The Poetry in the Art

Gate of Lilacs: A Verse Commentary on Proust by Clive James Picador, 2016, 75 pages, $29.99   At first glance Gate of Lilacs might seem a self-indulgence. Fifty pages of blank verse by a sick man about a notoriously long magnum opus by another, more-lengthily, sick man may seem a bit daunting. Our “Boy from Kogarah” (aka Clive James, the polymath) and Marcel Proust (“that droopy, wheezing dweeb”, according to Clive) are an unlikely pair. For most readers, however, whether or not they are familiar with Proust’s multi-volume masterpiece À la recherche du temps perdu, James’s Gate of Lilacs will…

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