Saturday, February 28, 2009

A.J. Liebling on Proust's Appetite

The Proust madeleine phenomenon is now as firmly established in folklore as Newton's apple or Watt's steam kettle. The man ate a tea biscuit, the taste evoked memories, he wrote a book ... In the light of what Proust wrote with so mild a stimulus, it is the world's loss that he did not have a heartier appetite. On a dozen Gardiners Island oysters, a bowl of clam chowder, a peck of steamers, some bay scallops, three sautéed soft-shelled crabs, a few ears of fresh-picked corn, a thin swordfish steak of generous area, a pair of lobsters, and a Long Island duck, he might have written a masterpiece.
--from A.J. Liebling's Between Meals.

Also of interest: in Paris circa 1955, Liebling writes that he "received a note from Mirande by tube next morning ..." Anyone know what "by tube" means in this context?

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Jake said...

The pneumatic mail system. See Truffaut's "Stolen Kisses".

Benjamin Chambers said...

Jake - thanks for the info! Much appreciated.