whatever the reason, we salute you, foolhardy readers. Have any of you finished the following novels with ease? If so, let us know in the comments section. … Read More

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