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Germaine Greer: Reading Proust is a waste of time

9th November 2009

Germaine Greer has revealed why she does not rate the works of French literary heavyweight Marcel Proust.

Writing in the Guardian, the feminist author claimed that ploughing through the lengthy books of Proust is 'time wasted' and recommended people do anything else rather than read them, such as 'visiting a demented relative'.

Explaining her reasons, Greer pointed out that the 1.25 million words of Proust's In Search of Lost Time would run to almost 2,500 pages if printed in one volume, while the works cost too much to buy as separate books.

In addition, she expressed her distaste for the author's writing style, saying his habit of placing commas and semi-colons where full stops should be used often leaves his work virtually indecipherable.

'Sentences run to thousands of words and scores of subordinate clauses, until the reader has no recollection of the main clause or indeed whether there ever was one,' Greer wrote.

Earlier this month, Marie NDiaye won France's top literary award the Goncourt Prize, which counts writers such as Proust, Simone de Beauvoir and Antonine Maillet among its previous winners, for her novel Trois Femmes Puissantes (Three Strong Women).

© W&G Foyle Ltd
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