Working Out with Proust

via the

Proust playing the air guitar via the


One of my New Year’s resolutions was to reread parts of Proust’s À la recherche du temps perdu.

And one of the ways I’ve been doing this is by working out with Proust.




Some of you may remember that I have Proust’s oeuvre on cassette tapes and, conveniently enough, have held on to my Walkman from years past.




So instead of being motivated by the usual ‘get-your-heart-racing’ music as I work out, I’ve been listening to one of the great stories of literature.

Merci, Marcel, for being my occasional workout coach!






68 thoughts on “Working Out with Proust

  1. Uh oh, I will be aging myself big time now. I have a walkman, a turntable, vinyl albums and all my 45s in pristine condition. I’m an audiophile par excellence or maybe I can’t part with old technology! There’s just something nostalgic about listening to scratchy records 😉

    • I got a turntable for Christmas! It’s my first one but I love it. The sound, the ritual of putting on a record, the art on the record sleeve. I can see why you love it!

  2. Yes, the walkman/Proust connection is amazing but I have never seen pictures of him. He was kind of a goofball wasn’t he? I think I need to read something by him. As always, you inspire me to read something I have never read.

    • He was quite social and enjoyed being part of his group of friends for sure. Unfortunately his poor health limited him especially towards the later years. He’s definitely worth reading!

  3. He looks like he would be a lot of fun to work out with – sort of a combination Peter Sellers/Woody Allen character. Does the voice on the tape go along with that? 🙂 You’ve made me want to read Proust and find my Walkman all in one post!

    • Haha I never thought of Proust as a Woody Allen type. The voices on cassettes are quite good: the story is read by different French actors whose voices I quite like (it’s so important when listening to a story isn’t it?).

  4. Excellent~☀ 🌟★🌟 ☀ ~… The third book, which pic you’ve attached above was a cherished reading to me… Anyhow I still didn’t find the Temps Perdu, as I stopped in book 5!… Maybe one day… But, if that being the case, I’ll have to re read previous installments to refresh my memory, you know. All my best wishes, dear Letizia. Aquileana

  5. Oof. Color me impressed! I don’t think I could keep from getting distracted, just exercising and listening to beach vacation-level books. With Proust, I’d be sure to twist an ankle Iong before he even began rhapsodizing about tea cakes…

    • That’s a good point and I think I would be distracted if I was listening to it for the first time! But I’ve read him before so this is a revisit, so it’s a good exercise companion.

  6. Classic hardware and classic literature, I love retro, I bet you turn a few heads. Kids these days will never understand the joys of cassettes, what a sad thought…

  7. Proust is my favourite writer and I want to try to listen to his book and work out….. I love the picture of him with a tennis raquette (ready for Roland-Garros).

  8. In the words of Tina Turner: “You’re simply the best, better than all the rest.” (Did I just date myself?)

    No, really. Love that you work out to Proust WITH your walkman. So awesome!

  9. I wish I could find my Walkman now – I think it got lost in the move Do’h! That picture of Proust with the tennis racquet is unlike the ‘norm’ of that era because they’re all smiling. I love it! 😀

  10. In the French Letizia? Well impressed. I’m afraid Emile Zola terminated any interest I may have had in French writers. I’ve long since stopped running with music – much prefer to take in the world all about.

    • Well, as I’m French, listening to Proust in French isn’t too impressive I’m afraid. I know what you mean, sometimes it’s nice to be outside without being plugged in and just listen to the world around you.

  11. You are something else, Letizia. I love this idea. I also love that you still have a Walkman. I still have mine — the bright yellow kind — but have no clue where any of my cassettes are. Enjoy your workouts with Proust!

    • I remember that yellow Walkman! I think it may even have been the “waterproof” one but I’m not sure about that. To listen to in the rain? In the shower? Why would someone need a waterproof Walkman?

  12. Ambitious. My vacation reading was A Soldier of the Great War by Mark Helprin. 860 epic pages. I’m back to work today with only 20 pages left. So close!
    I thought of you in Baddeck, Nova Scotia. The library window had a display of book spine poetry. I’m sure you’ve come across this or even posted on it. Cute idea.

  13. wow, a walkman! That’s impressive!
    Do you find you can get as much out of the story by listening to it as you do from reading? I’ve never really got into audiobooks, but it does seem like a good way to get some reading in on the move….

    • I’ve only listened to audiobooks in the past to help me sleep when I have jet lag so I’ve chosen celebrity autobiographies as their voices lull me to sleep but the stories are also interesting. I’ve already read Proust so listening to the story again is a joy. But I don’t think listening and reading are the same experience so, for me anyway, audiobooks only work if the book is light or a rereading. You should try it next time you have insomnia or a long airplane ride!

      • That’s actually a very good idea! I agree I don’t feel I get anywhere near as much from listening to a book as when I read it. Plus the joy of physical books is too much to pass up on in favour of audio!

  14. This post passed me by initially because of all our festival activities, but it is such fun, I could not resist a comment and a belated ‘like’! I almost always do my walking to the spoken word rather than to music, although I do use an iPhone rather than a walkman. I particularly like audiobooks when they are read by the authors themselves, although this can be a bit difficult when it comes to recording the classics!! 🙂

    • I like when the authors themselves read their works but, as you point out, this is an issue when listening to a classic! The voice is so important for an audiobook and I’ve enjoyed some audiobooks because of the way it’s read (and I don’t think I would have liked the book as much if Ihad read it; the performance added something).

  15. I can’t listen to a book on tape (or cd, or Walkman) – guess I’m a visual learner – hearing a novel doesn’t work for me. But if it did, I’d be right out there walking with you. But not Proust. Wow. Impressed!

  16. Oh, my dear friend! We are on opposites sides of the continent but we are walking the same pathway. I’m currently walking/reading “The Lady In Gold: The extraordinary Tale of Gustav Klimt’s Masterpiece, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer.” I know that there is a movie, but I really like walking with Adele Bloch-Bauer.

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