Another gem from Alain De Botton. His light, engaging style belies his serious intent of making art accessible and encouraging the reader to absorb the world differently. In this book the subject is Marcel Proust’s multi-volumed life’s work, the masterpiece In Search of Lost Time. De Botton introduces the reader to the beauty of Proust’s writing, using selected extracts to highlight philosophical arguments.
In ‘How to Express Your Emotions’, to support de Botton’s argument ‘..what is arguably present in every successful work of art: an ability to restore to our sight a distorted or neglected aspect of reality.’, he offers ‘Our vanity, our passions, our spirit of imitation, our abstract intelligence, our habits have long been at work, and it is the task of art to undo this work of theirs, making us travel back in the direction from which we have come to the depths where what has really existed lies unknown within us.’
With de Botton’s effortless guidance Proust’s work becomes not only an accessible read, but also an unexpectedly desirable read.
Botton, A. d. (1998). How Proust Can Change Your Life. London: Picador.