Talk about high praise: how to say thank you

The website provides free readings of works of literature. Naturally, it being a French website, one of the authors who gets their treatment is Proust. A formidable undertaking, Remembrance of Things Past requires something like 144 hours to be read in its entirety. I think used more than one reader for Proust, but I am not sure. One of its readers was Monique Vincens. If she did not read the whole thing, then she read a substantial amount of it.

The website allows comments about their readers and the readings, provided they are positive. One of these comments for Vincens was extraordinary. Here is a translation.

From: René Grandjean

To Mrs. Monique Vincens,

"Your voice is soft, sweet and melodious. Your enunciation phenomenal.

"Your reading is never forced, flowing smoothly all the way to the very end of phrases and of the subordinate clauses that lie far-off in the distance.

"It is mesmerizing to listen to you because you convey everything to our ears and hearts, without letting yourself be circumvented by the treachery of the author, who does not hesitate to strew traps and potholes in your path.

"If I read the text myself, I often let myself get carried away by the sinuosity of the text, and I have to pull myself back in shame. That never happens to you.

"Sometimes I ask myself whether you didn’t write the text yourself because your facility is so great and your capacity to unravel the intricacies of Proust’s thought is magisterial.

"I have read Proust a lot and I have listened to Proust often, but here you have become the oracle, should I say the divinity, of his interlaced design and mysteries, revealed at last.

"Those who hear you in “real life” must be delighted, comforted and enchanted to see the banal notes of everyday existence transformed into cantatas by Bach.

“What unknown joys you have brought! How is it even possible to thank you?”

I have listened to Vincens, and although I might not go quite as far as Grandjean (cantatas of Bach, ooh-la-la !), I agree she is very good.

Here is Grandjean’s text in French, and the source:

À Madame Monique Vincens,
Votre voix est suave, douce et mélodieuse. Votre diction prodigieuse.
Rien ne vient jamais forcer le trait de votre élocution qui tient jusqu’au bout les incises et les subordonnées lointaines.
C’est envoûtant de vous écouter, car vous amenez tout à notre oreille, et à notre cœur, sans vous laisser circonvenir par les traîtrises de l’auteur, qui ne se prive pas de joncher votre parcours de pièges et de fondrières.
Si je lis moi-même, je me laisse souvent emporter par les sinuosités du texte, et je dois me reprendre, avec honte. Cela nous vous arrive pas.
Parfois, je me demande, si ce vous n’avez pas écrit tout cela vous-même tant votre aisance est grande et votre capacité à dérouler les enchevêtrements de la pensée de Proust est magistrale.
J’ai lu beaucoup, j’ai écouté souvent Proust, mais vous voici devenue l’oracle, que dis-je la divinité, de ses entrelacs et mystères, enfin révélés.
Ceux qui vous entendent dans la vie doivent être bienheureux, apaisés et enchantés de voir transformés les registres les plus triviaux du quotidien, en Cantate de J.-S. Bach.
Que de bonheurs anonymes vous avez apportés ! Comment vous en rendre grâce ?”

Voir tous les commentaires de ce billet:

Nice find, I wish I had had this back when I was learning French! Now if only I could find something like this in Spanish! :wink: In the meantime though, I’ll be downloading some of these recordings just to hear the stories.

There are several discussion of French audiobooks on LingQ (somewhere–the discussions are so hard to find!) that have good links, here are a few of them :

Spanish books are harder to locate online. There have been a couple of discussions of this in LingQ, which have some good links.

I must mention a 1920s pulp science fiction classic (translated from Russian, read in a Castillian accent). I am sure most people will find it boring, but I like the story, probably because it was the first novel I read in Russian. Plutonia - Podcast en iVoox ; from this podcast: Escucha el canal AUDIOLIBROS DE LA VOZ . The text of the book is here, to download: .

[ corrected a link ]