The NAB Blog

Come and Meet Neville Jason!

By Nicolas Soames

19 September 2013

Cheltenham Literature Festival

The Naxos AudioBooks reader who is best known for reading not just War and Peace unabridged and The Once and Future King unabridged, but Marcel Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past in its entirety (150 hours), is featuring in no fewer than three programmes at this year’s Cheltenham Literature Festival.

With the Proust specialist Dr Cynthia Gamble, he has devised three programmes to introduce and celebrate À La Recherche du Temps Perdu, as this year marks the centenary of the first publication of Swann’s Way, the first volume in this inimitable work. 

It contains, of course, the famous passage concerning the narrator’s experience with the lime-flower tea and the madeleine, which set in train the whole discourse on time, reflection and life, which became one of the most astounding texts in world literature.

Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust

Neville will be reading that very passage in the first of the three programmes. I can honestly report that although I have heard him read this quite a few times now – in the studio, on camera and in front of an audience – it never fails to have a strong effect upon me.

Cheltenham Literature Festival has, in addition, devised a series of other Proust events, including a salon and discussions, surrounding the three Naxos AudioBooks programmes. So, this is your chance to immerse yourself in Proust!

The three Naxos AudioBooks programmes are called Pocket Proust and they are all in The Salon, Montpellier Gardens, Cheltenham, on October 10, 11 and 12.

Nicolas Soames

Nicolas Soames

Pocket Proust: The Proustian Moment, which I am introducing, sees Neville reading carefully chosen passages from the novel, presenting important themes and characters. It is a remarkably coherent introduction despite being just an hour! You can also hear some of the music with which we decorated Neville’s abridged reading of the work.

October 10, 12.00 p.m.

Cynthia Gamble

Cynthia Gamble

In Pocket Proust: The Belle Epoque, Cynthia Gamble (author of Proust as Interpreter of Ruskin and a most informative and enthusiastic proponent of her subject) describes the sophisticated, hedonistic world of pre-WW I Paris. It was a glittering world of restaurants, salons, opera and theatre, and she introduces key artists and composers such as Tissot, Saint-Saëns and Fauré who appear in fictional form in Remembrance of Things Past. Neville Jason will illustrate her talk with selected readings.

11 October, 6.30 p.m.

Neville Jason

Neville Jason

In Pocket Proust: An Extravagant Life, Cynthia Gamble reveals Proust the man. He was, she insists, not the chronic invalid he is so often portrayed as, but a socialite often seen amongst the intellectual and artistic life of Paris: the milieu of Jean Cocteau, Alphonse Daudet, not to mention Stravinsky, Diaghilev, Montesquieu and many others – a fascinating portrait! Neville Jason will read selected passages from Proust and contemporary accounts.

October 12, 10 a.m.

I am looking forward to these three days in Cheltenham immensely for, even though I have travelled the Proustian journey with Neville over many years, I know my appreciation and enjoyment of this great work will be considerably enhanced by Pocket Proust.

And there are still tickets! Just £7!

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