Author: Sandra Hajda

Sandra Hajda lives in Melbourne. Her work has appeared in Killings, Lip Mag, Clash Magazine, Idiom 23 and Pickled Politics.

Proust: A Shallow Fellow

proust-swan's-wayWhen commentators weigh in on the work of Marcel Proust they usually reveal more about their own biases and preoccupations than they do about the French novelist and essayist.

Samuel Beckett started the trend in 1930 with an essay ‘Proust’ which, while ostensibly about the not-long-deceased Frenchman (Proust died in 1922), is actually more of a manifesto about the perils of habit and the way it can retard ones artistic development. These were definitely the concerns of Beckett himself, who was still alive, after all, and looking towards the future, wondering if a change of environment (perhaps some better friends or a new writing desk) could refresh his outlook. There is a memorable passage where Beckett says that ‘[h]abit is the ballast that chains the dog to his vomit’.

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