As this academic year comes to a close, so too have I reached my limit for non-fiction. And having read too many essays consisting of sentence fragments, I thought I’d begin my holiday by reading an author known for the longest sentences in literature. Thus I look forward to Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, although as I have far too little time, I will be starting with Vol. 6 Finding Time Again. Among other things I understand it provides some fascinating insights into the world of the French aristocracy during the Great War, especially how some of them would pass the time whilst the Zeppelins dropped bombs on Paris. Staying on the general theme of aristocracy, albeit in this case the Soviet aristocracy of the late 1920s, Curzio Malaparte’s The Kremlin Ball should make for an interesting prequel to Armando Iannucci’s film ‘The Death of Stalin’. I then switch to a topic that thankfully has not reared its ugly head this past year, and fingers crossed, not next year either. It was once said that academic politics are so fierce because the stakes are so small. However, I have it on good authority that even the worst of academic politics cannot begin to compare with the skulduggery that occurs within the College of Arms. I am therefore anxiously awaiting the arrival of a copy of The Heralds by Brian Killick. Time permitting, I will close the summer on a high note with Harold Nicolson’s Public Faces. His 1932 novel has a Fleet Air Arm plane drop an atomic bomb that accidentally wipes out Charleston, South Carolina. Untangling the fictional and non-fictional aspects of British carrier-based aviation will no doubt prove a highly relevant theme as the Autumn term approaches.
Image: marcel proust, made with iPad by Renée, via flickr.