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1. Swann's Way (volume 1 of Remembrance
2. Swann's Way (Dodo Press)
3. Remembrance of Things Past: Volume
4. In Search of Lost Time: Proust
5. Marcel Proust's Search for Lost
6. Swann's Way (Remembrance of Things
7. The Captive & The Fugitive:
8. The Complete Short Stories of
9. Marcel Proust: A Life (Penguin
10. In Search of Lost Time, Vol. II:
11. The Captive
12. Marcel Proust: Selected Letters
13. How Proust Can Change Your Life
14. The Guermantes Way: In Search
15. In Search of Lost Time: Vol 1
16. Autour de la recherche, lettres
17. The 14-Minute Marcel Proust: A
18. In the Shadow of Young Girls in
19. Marcel Proust: A Life
20. Dining with Marcel Proust: A Practical

1. Swann's Way (volume 1 of Remembrance of Things Past), improved 8/15/2010
by Marcel Proust
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-06-21)
list price: US$0.99
Asin: B002EAZ2Y8
Average Customer Review: 1.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
The classic novel in English translation. According to Wikipedia: "Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust(10 July 1871 – 18 November 1922) was a French novelist, essayist, and critic, best known as the author of À la recherche du temps perdu (in English, In Search of Lost Time; earlier translated as Remembrance of Things Past), a monumental work of twentieth-century fiction published in seven parts from 1913 to 1927... Begun in 1909, À la recherche du temps perdu consists of seven volumes spanning some 3,200 pages and teeming with more than 2,000 literary characters. Graham Greene called Proust the "greatest novelist of the 20th century", and W. Somerset Maugham called the novel the "greatest fiction to date." Proust died before he was able to complete his revision of the drafts and proofs of the final volumes, the last three of which were published posthumously and edited by his brother, Robert." ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

1-0 out of 5 stars They're selling the wrong edition!!!
I'm quite disappointed with Amazon! I chose this paid version instead of the free one because I thought it was Lydia Davis' translation. In fact, it's linked to her Penguin Books edition, but it's not! It's the old, not as good, translation. I'm quite disappointed and feeling cheated by Amazon!

2-0 out of 5 stars rating applies only to quality of the eBook
If you want to read Swann's Way and don't have the actual book, then DO NOT bother with *THIS* Kindle edition (the freebie). Instead, you might as well "splurge" on a $0.99 professionally created edition so that you'll get to read the real thing.

1) All accented letters are converted as question marks.
2) Indented text such as block quotes or lines of poetry were entirely dropped. Without the real book to compare, the blanks would've been inexplicable, annoying gaps in the narrative.

That's enough to make this freebie worth less than i paid for it.

I do find this edition useful as a companion to the actual book.

1-0 out of 5 stars Sample before buying or you may be disappointed
I have already downloaded the $0.99 Kindle version of Swann's Way and the free version. Fortunately, I sampled this version and was able to delete it for no charge. Where can I get the Lydia Davis translation for my Kindle?

It's completely false advertizing for you to sell the Davis translation and then make people download the much older Montcrief translation.Get it together Amazon!

1-0 out of 5 stars Kindle Bait and Switch
I am a great admirer of the Kindle device, having bought both v. 1 and v.2 immediately upon their introduction.

Unfortunately, though the device may earn 5 stars, Amazon's book marketing doesn't rate 1 star -- especially with regard to translated and out-of-copyright classics.

This book is a case in point.If one goes to the (hardcopy) book page in Amazon for the superb Lydia Davis translation, v. 1 in the Penguin series, one is offered a one-click link implying that the book can be ordered instantly for one's Kindle.Try it, though, and you'll find (as noted by the earlier reviewer) that you get not the Davis Penguin version, but rather a very different translation.

This is simply dishonest, and beneath Amazon.Amazon would never dream of sending to a hardcopy shopper ordering the Davis translation the one that is offered via Kindle.Why, then, try to fob off something like this to Kindle shoppers as though it were the Davis translation?

Readers are not stupid, and these types of shenannigans are no way to develop Kindle reader loyalty.

This needs to stop, now.

... Read more

2. Swann's Way (Dodo Press)
by Marcel Proust
Paperback: 424 Pages (2008-02-22)
list price: US$30.99 -- used & new: US$21.33
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1406567779
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust (1871- 1922) was a French novelist, essayist and critic, best known as the author of A la Recherche du Temps Perdu (in English, In Search of Lost Time; earlier translated as Remembrance of Things Past), a monumental work of twentieth-century fiction published in seven parts from 1913 to 1927. As a young man, Proust was a dilettante and a social climber, whose aspirations as a writer were hampered by his lack of application. His reputation from this period, as a snob and an amateur, contributed to his later troubles with getting Swann's Way, the first part of his large-scale novel, published in 1913. Proust was involved in writing and publishing from an early age. From 1890-91 Proust published a regular society column in the journal Le Mensuel. In 1892 he was involved in founding a literary review called Le Banquet, and throughout the next several years Proust published small pieces regularly in this journal and in the prestigious La Revue Blanche. Amongst his other works is The Captive (1929). ... Read more

Customer Reviews (79)

5-0 out of 5 stars The onus to unearth Proust's literary panache is on the reader (all details here)
First, I feel that it's imperative to identify the express edition which I'm reviewing as Amazon has a proclivity for assigning every review to every edition: The 1992 Modern Library hardcover of "Swann's Way," by Marcel Proust, translated from the original French by C.K. Moncrieff and Terrence Kilmartin (1981), and revised (1992) by D.J. Enright. Having completed my reading of the book I can say outright that this particular translation fully met and exceeded my expectations in terms of both quality and fluid reading.

The full and proper title here, "In Search of Lost Time, Volume I, Swann's Way," informs us that this initial entry is simply the first episode of a larger work which consists of multiple volumes, one of the longest novels ever written. If you go with the Modern Library series there are a total of six volumes which encompass the novel in its entirety: "Swann's Way"; "Within A Budding Grove"; "The Guermantes Way"; "Sodom and Gomorrah"; "The Captive -- The Fugitive", and; "Time Regained, (and A Guide to Proust)".

THE STORY: [I have made every reasonable effort here to render the general premise of the story with a particular eye to avoiding any major spoilers.] A young boy is raised in the fictional hamlet of Combray, (the real town is now named Illiers-Combray, clearly in celebration of Proust's novel), two hours southwest of Paris, in a bourgeois household along with his parents and extended family members. They are an eclectic lot. This young boy becomes the readers' anonymous narrator and protagonist, but he remains unknown to us only in name as he robustly informs us of his every act and thought.

The boy endures a heavily sheltered existence although his parents' purpose in effecting his containment, a virtual strangulation of the boy's soul, is more for their own convenience than for any perceived benefit to their son. Thus deprived of any practical day-to-day knowledge outside his narrow social and cultural sphere, our narrator regularly observes and reports specific events, a fact which often serves to embarrass his family, ergo: comments regarding his great uncle's young mistress which immediately leads to the subsequent shunning of this old curmudgeon's presence from the family fold. (And, of course, this episode represents an exemplary and classic illustration of Proust's uniquely subtle brand of humor.)

As the boy grows, he is permitted just a few freedoms such as taking walks through the community with family members and servants. One of these paths is referred to as "Swann's Way," a foot route which passes the estate of M. Charles Swann, an amiable and artistically learned aristocrat. Swann interacts with the boy from time to time at dinner parties sponsored by the boy's parents.

One other family member, a noxious and eternally complaining old great-aunt by the name of Mme. Léonie Octave, is widely feared and dreaded by her own clan. Her dissolute commentary about others affords a dubious foundation for much of the boy's perspective on visitors to his home and on society in general. But all this does not diminish the boy's zealous enthusiasm for that which he encounters outside the home as well as what he surreptitiously reads in period fiction.

The first of the book's three chapters concludes with the boy's hope of future travel and of expanding his clearly limited social skills -- he expresses himself only with great difficulty.

The bulk of the story, the second chapter which moves the scene north to Paris, is devoted to M. Swann's obsessive and bizarre pursuit of one Odette de Crécy, a concupiscent gal of the working class and who is adorned with a third-rate mind. Her personal appearance, an aspect which bears a marked resemblance to an ancient portrait which graces one wall of the Sistine Chapel (according to M. Swann), rapidly diminishes in direct proportion with her self-indulgent and hedonistic lifestyle as she ravenously consumes the fruits of Swann's fertilely-funded trees, thus indulging her abundant caprices at will. Swann revisits his venerated Italian tempera image vicariously through his puerile gazing at Odette. She strings M. Swann along, (albeit not too cleverly), limiting his access to her, and he desires her ever more with the coming of each day. Swann's passion is entirely unrequited. But he is hardly less at fault in the chaotic affair. His attentions on Odette personify an idiosyncratic dichotomy of worldly erudition tenoned with the naïveté of an immature adolescent.

Reports of strings of Odette-lovers, both male and female, flow endlessly to M. Swann but due to his inexperience in courting he is ill-equipped to deal with her frivolous maltreatment of him. He fulminates over her endless lies and improprieties and he periodically voices his worst suspicions to her - she remains frustratingly evasive during his inept interrogations. The only reason she continues to see him at all rests entirely with her own mercenary materialism and thus her frequent need to have her many debts swept away by the accommodating M. Swann. As the relationship develops, M. Swann's opinion of Odette sinks to the lowest possible levels; however, his desire to retain and control her manifests as nothing short of an absurd and injudicious mania.

In the finale of the work, we return to the narrator, now a teenager in Paris with his family, who himself becomes enamored with a striking young lady by the name of Gilberte. She strings our protagonist along to some extent but not so mendaciously as Odette has done in the case of M. Swann. The young man then attempts to square his yearning for Gilberte with other fresh opportunities, (now afforded by his parents), to travel and thus realize a chance to fulfill those particular long-standing desires.

At this juncture one can rightly say that Volume One, "Swann's Way," stands on its own; but readers will undoubtedly feel the inspired urge to move forward into the next entry, as many questions and anticipations remain unanswered at this point.

The consumption of Marcel Proust's (1871-1922) literature is really not companionable with the atmosphere of the typical waiting room of a busy dentist's office. This is mood literature to be sure and a significant level of concentration is required of readers if they expect to fully appreciate the notable number of literary subtleties with which Proust endlessly bombards us. There are three particular caveats of Proust's writings which tend to challenge readers:

1. His extensive vocabulary.

2. The employment of lyrically expressive language: Proust's literary images rival the combined artistic impressionism of Monet, Manet, Van Gogh, and Matisse.

3. The exploitation of a daunting writing practice which has universally endured over time as the very bane of blue-haired old English teachers across America: the run-on sentence! Proust's sentences are more often lengthy paragraphs and one's thought train can indeed suffer from a lack of comprehension if apt mental focus is not duly exercised.

Another Proust device arises through his narrator, the young boy whose name remains a mystery throughout this volume. The first chapter, where the boy expresses the intricacies of his youth in First Person delivery is much like that which we would encounter elsewhere in fiction. But in the next chapter which chiefly concerns M. Swann's relationship with Odette, we are forced to wonder (in retrospect) how the narrator can be present inside the mind of this much older man, particularly since various activities ofSwann may have transpired prior to the narrator's birth! The narrator is empowered with, and shares, M. Swann's every contemplation, deliberation, and frustration. This entire section of the book continues in First Person delivery from the boy's viewpoint; however, as difficult as all this may sound, Proust has somehow shrewdly made it simple for the reader to accept both the textual commentary and dialogue at their face value.

In the third and final chapter, we return to a more traditional direct, (continuing along in First Person), disclosure where the narrator personally interacts with others.

Proust was a fervent devotee of a literary predecessor, Anatole France (1844-1924), (as I am myself). Proust's crafty brand of humor was clearly influenced by the renowned author of works such as Anatole France- A Mummer's Tale.; but France's writing technique was much more straightforward and unpretentious than that of Proust. The latter author has taken on a much more challenging approach to fiction writing and has artfully served it up to his readers in a worthy and palatable, if sometimes intricate, end-product. Here's an example, a humorous and clever extraction from page 207:

"`...He may be sure it isn't music that she's teaching his daughter.' But M. Venteuil assured them that it was, and indeed it is remarkable how people never fail to arouse admiration for their moral qualities in the relatives of those with whom they are having carnal relations."

In summary, I was much gratified having read this distinctive hallmark of European literature although it stands in stark contrast with the simplicity of Leo Tolstoy, or the conspicuous frankness of James Joyce. I can unabashedly recommend it to any enthusiast of classic literature. I should also mention that there is yet another fairly recent translation of this inspired work which has been remarked by many as a preferable choice (a notably thinner volume): Swann's Way: In Search of Lost Time, Vol. 1 (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition).

5-0 out of 5 stars Do it! You know you want to. You've been waiting, wondering. Read it! Read it all!
Proust lulls you to sleep and then strikes you with lightning. If you make it to page 150, you're a fan for life. So many characters to fall in love with.

4-0 out of 5 stars The best of literature, but also exasperating
Proust's Swann's Way is exasperating.He really needed an editor.There are so many passages that I have marked that are amazing but then you get to 100 page stretches that are so detailed, repetitious and boring about characters I don't even like.I only have 100 pages to go so maybe I should have waited before writing this review, but I have read over 500 pages and am about to burst.I find the enormously long sentences to be comprehensible. As a mental exercise it is not to be beat! I like that aspect. There are sentences that are so exquisite that I want to remember how to find them for the rest of my life.I suppose the translators have to be thanked also.But the narrator starts out as infantile about his love for his mother then describes Swann's love, that is at best adolescent and excruciatingly immature.Maybe when I was in my 20's I was that messed up but I don't like to remember it and surely I know I did not put up with what Swann did.Where is his sense of pride!?But there must be some reason that I keep reading.I suppose as a detailed description of psychological truth it is unflinching, or at least the truth that this squirt of an over-intellectual, over-wrought little Frenchman could understand it.He sure has a negative understanding of what love is.Maybe it hurts to discover that I often agree with him.Reading Proust is like goldmining.It takes a lot of work but there are observations about life, love, aesthetics and intellectual matters that make the hard work worth while.

4-0 out of 5 stars I really had mixed emotions on this novel
Note that this review is for the audio book version of this novel.I will first give my impressions of the audio book and then give my feelings on the novel itself.

The audio book experience was very positive.The narrator was John Rowe who sounded just like an older gentleman reflecting on his early childhood.It fitted the story well, at least when I finally figured out it was supposed to be an old man.At first I thought it odd that they were using an old man to speak for a child; but then realized that was the way it was supposed to be.The translation is the one done by C.K. Scott Moncrieff, who was the original English translator.I found the translation very beautiful and easy to follow.I would rate the audio portion 5 stars.

As for the novel itself; I had mixed feelings.To give a background on myself; I am an engineer (that may explain right there to many people my feelings on the book), and have been listening to many of the great works of literature on my commute for the past few years.I had noticed this book on almost every list of great books I had seen and decided to give it a try.This is the first book by Proust that I have read.

I found the language beautiful and very descriptive.I felt like I was getting into the head of a very artistic person and saw many things from a point of view that I have never experienced myself.The two biggest problems I had with this novel are first, I never connected with the characters and second, I didn't learn anything that I felt was useful.When reading literature I am almost always able to expand my horizons and see the other side of great issues, or to understand why people do things I don't approve of.None of these things happened to me.

Bottom line; I can see why this is considered great writing, but it didn't click for me.

5-0 out of 5 stars superb ebook
In Search of Lost Time, Volume 1: Swann's Way by Marcel Proust

A beautiful work on human consciousness. This edition is splendidlytranslated from the French. ... Read more

3. Remembrance of Things Past: Volume I - Swann's Way & Within a Budding Grove (Vintage)
by Marcel Proust
Paperback: 1056 Pages (1982-08-12)
list price: US$23.00 -- used & new: US$10.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0394711823
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description
One of the great works of Western literature, now in the new definitive French Pleiade edition translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin. Volume one includes SWANN'S WAY and WITHIN A BUDDING GROVE. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (5)

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent
Commenting on Remembrance of Things Past as a whole.

It's awesome, complex and highly engaging literature that has a lot of substance to say about the modern world. It bears the impact of its time but it is by no means dated, and the chief insights it delivers are readily applicable to conemporary times. A lot of classics struggle to find a main relevance to later reading, seemingly either overly constrained to the factors that made them initially popular or such that it's puzzling why they took on great success in the first place. Proust doesn't have these issues, and it was apparent fairly early on in the reading what made it worth taking seriously as great literature and, even more pressingly, produced an engaging text.

As a novel it's about a lot of things, bringing in attention and a lot of insight into class, sexuality, anti-Semitism, literature, death, politics, nationalism and modernity. Beyond all these, what drives the book is the exploration of memory, reflection on previous events and the way they are recalled. In a large sense the protagonist isn't so much the main character as an individual but rather the memories of that person and the way they play themselves out. It's here that the immense length of the account works as a virtue rather than a flaw, providing a real sense of scale in depicting the mental relation to externality. It's a very wide ranging account and provides a real feeling into the experience of decades, offering a work highly condesnsed yet feeling solid enough in its arching over a whole lifetime. For lare segments this recollection seems to be hijacked by the biography of other people the protagonist encounters, giving substantive detail on their own ambitions, successes and failure. The extensive focus in on Swann in the first volume of the work is probably the most extensive embodiment of this theme, and by reports it's this aspect and volume that often repulses interest in the book. Yet I don't see this aspect as a main problem, and certainly don't object to the use of the formula of absorbing others' lives in the way I did recently with Auster's Moon Palace. Partly it's because the focus doesn't get as thoroughly sidetracked away into other people and incidents. While a lot of attention gets devoted, especially early on, to following the lives of others it's still the protagonist that's following them, giving a central unity and level of nuance to the recollection that binds it together. Partly the format works better, seeming more natural in the way it intersects with what happens to others over an extended period. Finally it also works better for this specific protagonist as exprssed in the book. Ultimately he's a pretty passive person, and it works that his attention moves from his own life for sizable periods. It doesn't ultimately diminish the interest in seeing his memories play out over his own experiences,a dn the fact that the novel is not insular on just his private experiences works to build the main sense of scale. There's a way that this book primarily focused on society meetings, refined parties and aristocratic conversations is epic, and in certain ways passes even a high fantasy, intricate piece of worldbuilding like Lord of the Rings. The novel gives, even relative to length, a very great feeling of range, pushing into the way that an array of different people form and contest community.

A main aspect of the depiction of memory is how awkward it is, the way it works amongst a certain necessary void in the core of most people. The mental representation of the past is never in full accurate relation to the events as they happened. This imbalance is a truism, but it's expressed with great literary force and grace by Proust. It's substantive in itself that the book centers on a subtle margins-bound essence of human consciousness. It's doubly impressive that the narrative works this theme into the process of recollecting so effectively. There's the basic element of showing rather than telling writ large here--while there are a number of direct passages reflecting on the nature of memory and the insubstantial descriptive quality of thinking about others, such musings are never autonomous assertions of definitive claims. They are always elements bound within the process of memory, reflections that by their very self-declared claims are rendered ambigious. Moreover the notion of the impossibility of fully relating to others because of the warping of the past through personal consciousness is fundamental to the course of events in the novel. If people can't maintain firm lines of continuity along their own lives--and the novel shows graphically how they can't--then understanding another person beyond the part of oneself that is projected into them becomes doubly problematic. Yet it's a quest people are continually compelled towards, the ultimately hopeless effort to overocome the barriers placed by their own perception, recollection and intuitive reformation of events. It's a tension that frames much of the internal disconnect within the people of Remembrance of Things Past. The most direct manifestation occurs in extended romantic relationships of which the other partner is revealed to have been a serial adulterer, which causes a tortured re-examination of the remembered incidents. The same general pattern occurs even more gradually in the movement from childhood to adulthood, and then eventually to old age, and the way this alters the whole pattern of relating to society and family. The genius of Proust isn't just in using extraordinary literary skill in the depiction of remembered sentiment but in how he approaches that not as a static atmosphere to be depicted but as something fluid and continually reconstructed.

Sexuality develops as one of the leading 'secondary motifs' of the novel, rendered variously with intensity, in general reflections, in personalized encounters, as humor and as tragedy. This element was one of the most famous and controversial things when the book first appeared, and even now there's a frankness and honesty to the representation of bodies and their encounter that stands out. The appealing part of this representation lies largely in how varied it is, how its shown to have wide-ranging modes and facets among different individuals and within a single lifespan. Sex for pay, for romance, for sheer eroticization, sex proscribed by society and illicit, sex in a relationship, outside of it or in violation of it. There's even an extended assessment of homosexuality both male and female, the later of which it is rather surprising to find acknowledged in a text of the early twentieth century. The way it's rendered as something integral to consciousness and behavioral life but occuring in varied states builds up the complexity of the work. In single motifs, perhaps the most striking cases are those that show a pattern of awkwardness in relation of sexuality to larger life, from the faintly comical effort to transition into and out of an erotic interlude in the larger mundane day to the wider hypocrisy of society's prurient gossip on mattters of sex. Most tragically it emerges as another angle of the central disconnect between people that develops in some degree or other for everyone in the novel. Here it functions as both metaphor and actuality, in the way bodies can be in the most direct contact possible yet the bounded selves are ineffable distances apart.

Class is a heavily mined and heavily featured element. A large part of the direct action involves the social life of the French aristocracy and upper bourgeoise, in the habitual actions by which it constitutes itself as a group. Lifecycle events of members, general parties, rampant gossip and petty intrigue and an effort to police its boundaries by admitting or excluding others. It's not a pretty picture that emerges, and the slow playing out of snobbery, destructive obsession, judgement and tangled morals is more damning than any direct satire would have been. It's consistently entertaining however, largely because the range of rhetoric on display is ultimately very amusing and often pretty to witness. As with The Picture of Dorian Gray, the way aristocratic judgements express themselves are generally appaling but still highly fun to watch, and not just in a context of rooting for the participants downfall.

Anti-semitism plays a major role in the book, far more than I had expecting. Given the context of its writing it wasn't surprising to find the Dreyfus affair featured, but the larger social engagement with the situation are explored at great detail. Here the representations of the aristocracy dovetail closely with specific politics and general efforts to build nationalism. The spurious treason charges against one Jew becomes a general paranoia of the Jews as a definable element, and from there an effort to define French identity through racial categories and enforced sentiment of loyalty. The text is really scathing on the general anti-Dreffussard and anti-semitic views circulating in the aristocracy, about how petty murky judgements connect to grandiose assertion of patriotism on the backs of self-inflated ignorance.

Another major focus involves death, and the way it's built up to and experienced after through morning. This motif isn't as consistently focused on as some of the others, but it's very prominent for some key sections. The main insight I take on this element is the juxtaposition between individual reactions and the standard soceital model that's given as approrpriate, and how awkward it can be to contextualize the loss of a loved one in the long-term, after the point where the immediate scripts apply.

The novel doesn't express its main elements through a plot, in the conventional sense of the word. The layout of the story all technically occurs as a flashback from a later time, and the links between main specific moments is provided by the momentum of time's passage rather than a strict relation of drama and action. This overall format lends itself to a far more engrossing work than might be imagined, one that is almost never dull by sheer force of Proust's skill at chracterization, subtlety of theme and raw writing ability. If there's one issue I had it's that the sheer size of the secondary cast becomes a bit unmanagable at points, some of the less consistently appearing characters being hard to distinguish when they pop up again. Nevertheless, on the whole it manages with manifest excellence in small issues and large. This is one three thousand page literary classic I'm glad I read, and I'd say it both merits the length and is not overrated. Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Proust and Moncrieff
Yes, Proust is difficult and, yes, he's worth the effort.However, very little is said of the Moncrieff translation.It's simply gorgeous.Compare his title, "Remembrance of Things Past," with "In Search of Lost Time."The first is poetry, the second the title of a History Channel program.
Buy the Moncrieff translation.

5-0 out of 5 stars my favorite book
so i was a berkeley english major who needed a class....i just happend to wander into a course on Proust.

it is my favorite book.

it is not light reading, it is for those who want to expericence one of the great novels in the cannon.

I ended up reading the first three volumes.
Swans way left me with satisfation. It is a senory trip in which insecurities and obession exsist without judment. It deals with much of the human psyche in all its forms.

As a lower income Latino male i could still find the univerals truths that bond me to other works that are outside of my personal experience.

It is a work that exsist outside of time, in constant senory experience.

Read it... then reread it.

5-0 out of 5 stars Learning to swim-- my first Proust reading experience
Some time ago, I received the Vintage three-volume box set version of Remembrance as a gift. I had rashly mentioned to a friend that I wanted to read Proust and he took me at my word-- the heavy set arriving by mail and scaring me half to death. It took me a long time to get around to reading it, but I finally summoned up my courage and took down the first volume.

I have many thoughts on the books, and the experience of reading them was not always easy. I will summarize, however, by saying that I believe that I was amply rewarded for making the time and space free to tackle this piece.

It took me quite a while to let myself get into the prose. Although I found it immediately beautiful, haunting even, I struggled over the long complex sentences and the unusual structure. The only advice that I can give to the potential first-time reader is to stop trying to catch everything and let yourself swim along. Eventually if you stop fighting the structure, it really starts to work and you are drawn along with it to the point where you no longer experience it as difficult.

Where is the reward for the reader? There is a passage in the book where Proust is discussing how time flows in any given life. He argues that in order to capture time passing, the novelist generally is given to "wildly accelerating the beat of the pendulum, to transport the reader in a couple of minutes over ten, or twenty, or even thirty years."What I found the most amazing on my first reading of Swann's Way and Within a Budding Grove was that remarkable sense of time in life that Proust is able to portray. He uses more than the wild leaps and jumps that he attributes to his generic novelist. He condenses time, extends it, shortens it and rearranges it. The array of memories along this life is beautiful, and the more beautiful for being so clearly anchored in a particular place in the life of the characters. I am not sure where he is going with all these people-- I will need to read the other books to find out. Still, I was actually content with these two books as a separate reading experience for this element of time passing alone.

I think that on balance if I had bought these books for myself, I would have chosen the Lydia Davis translation. This is based on conversations with friends who were reading the Davis translation at the same time that I was reading this edition. It sounds as though it is fresher, and more readable. However, I found this edition much more accessible than I had feared. Either the Montcrief edition has much less gingerbread prose than generally held, or Kilmarten really did a remarkable job of smoothing it out. I needed to arm myself with a dictionary while reading, since the two of them used some very obscure and/or archaic vocabulary. Although this was occasionally annoying, there were also times when I felt as though less specificity would have hurt the images that were being described.

Recommended, but not lightly.

5-0 out of 5 stars A String of Pearls fit for a Select Few
It is a travesty that anyone could claim to find this masterpiece "boring." Proust's novel belongs in that select pantheon of books that truly deserved to be called Classics. A finer study of human nature(amongst other things) one will not find anywhere. ... Read more

4. In Search of Lost Time: Proust 6-pack (Proust Complete)
by Marcel Proust
Paperback: 4211 Pages (2003-06-03)
list price: US$95.90 -- used & new: US$58.72
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0812969642
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
For this authoritative English-language edition, D. J. Enright has revised the late Terence Kilmartin’s acclaimed reworking of C. K. Scott Moncrieff’s translation to take into account the new definitive French editions of À la recherche du temps perdu (the final volume of these new editions was published by the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade in 1989). ... Read more

Customer Reviews (24)

5-0 out of 5 stars Amazing
I was fortunate enough to do an entire semester on Proust's 7 volume work. And it wasn't enough time. Without it, I probably never would have bought the books, much less read every single word. But I did, and it was amazing. The books are in storage right now and I find that I wish I could pull the volumes back out and start again, reading more slowly and thoughtfully.

I had no idea how many writers refer to bits of Proust until I read it, and now I see so many references to this incredible work. If you love literature, you must read this.

5-0 out of 5 stars For Amateur Literati
This is a review by an amateur reader for amateur literati.I'm 71. I am not taking a college literature class (although I am college educated and have an M. D. degree, if that means anything); I'm not a professor, and I don't hang out in book clubs. Lately, after years of laziness and negligence, I've at last read about 50 "important" books to catch up on what I have missed, and, notably for me, at last, after fear of commitment, have recently finished Proust's magnum opus to see what the fuss was all about. I read it straight through over a 9 month period, in parcels of minutes to hours, usually in the quiet time before retiring. In an effort to give my straight unbiased comments I have not read any the reviews here.

The Modern Library 6 book cased edition by translators Moncrieff, Kilmartin, and Enright, turned out to be more than good; it was a delightful, easy style, not obscure or convoluted; you readily could appreciate Proust's incredibly detailed yet smooth, almost poetic style, with his superb attention to psychological detail in how one thinks, feels and reacts to events and memory. I will not go much into the plot or the literary stature of the book as I am sure it has all been covered elsewhere quite capably. I will say the main theme is the close critical observation of the social life of the era, the pretensions of the very rich and the competing social climbers, and more significantly, the conveying of one's life to such an extent that it almost takes over your own; you may well be lured into taking one reality for the other.

Did I get everything out of the book I could have? No. Why? Well, when you start, you don't know what is significant, which characters are going to be important later on, what is the importance of a certain view, a particular impression, a flower, a scene, a smell, a remembrance which will later be elaborated on by another remembrance. There are supposedly about 2000 characters, and the 3500 pages, or so. The characters may have strange names or similar names (Villeparisis, Verdurin, Vinteuil); they may change their names (Mme Guermantes aka Oriane then v Princess Guermantes now as taken over by Mme Verdurin). M. Guermantes is Basin. Charlus is Meme, and Palamede. If you have trouble with remembering names this tangled multi-personed story may not be for you.

When you get into the later volumes will you remember everything that went on in the earlier volumes? Will you remember all the names? Checking the synopsis and the alphabetical listing of characters and persons and places and themes in the Modern Library indices will help you along; but these sometimes are not too clarifying -- they mostly list the bare events and brief definitions, not analysis in depth.

For adjunctive help I suggest two books *about* the book, unless you just want to read it raw --a sensible procedure since, after all, a renowned author should be able to write clearly, better than anyone else. If otherwise, first I recommend a tiny well-illustrated booklet, "Marcel Proust" by Mary Ann Caws, 2005, a short biography with dozens of photos, color illustrations, thumbnails of paintings and a few snippets of music scores; this is a fetching companion which puts a little meat on the bones of the novel. For example, you get to see the famous Vermeer with the "little patch of yellow wall." There are photos of many of the characters in Proust's world: Colette; Sarah Berhardt, Count Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (I love that tongue twister. Curious?)

The second helper is "Marcel Proust's Search for Lost Time - A Reader's Guide to The Remembrance of Things Past" by Patrick Alexander a 385 paperback that gives an extended summary (beyond what's in the backs of the novel itself) and a guide to the main characters, plus good references and bits about Paris, France and the author's life.

Take a deep breath and plunge into it unaided and see how it fits together at the end, when everyone is old and the story gels. If you followed everything, great! If there is a struggle, try the assistants. If you are puzzled, you get to read it again!

1-0 out of 5 stars Chronic Typographical Constipation
Some time ago after being bamboozled, like so many others, into believing that Proust's monstrous production was actually worth reading, I foolishly ordered a copy. It wasn't long after opening it, however, before I began to regret my decision.

For what exactly do we encounter on entering Proust's nightmare world? Is it not true that we are confronted with a sickly and neurasthenic scribbler obsessing compulsively in a sprawling autobiographical novel about a class of decadent, degenerate, and thoroughly worthless parasites, the Parisian elite of his day?

And we are actually supposed to take an interest in this rabble of reprehensible rotters? this crew of contemptible cads? this unsavory bunch of buffoons?

And not only that but, to add insult to injury, this miserable wretch of a writer has had the audacity to maunder on for over 4000 pages in the most excruciatingly constipated prose, a prose made up of sentences that seem never to end piled upon each other in a confused mass of grotesquely bloated paragraphs, a prose which provides no relief at all to the unfortunate reader since it consists exclusively of SOLID BLOCKS OF UNBROKEN TEXT!

And to make matters even worse I note that many reviewers here, while openly acknowledging Proust's admittedly appalling style, have themselves been tragically infected by it since a glance at their reviews confirms that they too are suffering from the same derangement that afflicted Proust, an affliction I have ventured to dub 'Chronic Typographical Constipation'.

This dangerous mental disorder is characterized by an uncontrollable impulse to violently assault the reader with SOLID BLOCKS OF UNBROKEN TEXT and, since no great name rises in the world without creating a crowd of little mimics who hope to glitter in borrowed rays, it has spawned a riot of reviews that are even more difficult to read than Proust's tortured prose itself!

[For those who may be interested, my monograph on this malady has been submitted to 'The Unscientific Englishman' and will appear in the pages of that illustrious journal in due course.]

Friends! We write in hopes of being read, and common sense ought to tell us that SOLID BLOCKS OF UNBROKEN TEXT will more often than not go unread because they are just too hard on the eyes and almost as difficult to read as words would be if they too were strung together without breaks.

Quite apart from any consideration of M. Proust, has it never occurred to his reviewers that phalanx-like SOLID BLOCKS OF UNBROKEN TEXT are too formidable in aspect and, rather than attracting potential readers, will instead serve to repel them?

But fear not, dear friends, for the tragical malady with which so many of you are afflicted, far from being incurable, is amazingly easy to cure and won't, as you may have begun to fear, require that you make an appointment to see a shrink. All you need do is get into the habit of breaking up your text into easily masticated bits as I have done here!

Having chopped up your indigestible chunk of text into bite-size pieces, you will have favored readers by showing some consideration for their eyes. They, in turn, I feel sure, will then favor you by clicking HELPFUL on the RATING button at the end of your reviews a bit more often than they seem currently to be doing.

After all, how can one find a review HELPFUL, or award 5 STARS to a book, if the writer has set such difficulties in our way that it becomes just too daunting a task to read it?

5-0 out of 5 stars The Best English Translation of Proust
Forget all those other translations of "A la recherche du temps perdu" that have appeared in recent years. The classic Moncrieff translation in this Modern Library "six-pack" edition--as revised in accordance with the definitive French edition--is the only Proust any English-language reader will ever need. C.K. Scott Moncrieff's English translation is so good, in fact, that it deserves to be considered a classic of ENGLISH literature. This is one of the most beautiful books you will ever read. Guaranteed. Check it out.

5-0 out of 5 stars The best novel (book) ever written
I am just about to begin a re-reading of this enormously interesting novel. I've read it before, but memory fades.And, this time, I want to try reading it in French (with a crib by my side!)

Lots of people have complimented Proust on his style, or his narrative technique, or whatever.

The answer to those critics stands in the novel itself.It is incredibly obvious --- it's right there in plain language.Proust is discussing the familiar topic of a famous author and his imitators.What he says is truly, truly memorable: all the imitators had grasped his style, and imitated it, but what none of them had noticed was that the author they were trying to imitate had a singular capacity to tell the truth.That was something they could not imitate.

Whether you want to call it "Remembrance of Things Past" -- or "In Search of Lost Time"-- whatever.The point for me is simple.In spite of Proust's crazy jealousy-complex, this magnificent work simply contains more TRUE SENTENCES than anything else I have ever read.

Yes, you read me correctly, more TRUE SENTENCES.Many more than can be found in Plato or Aristotle or Freud or the Catholic Church.

People may start catching on to this! ... Read more

5. Marcel Proust's Search for Lost Time: A Reader's Guide to The Remembrance of Things Past
by Patrick Alexander
Paperback: 400 Pages (2009-09-22)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$9.21
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307472329
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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An accessible, irreverent guide to one of the most admired—and entertaining—novels of the past century. There is no other guide like this; a user-friendly and enticing entry into the marvelously enjoyable world of Proust.

At seven volumes, three thousand pages, and more than four hundred characters, as well as a towering reputation as a literary classic, Proust’s novel can seem daunting. But though begun a century ago, in 1909, it is in fact as engaging and relevant to our times as ever. Patrick Alexander is passionate about Proust’s genius and appeal—he calls the work “outrageously bawdy and extremely funny”—and in his guide he makes it more accessible to the general reader through detailed plot summaries, historical and cultural background, a guide to the fifty most important characters, maps, family trees, illustrations, and a brief biography of Proust. Essential for readers and book groups currently reading Proust and who want help keeping track of the huge cast and intricate plot, this Reader’s Guide is also a wonderful introduction for students and new readers and a memory-refresher for long-time fans. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

4-0 out of 5 stars Basic Guide That Could be Improved
First, this is a decent summary of the plot and the characters.It could have been improved by providing a time line (which others have created based upon the dates of historical events that occur in the work)of M's age during the various novels.Second, there is at least one factual error.On page 44 it describes Berma as an opera singer yet as an actress in the list of characters.The novel makes it clear she is NOT a singer, but indeed an actress.Of course, the plot summary is written by Mr. Alexander from his point of view and one must always be ready to question his comments.Overall a helpful tool in working ones way through Proust's enormous work.

5-0 out of 5 stars Good summary
I enjoyed Swann's Way but wasn't up to finishing the rest of the 3000 pages of In Search of Lost Time. This book gave a good summary of the plot and main characters of the entire story. It is clear that many of pieces of the whole story don't come together until you get to some of the later volumes. While certainly not a substitute for reading Proust, I no longer feel that I'm totally in the dark regarding one of the major works of 20th century fiction. If you have the time, by all means read Proust. But if you have a life outside of sitting in a hotel room and philosophizing, this book is an excellent and less time consuming alternative.

3-0 out of 5 stars critical error update
In January I noted the error on page 44 of the paperback edition, which identifies Berma as a singer.This error will be corrected in subsequent editions.I would further recommend that the distinction between Opera, the building in Paris, and "opera" as a musical genre be clarified.As it stands, the sentence I cited on p. 44 is misleading, as is the sentence, also on p. 44: "Marcel's father only allowed him to attend the opera because M. de Norpois, a family friend, suggests it would be a good experience."There are other places in the book (e.g. pp. 218 and 285) that are similarly unclear. Proust capitalizes Opera, the place, in The Guermantes Way, in describing Narrator's second exposure to Berma in Phedre. If I'm not mistaken, Narrator's first experience occurs in a "theater." (Moncrieff/Kilmartin trans.) (The phrase "attending the opera" would never be used, I would think, to describe seeing a play.) I appreciate the research that has gone into this book, and would urge clarification in this area.Below is my original review.

Alexander writes: "Marcel has dreamed for years of attending the opera and of hearing the great singer Berma in one of her famous roles...However, when he is finally allowed to attend the opera, he is disillusioned by the naturalness of Berma and the vulgar insensitivity of the audience." (p. 44 of the paperback edition.)
Berma is an actress, not an opera singer, and the role Marcel sees her in is Phedre, the play by Racine.
A book of this nature, a "reader's guide," must be impeccable in its scholarship.Furthermore, the Berma/Racine section is enormously important in all its detail. This is a major error.

On p. 218, in the "Guide to Main Characters" section, Berma is correctly identified as a famous actress, "most celebrated for her role in Phedre by Racine."The description continues: "From an early age, Marcel's dream of going to the opera in Paris and seeing Berma perform Phedre had been thwarted by his father."The matter is somewhat clarified here, though the description is still ambiguous.The apparent contradiction between the two pages indicates a need for a careful scrutiny of the whole book.

5-0 out of 5 stars A Practical Guide to Proust's Masterpiece
Alexander's guide is a practical roadmap to Proust's masterpiece In Search of Lost Time.Proust is difficult reading, and I appreciate Alexander's no-nonesense approach to deciphering a difficult text.Alexander's Reader's Guide is not simply a plot summary of Proust's novel.Rather, the Guide is loaded with unique literary insights, information on historical context, and other interesting information, all of which enhances the experience of reading Proust's novel.I've read several guides to In Search of Lost Time, and many of them are overly scholarly and obtuse.Such books are undoubtedly useful for literary scholars, but everyday readers (like me) will appreciate Alexander's Reader's Guide more.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars this book has no substitute
Five stars all the way.

For years I have been looking for a "Cliffs Notes" guide to Proust, or something to help me negotiate it.The plot is convoluted, and there are hundreds of characters.But there are none.Cliffs Notes never printed one, Barron's either.Even Sparknotes comes up with nothing. To my astonishment, there are not even (at least as of this writing) any synopses available online, at least not in any detail.It's puzzling.Not even on Wikipedia!(UPDATE:a serviceable summary is available for purchase here:The 14-Minute Marcel Proust: A Very Short Guide to the Greatest Novel Ever Written)

You can tell Alexander's book is a quality product after flipping through it for about 10 seconds.Long lists of characters, abbreviated and extended plot summaries, discussions of themes. etc.It's not a flimsy book, either.At just shy of 400 pages, it's a solid production, in this sense analogous to Stuart Gilbert's guide to "Ulysses": James Joyce's Ulysses, although far more accessible.

It's a labor of love, too.Apparently this guy was a French professor who retired early so that he could work on it.This shows, and I would like to thank that professor if he's reading this.

There's lots of jokes in it, by the way.Not dry at all.

The closest book I know of to this is Proust's Way: A Field Guide to in Search of Lost Time which is okay if you're really getting into Proust.However, I would still recommend this one (Alexander's) over Shattuck's.Shattuck's, while it might seem interchangeable with Alexander's, really isn't.It's more of a collection of essays that explore various aspects of the novel (e.g., "How to Read a Roman-Fleuve," "The Loops of Art," etc.).No, Alexander's is a much more straightforward guide.

One thing I would like the ask the author (Alexander) is this:exactly when are people supposed to read this book?Since it blows the plot and all the surprises, you're probably not supposed to read it before reading Proust himself.After that, is that when you're supposed to read it?If so, the summaries provided are by then unnecessary.If not, then the insights provided will have to be double-checked for yourself on a second go-through.In other words, the way this book was written seems to assume you'll be reading Proust TWICE, with Alexander's volume sandwiched in the middle. ... Read more

6. Swann's Way (Remembrance of Things Past, Volume One)
by Marcel Proust
Paperback: 276 Pages (2009-01-01)
list price: US$9.95 -- used & new: US$8.93
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1420933086
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The first volume of Proust's seven-part novel "In Search of Lost Time," also known as "A Remembrance of Things Past," "Swann's Way" is the auspicious beginning of Proust's most prominent work. A mature, unnamed man recalls the details of his commonplace, idyllic existence as a sensitive and intuitive boy in Combray. For a time, the story is narrated through his younger mind in beautiful, almost dream-like prose. In a subsequent section of the volume, the narrator tells of the excruciating romance of his country neighbor, Monsieur Swann. The narrator reverts to his childhood, where he begins a similarly hopeless infatuation with Swann's little daughter, Gilberte. More than this apparently fragmented narrative, however, is the importance of the themes of memory, time, and art that connect and interweave the man's memories. Considered to be one of the twentieth century's major novels, Proust ultimately portrays the volatility of human life in this sweeping contemplation of reality and time. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (26)

3-0 out of 5 stars Not as good as Moncrieff's translation
I do not think this is the best translation of "Swann's Way." I revere Lydia Davis but the very qualities that make her a great writer of fiction-- her dry humor, her obsessive-compulsive observations, her fussy characters playing out their little existential scenarios on tiny stages -- make her unsuitable, temperamentally and stylistically,for the great symphony of Proust.

5-0 out of 5 stars Meet Marcel.
I had never been properly introduced to the world of Proust, so I was a little intimidated when I bought the book.I read the introduction, and thought I should prepare myself, but just to get a taste of what I would be in for, I started reading the first chapter.Then I never looked back.Despite popular belief, Proust isn't that difficult of a read.In fact, if you take the time to enjoy it, it's not hard to follow at all.

The beauty in Proust is in the details.Yes, he describes things in extreme.But once you've gotten through the details, you'll find an eye-opening philosophical statement, bringing every previous sentence to achieve an unseen potential.

Even though I've never read any other translation of Proust, I would never read a different translation.The words and flow of the novel seem like it would have been written in English.Unfortunately, after the fourth book, this particular series stops due to copyright issues.But I would highly encourage anyone who is remotely interested in reading Proust to grab this off the shelf.It can change your life, and the way you experience nature, people and the scenes around you...if you take the time to let it.

3-0 out of 5 stars I hated it.
I am glad I read this book.I appreciate its importance and influence on literature in general.Some of it was even interesting.

I did not find it a hard read.

I basically hated it.I hated dwelling for 600 pages in Proust's world.

Thank God I've done it and it's over.

5-0 out of 5 stars Let Scott W. whose presence is so imminent and who impeccably dressed perambulates the boulevards of Manhattan enthuse me.
While a discouraged romantic searches for lost time and love in dark alleys, deserted atolls fenced by dead corals, or even in once great cities now stricken with dearth and crime, one seeks ardor in incandescent streets, exotic beaches festooned with sun tanners, and most of all in bustling metropolis haunted by loquacious linguists, with revived optimism. Love is easy to be found in words that touch your very soul, like a pedestrian startled by sudden appearance of an automobile or the waves of the ocean that first tickle your toes and send spasms all the way to your heart.This is Marcel Proust (along with Scott) and his first of six volumes, Swann's Way, I had just described.

Swann's Way is a narration of a young boy, whose name is not yet revealed, of his childhood in Combray, a small district of France.As with most adult men whom in their infancy foster dependence on their mother like tattered blanket that puts them to sleep, the young boy has penchant for his mother giving him a kiss before going to bed.Sweet and innocent, this inevitable habit is once again aroused by accident when in his youth he happens to taste a small bite of madeleine dipped in a cup of tea.However, this time it is not the cake which puts him to sleep rather the euphoric feeling it evokes when he reminisces his upbringing in slumberous town of Combray awakened by his budding adoration for a girl named Gilberte.

If not easily convinced to find love just by looking at this elegantly bound book which already speaks for itself, then let the heart set to palpitate once more, as if walking somberly in hurried city a language is heard so foreign yet personal, spoken sonorously, you imagine delicately calling your name.Thus you are not alone anymore because in order to feel and be felt there has to be someone as beautiful as this book.Whereupon Proust confirms by quoting: "Of all the modes by which love is brought into being, of all the agents which disseminate the holy evil, surely one of the most efficacious is this great gust of agitation which now and then sweeps over us.Then our fate is sealed, and the person whose company we enjoy at the time is the one we will love.It is not even necessary for us to have liked him better than anyone else up to then, or even as much.What is necessary is that our predilection for him should become exclusive.And that condition is fulfilled when, at a moment like this, when we do not have him with us, the quest for the pleasures that his charm gave us is suddenly replaced in us by an anxious need whose object is this person himself, an absurd need which the laws of this world make it impossible to satisfy and difficult to cure; the senseless and painful need to possess him."

3-0 out of 5 stars Mixed feelings-brilliant but overrated
This was my first encounter with Proust.I read Davis' well-written intro and a smattering of other stuff, so I had a basic idea going in as to what Proust set out to do.After 50 or so pages I began to get into the rhythm of Proust's long and meandering sentences; however, not long after I began to tire of the excess somewhat.There *is* a certain momentum in the piling up of each sentence, but often I had to return to the beginning of a sentence, after taking in the digressions, to recall where it started.I don't mind making the effort necessarily but I found it happening too often.

Stylistically, it is quite remarkable.The book is filled with brilliance.I marked many passages that I found revelatory or unique.The language is beautiful (not sure how much of this to attribute to Proust vs Davis).However, it's also self-indulgent and at times self-consciously overwrought.Swann in Love, in particular, I found exhausting and a little tedious.

Now that I'm done, I miss the book in a way, and have had thoughts of continuing with the next volume, but not anytime soon.Too many other great books out there.

ps:Possibly the most beautiful book jacket/cover ever.Like a chocolate confection.Long live the paper book, screw e-readers... ... Read more

7. The Captive & The Fugitive: In Search of Lost Time, Vol. V (Modern Library Classics) (v. 5)
by Marcel Proust
 Paperback: 992 Pages (1999-02-16)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$10.35
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0375753117
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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The Modern Library’s fifth volume of In Search of Lost Time contains both The Captive (1923) and The Fugitive (1925). In The Captive, Proust’s narrator describes living in his mother’s Paris apartment with his lover, Albertine, and subsequently falling out of love with her. In The Fugitive, the narrator loses Albertine forever. Rich with irony, The Captive and The Fugitive inspire meditations on desire, sexual love, music, and the art of introspection.

For this authoritative English-language edition, D. J. Enright has revised the late Terence Kilmartin’s acclaimed reworking of C. K. Scott Moncrieff’s translation to take into account the new definitive French editions of Á la recherché du temps perdu (the final volume of these new editions was published by the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade in 1989). ... Read more

Customer Reviews (16)

5-0 out of 5 stars Whilst tears dampen the dusk, he dessicates the dawn with whimsical gaiety of Sparrows basking in the matutinal glow of spring.
Could it be that, after all the anguish nightfall had hurled upon us we wake up in the morning thinking it is the middle of the day yet it is only the crack of dawn for the sky is already bright, springtide has just begun?Would we then, when midnight sky dispensed its mist on sunflower fields, crow with delight as we feast on fresh seeds of love?

After feeding me with tender prose and sprinkling my solitary woes into tickling fits of laughter, he, like Cyrano de Bergerac of Roxanne, proves to be the mouth watering dessert my fork hitherto I let linger on the table had ever penetrated.Without certainty as to the true identity of the narrator in the past volumes, Marcel finally introduces himself.What brings about this revelation is the ecstacy of once and for all discovering his true love in Albertine.This guileless love regrettably turns into mania when Albertine becomes a captive in his house.He restricts Albertine from meeting her friends thereby the latter webs all sorts of mendacity just so behind his back she is able to frolic with women whom she has the most propensity in getting herself aroused.As the old adage goes "free someone if you must love her", Marcel goes through agonizing pain in setting her free in the hope that one day she comes back to him.He falls in and out of love just like we do.And thanks to the fugitive we liberate to cross pollinate from one flower to another for he produces an exotic kind of bloom we find in our garden on a beautiful day of spring to pick and offer to the person we love afterward.

The Captive and the Fugitive is the penultimate volume of In Search of Lost Time.It is the continuing saga of love and deceit in all forms and the healing that comes later on.M. Proust's unquenchable talent is juxtapose with one's thirst in keeping the mind and the heart adroit; these two human faculties which if left stagnant are subject to irreversible dehydration.

4-0 out of 5 stars and the search goes on...
Building on the previous characters and places, we get an intense view of the conflicted relationship between Marcel and Albertine, along with in depth micro-account of vicious high society salons of the belle epoque, as well as an intimate account of Marcel's reaction to Vinteuil's septet.Marcel is by no means an admirable human being, but as finely observed a person as I can imagine. You have to have read the earlier volumes to appreciate this one.

5-0 out of 5 stars smooth sailing from here on out!
I was committed to reading the all 7 volumes of "Remembrance of Things
Past" once I started, so the difficulty didn't stop me.But what a
pleasant surprise when I got this different translation of volumes 5 & 6!
I'd read the Pleiade editions of the first 4 volumes by C. K. Montcrieff,
and although they were good, it was like walking through loose sand.
But now that I'm reading this different translation, it's a breeze--
it almost feels like I'm reading a trashy Joyce Carol Oates novel, it's
such a page-turner!

So if you've gotten this far, don't stop now:get this translation and
laissez les bon temps rouler!

3-0 out of 5 stars Small font edition
This is not a review of Proust's great novel, or of the excellent translations.It's a comment on the quality of the paperback.I read the first four volumes of this Christopher Prendergast-edited series in the hardcover VIKING USA editions, and they were very nicely done. Acid-free paper, 12-point, readable font. My understanding is that Viking can not produce the final volumes (The Prisoner, The Fugitive, and Finding Time Again) because of US copyright laws.So we are left with these Penguin paperbacks.Cheap paper.The font is small, maybe 10 point.The thin parts of the letters almost disappear. That's all. Not such a pleasure to hold in the hand or to read, either.I was unable to find a hardcover copy of the last volumes used or new, so I went with these.You may have to as well if you want to enjoy this translation as much as I have.

5-0 out of 5 stars Don't stop now
If you've read the first four volumes of the Penguin Modern Classic, Proust's In Search of Lost Time, then don't let the publication restriction in the US stop you from buying the British text versions. Except for minor presentation, they are exactly the same that will be published in the US when the copyrights expire.The only differences (which are hardly a great obstacle to the enjoyment of reading the novel), are the footnotes in back and the original French lyrics which Proust occasionally quotes from in the body of the work -- apparently the British assume we colonial philistines do not know as much French as they do.

The introduction to The Fugitive I found hugely welcome -- British translator Carol Clark is unapologetically direct in summing up for us what the previous 4 volumes have been about -- a long wished for insight as I have been dying to know up to this point whether or not I have been truly getting Proust all along.

The curse and the blessing is that Proust died before he could give the final sign off on these manuscripts before publication.A curse because he most certainly would have removed or resolved many errors, and extended or rewritten many parts which are its weakest sections.A blessing in that, to be sure, there are in this and the next volume several obvious errors which a good copy editor would have detected and eliminated, but with time have become such a part of Proustian lore that they can no more be removed than say Jimmy Durante's nose shortened or Richard Burton's pockmarks removed or Marilyn Manson's makeup wiped clean.

And if one has lasted this long, the addiction to Proust's peregrinations from the plot to discuss seemingly unrelated topics and issues in minute detail - as seen from the other end of binoculars, as Roger Shattuck writes in Proust's Binoculars- one will not be at all bothered about any perceived sloppiness in these last two volumes.On the contrary, one will feel proud to detect them for oneself, and have a private chuckle about it as Proust is forgiven for what would be unacceptable by today's publishing standards.

SO don't wait four more years - you'll not care by then or have forgotten much of the threads of the protean plot which keeps all volumes tied into one - for most of what is written in these last volumes is the rich reward the reader deserves after having hung in there until the end, to discover the final fate and full identities of all the rich and lively characters we have come to love - Charlus and St Loup, Albertine and Gilberte, oh, and Mme Potbus' maid - remember her?

The Prisoner and the Fugitive translated by Carol Clark

Quick summary:This is almost a novel within the novel as it deals in two parts with the final resolution of the narrator's relationship to Albertine, this character who, more so than any other, the narrator has kept directly from the reader's curious view and desire to know her in her own voice.

Finding Time Again translated by Ian Patterson

The fates of the rest of the characters are revealed, and the narrator in this last volume himself ages (or catches up to the age at which he began telling this long story -- and we will learn why he had to write it all before his death, as the line between fiction and reality between Marcel the narrator and Marcel the famed French writer nearly disappears).This is the volume where, winding down at last from what was always a nebulous plot to one last social scene,like a curtain call, all the characters take their final bows together in old age (either still alive or in the narrator's memory of them).And there are some great surprises left to discover, which hopefully too much reading of Proustian criticism, biographies, and reviews hasn't already revealed to the `well informed but too reluctant to read A la Recherché du Temps Perdu for themselves' lover of literature.
... Read more

8. The Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust
by Joachim Neugroschel
Paperback: 224 Pages (2003-08-25)
list price: US$24.95 -- used & new: US$9.99
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Asin: 0815412649
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One of the great literary figures of the modern age, French novelist Marcel Proust (1871-1922) probes the precarious mental and erotic nuances of love, the frail mysteries of time passing and time past in highly original, surprising tales. ... Read more

9. Marcel Proust: A Life (Penguin Lives)
by Edmund White
Paperback: 176 Pages (2009-02-24)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$7.80
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Asin: 0143114980
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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If there is anyone worthy of producing an intimate biography of the enigmatic genius behind Remembrance of Things Past, it is Edmund White, himself an award- winning writer for whom Marcel Proust has long been an obsession. White introduces us not only to the recluse endlessly rewriting his one massive work through the night, but also the darling of Parisian salons, the grasper after honors, and the closeted homosexual-a subject this book is the first to explore openly. From the frothiest gossip to the deepest angst, here is a moving portrait to be treasured by anyone looking for an introduction to this literary icon.Amazon.com Review
Marcel Proust documented his existence so lavishly--albeit in fictionalform--that many of his biographers have functioned as little more thancode-breakers, doggedly translating art back into life. It's a greatpleasure, then, to welcome Edmund White's slender, superbly artful account.A novelist himself (as well as a biographer of Jean Genet), White beautifullyevokes "the France of heavy, tasteless furniture, of engraved portraits ofPrince Eugene, of clocks kept under a glass bell on the mantelpiece, ofoverstuffed chairs covered with antimacassars and of brass beds warmed byhot-water bottles." And he's no less canny at summoning up Proust'spersonality, in all its neurotic, contradictory glory.

Of course, Proust's life can't truly be separated from his art. Everybiography of him is bound to operate in the shadow of Remembrance of ThingsPast, and White has some shrewd things to say about that mammothwork, whose style he describes as "an ether in which all the charactersrevolve like well-regulated heavenly bodies." Yet the focus remains onProust and on his unlikely transformation from momma's boy to socialclimber to world-class genius. Like his subject, White often proceeds byanecdote. His book is packed with telling, hilarious little nuggets, whichfind Proust being snubbed by that "powdered, perfumed, puffy Irish giant"Oscar Wilde or luring back his lover Alfred Agostinelli by buying him anairplane.

At the same time, White conveys the considerable pain that Proust enduredas an invalid, an artist, and (more to the point) a closeted homosexual. Nodoubt these factors shaped his rather hopeless take on human affections,which impoverished his life even as they enriched his writing. "Proust maybe telling us that love is a chimera," White writes, "a projection of richfantasies onto an indifferent, certainly mysterious surface, butnevertheless these fantasies are undeniably beautiful, intimations ofparadise--the artificial paradise of art." In White's view, this recognitionmakes his subject not only a supreme poet of impermanence but thegreatest novelist of the century. Here, of course, it's possible toquibble. But the world would be an emptier place indeed without Proust'smighty masterpiece--and readers curious about its brilliant, bedriddencreator should start with White's witty and exquisite portrait. --JamesMarcus ... Read more

Customer Reviews (15)

4-0 out of 5 stars A witty, original, opinionated, and useful introduction to "In Search of Lost Time"
Clever, witty, and elegantly written, Edmund White's sketch of Proust's life will not satisfy--and is not meant to satisfy--those readers looking for a full-scale literary biography. (Then again, what were you expecting from a 150-page book?) Instead, this slim and tidy chapbook is a valuable introduction to Proust's seven-volume bildungsroman and will almost certainly allow readers to appreciate even more the wonders of "In Search of Lost Time." Briefly describing Proust's life and times, his family and friends, his literary predecessors, and the work's textual history, White's summary has just enough material to motivate readers to move on to the novel itself.

Perhaps unsurprisingly for an iconic gay author like White, the volume focuses on the open secret of Proust's sexuality, how this duality influenced his writing, and how Proust "inverted"--if you'll excuse the pun--certain characters by borrowing real-life friends (many of whom White identifies) and making them women rather than men in his novel. In the affair between Swann and Odette, for example, White sees echoes of "the alternating bouts of jealousy and reconciliation" between Proust and his lover Reynaldo Hahn; likewise, "a little bevy of handsome youths" whom Proust met on the beach became the gang of girls in the second volume. Some critics have criticized this emphasis on Proust's homosexuality as a misplaced, modern obsession, but I think it's a revealing perspective. His masterpiece is, after all, largely preoccupied with sexual relations, and it's hardly inappropriate to highlight people who are transposed from life's stage to the pages of a book--especially one as autobiographical as Proust's.

Having recently begun the third volume of "In Search of Lost Time," I regret that I had not read White's biographical outline first. Once I finished the book, I went back to the first two volumes and re-read passages I had missed or misunderstood the first time around. I think I would have understood and enjoyed the first two volumes even more, and this is true even in those occasional instances where I'm not sure I agree with White's interpretations--starting with his claim that "Proust's fame and prestige have eclipsed those" of writers such as Joyce, Woolf, and Faulkner. (Really, does literature have to be a competitive sport?) This little "life" provides just enough background and analysis to encourage rather than predispose Proust's modern-day readers.

4-0 out of 5 stars It's a Dandy
Having read Mr. White's biography numerous times, I find it to be an excellent portrayal of, arguably, the greatest novelist of the 20th century.The reason I have read it several times is because I keep going back to it after each volume of IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME.It is immensely readable and, as is the case with all of the Penguin series, short in length and long on insight.Edmund White, a gay man himself, has been accused of spending too much time and effort in discussing Proust's sexuality.I didn't find that to be the case.One can understand how the subject's (homo)sexuality became a platform for much of the writing and is reflected in several of the characterizations throughout the books.Who can say whether this was due to his sexual orientation or whatever literary acrobatics he would perform to suppress it.In any event, one will come away with a greater knowledge of Proust and his writings.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent brief biographyof Proust
Although there is no shortage of books on Proust in English, and no shortage of enormously long biographies, there is a surprising lack of short biographies.Luckily, this excellent little volume by Edmund White fills a major need.While we have major long biographies like those of Painter, Tadie, and Carter, these may not be appropriate for someone wanting a brief overview.The trick with any biography of Proust is striking a balance between writing about Proust's life and Proust's art, not an easy task given the degree with which Proust based his work on events in his own life.It is virtually impossible to disentangle the two.

This is a short book (around 150 pages), but in that brief span, White is able to touch on all the major events of Proust's life, the key relationships of his life, the major themes of his work as an author, and the ways in which Proust's life became the basis for his work.If one is unfamiliar with Proust before picking up this book, one will gain a first rate overview of him before setting it down.One thing that tremendously enhances the value of the book is an excellent annotated biography that gives a great overview of work on Proust both in English and French.

White, who is a well known gay author, does a superb job writing about the myriad of contradictions in Proust's own work as a lightly closeted gay author.Although Proust's being gay is the worst kept secret of the century, Proust fought many duels over accusations that he was homosexual (or, an invert, as Proust would have put it).Proust was the first writer to write extensively about homosexuality, both male and female, but maintained a façade of heterosexuality to those who did not know him well.

All in all, this is an excellent brief biography of the man many regard as the great novelist of the 20th century.I heartily recommend it to anyone wanting to know more about Proust.

3-0 out of 5 stars SHORT BUT SWEET
This is another in the series of Penguin Lives which attempts to give a biography of a famous figure in a short but well written book. This one on Proust is written by the well-known author of such books as Forgetting Elena and other acclaimed works of his own. In a lot of the Penguin Lives, the editors tried to commission another writer who had a lot in common with their subject. White is also a homosexual writer whose works have been vastly acclaimed and this gives him a "supposed" insight into Proust that other biographers have purposefully ignored.

The entire life of Proust is hit on very efficently from his earliest years to his death. I liked the shortness of the book. I mean, I was interested in his life but not THAT interested to read a 500 page book about it. This short work was just right for the average interested reader. It was also written very well and enlightened me about many things about his life. For example, I always knew that he had become a recluse at the end of his life but never knew it was because of asthma.

Something negative about the book was that time and again White seems to believe that there was no seperation from Proust's real life and that of his characters. He uses quotes from his novel to comment on his private life which in all authors never quite works. A novel is really not a true relation of a person's life. What really is? Everything is illusion or perception. Another thing that White does is try to put forth the proposition that Proust's homosexuality defined the whole inner cosm of his soul. I mean is Paul Auster or Chuck Pahlaniuk's soul simply filled with being heterosexual.
White seems to belittle Proust's life and his work by trying to accent his sexual preference at the expense of offering new insights into his personal character or novel. I feel that White had a secret agenda, or rather an UNsecret agenda alongside this book. Still, it is entertaining and worth a look if you just want a short look at the life of one of the greatest novelists of all time.

4-0 out of 5 stars Making the Enormous Manageable
This is not a deep study on the great French writer's work, nor is it meant to be. However, it is a slim, fascinating and surprisingly penetrating insight into the life and writing of Proust. This tale is consciously told from White's perspective touching on issues and aspects about Proust's life he is interested in. This includes the way the world perceives Proust & interprets his work, how his homosexual status effected his work and public persona, the interaction between his writing & life and citing the most interesting work that has been done preceding Proust's life. It follows the basic time line of Proust's life and is related in a gossipy though highly intelligent fashion. The most interesting aspect of the book is the way it examines the way he is able to historically place the opinion of homosexuality at the time with other writers and the politics of the time and explain how it effected Proust's life. It relates how his life was really guided by a need for love and approval and how this was reflected in his relationships with his mother & lovers and filtered into his writing. The border between fictionalization and wishful thinking is finely tread in Proust's work because of this. White also gives an interesting insight into the way Proust worked as a craftsman playing with and mixing the genres of novel and the essay. Though this book touches on many interesting academic issues such as this, it is a very entertaining read and can be read easily by anyone who is a large fan of Proust's work or a complete novice. It is admirable White is able to touch on aspects of the writer's life that have not be ever deeply explored before. ... Read more

10. In Search of Lost Time, Vol. II: Within a Budding Grove (Modern Library Classics) (v. 2)
by Marcel Proust
Paperback: 784 Pages (1998-11-03)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$7.75
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Asin: 0375752196
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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First published in 1919, Within a Budding Grove was awarded the Prix Goncourt, bringing the author immediate fame. In this second volume of In Search of Lost Time, the narrator turns from the childhood reminiscences of Swann’s Way to memories of his adolescence. Having gradually become indifferent to Swann’s daughter Gilberte, the narrator visits the seaside resort of Balbec with his grandmother and meets a new object of attention—Albertine, “a girl with brilliant, laughing eyes and plump, matt cheeks.”

For this authoritative English-language edition, D. J. Enright has revised the late Terence Kilmartin’s acclaimed reworking of C. K. Scott Moncrieff’s translation to take into account the new definitive French editions of Á la recherché du temps perdu (the final volume of these new editions was published by the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade in 1989). ... Read more

Customer Reviews (28)

3-0 out of 5 stars Say Hello to the Princess of Luxembourg
Proust is an odd one -- an essayist and memoirist whose literary ambitions led him to contemplate, not the reality of things, but rather the disparity between our impressions of things, both at the time and afterwards, and things themselves.That disparity, together with various physical afflictions, weighed on him and led him to withdraw from society, and just about everything else, to write.Write he did, for the thirteen years after 1909, grinding out the seven volumes of his "In Search of Lost Time," unfortunately without useful editing.His first publisher was a vanity press.

"In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower," the second volume in the series, uses the experiences of the author's adolescence to reflect on art, desire, sexuality, death, irony, the force of sense impressions, and of course memory.Much of the text is enlivened or burdened, depending on the reader's point of view, with detailed descriptions of life in 19th century upper class French society.Proust also devotes tons of ink to Darwin-like observations of the behavior of homo sapiens.There are recurring characters to be sure -- the narrator, seemingly Proust himself,and his family (his diplomat father, his upper class mother, and his adored grandmother); the Swann family (upper class Charles, his actress wife Odette, once a widely desired demimondaine, and their coquettish daughter Gilberte); the aristocratic Guermantes family (Mme. de Villeparisis, her nephew the Marquis de Saint-Loup-en-Bray, and the sexually avaricious Baron de Charlus), and the financially strapped Albertine Simonet and her aunt -- but they are typically seen, not through the usual stuff of character development (their actions and words), but rather through the narrator's minute observations of them and his reflections on what he observes.This makes for a good bit of interior monologue, punctuated, as in the case of an attempted seduction and the dissection of a high school graduation essay, by brief bits of Dickensian humor.My friend Richard Epstein, who has taught and himself contributed to the best writing in the English language, compares Proust to Faulkner and Joyce.Interior monologue is an acquired taste.This much is certain.If you like John Grisham or urban fiction, you probably won't enjoy "In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower."

For my taste, the text is unwieldy, the sentences elaborate beyond belief, the worthwhile observations, humor, and social commentary buried in an avalanche of words, the references to French history and art bordering on the obscure.I wanted to enjoy the novel.I wanted to appreciate the manners.Lord knows I wanted the narrator to get the girl -- any girl -- but when the going got tough, I almost put the book down and got going.

5-0 out of 5 stars A highly intelligent dreamwork
Spoilers throughout

The title A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs is translated various ways. Moncrief's Within a Budding Grove sucks. Seriously, where are the girls and the play of light? I prefer Nabokov's more natural In the Shade of the Blooming Young Girls. My doubts about whether I am reading what the author actually wrote (coupled with my preference to read for style) normally steer me away from reading translations---but I make an exception for this vast, supremely intelligent novel.

On the surface this part of the Recherche covers the beautiful, rich, stylish, asthmatic, and batty Narrator's youthful loves: Gilberte and her mother in Paris; the faces and voices of Albertine and the rest of the little band in Balbec; and Charlus (although the Narrator naively did not comprehend what was going on). They all end badly, Gilberte gets tired of him, Albertine calls for help to thwart his advances and Charlus even administers a salutary douche.

I think the Narrator's love for Odette is the most profound of them all; it is her fragrance that intoxicates, her housecoats that delight, her chrysanthemums that have special significance. She is observed down to the lining of her jacket. The mauve vision of Odette in her slow procession through the Bois is for me the most enchanting part of the novel. Accompanied by her male entourage who are awed by her beauty and wealth, saluted by Princes, she is more aristocratic than the aristocrats and singularly sums up the belle epoque. And Odette is important to Proust, for, despite her mediocre intelligence, she has invented "a physiognomy of her own"---that is, she has invented herself.

Proust is a subtle and penetrating psychologist and has superhuman powers of analogy. He has created images that impress themselves on my mind: the sea reflected in Balbec hotel's bookcases, the green dining room, Berma with her arm extended, the hawthorne, and of course the mauve image of Odette. As if it were an Elstir painting, Proust's novel has the feel of a mirage in a tinted haze; just so, the bit about the letters with Gilberte is recalled by me now as perhaps letters that the Narrator dreamed he wrote to Gilberte, or maybe wrote them and didnt send them, or maybe sent them and imagined her reply, or maybe he did receive an actual response. I cant tell. Very nice effect.

The other thing that keeps me coming back to Proust is the brilliant observations that appear on virtually every page. To give but two instances: he dumps on Norpois "...to repeat what everybody else was thinking was, in politics, the mark not of an inferior but of a superior mind"; and reflects on Bergotte's genius, "...the men who produce works of genius are not those that live in the most delicate atmosphere, whose conversation is the most brilliant or their culture the most extensive, but those that have had the power, ceasing suddenly to live for themselves, to transform their personality into a sort of mirror, in such a way that their life, however mediocre it may be socially and even, in a sense, intellectually, is reflected by it, genius consisting in the reflecting power and not in the intrinsic quality of the scene reflected." There is simply a lot to chew on.

I wont talk of Proust's larger themes (Time, Art, Memory, Self-Deception, Life's Irony, etc.) but I do want to recommend some criticism that I found enlightening: Pippin's essay Becoming Who One Is (and Failing) and Landy's excellent Philosophy as Fiction.

There are a couple things that continue to puzzle me: what is the actual relationship between Bloch and Odette? is Bergotte a homosexual? Perhaps the reader might leave me a message to help me out.

5-0 out of 5 stars good edition of a classic
Though Proust is not for the casual reader, the Modern Library edition lightens the load a little: the font is big and thin, the pages small, so your eyes don't get lost in a sea of words; there's a great synopsis at the back so you can track what you've covered and find it again easily (a very big plus); and the volume is nice and thick so you can feel very accomplished. And, no one really says this: the paper is nice. It's nice to hold. Yay Modern Library Paperbacks.

The Moncrieff translation is wonderful and gives you what you imagine is the tone of the time (late 19th century). I haven't read the newer translations. If you've made it through Swann's Way (took me two years), you'll know that things actually do start happening, there is a story. So there is much to enjoy here.

5-0 out of 5 stars Philosophy as narrative
Volume two of Le Proust's great work is a sensual delight.Part One (of Vol.2), by and large, is more about Swann's family and, of course, the agonizing and philosophizing in regard to "getting over" Miss Gilberte.There is much less about the narrator's family which ran the course throughout SWANN'S WAY. Stylistically, BUDDING GROVE is an absolute wonder. We are once again treated to the narrator's philosophies on life's ups and downs (how's that for a summation?).Once he gets to the fictitious seaside town of Balbec, the book surges--taking on the proverbial "life of its own". The reader is in the hotel room with him...and on the beach...and on the boardwalk, etc.It was a joy to see how Proust/Moncrieff would occasionally work in "street talk" with the mainstay of aureate and lyrical prose:a woman in Balbec is described as having "yellow hair and six inches of paint on her face and a carriage which reeked of harlot a mile away..."Delicious. Priceless.

5-0 out of 5 stars Perception and cognition
I cannot imagine trying to read Proust's Everest of a novel until I've had enough life experience to be able to identify with his insights.How on earth was a man who died young and was confined to a bed for so many years able to learn so much about life and common human experience, emotion and perception?I don't know how, but I thank God that he was.

For modern readers, Proust is definitely an acquired taste that rewards patience.I never thought reading the works of one author would make those of others seem so much easier to read.But such is the case with Proust.Nevertheless, one shouldn't regard his writing as therapy or medicine; it may read like self help at times, with its frequent use of the first-person plural, but it is a story first of all.His writing is just more detailed and insightful than that of all but a handful of modern novelists.

Within a Budding Grove is a primer on patience and perception, one that will probably make you a better reader, perhaps a better writer, and certainly a more interesting human being.Struggle on patiently.You will get used to thelabyrinthine sentences, paragraphs that run on for pages, and gargantuan chapters (if they can be called that) that don't really begin or end anywhere tidy.Eventually, you will likely come to enjoy it.

My only criticism:at times one does get annoyed by the slow pacing.For instance, I knew that this is the volume that introduces the reader to Albertine.But it did take about 600 pages for the narrator to meet her!That said, there are plenty of tasty morsels along the way.Read it, not so much for the simple story or the minutely detailed descriptions, but for the numerous insights and the astounding wisdom. ... Read more

11. The Captive
by Marcel Proust
Paperback: 572 Pages (2004-06-30)
list price: US$43.95 -- used & new: US$43.95
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Asin: 1417929413
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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1929. Swann's Way is the fifth volume of Proust's life work, Rembrance of Things Past. In The Captive, Proust's narrator describes living in his mother's Paris apartment with his lover, Albertine, and subsequently falling out of love with her. Proust's elegant prose makes this a classic work of art. See other titles by this author available from Kessinger Publishing.Amazon.com Review
Marcel Proust whiled away the first half of his life as a self-conscious aesthete and social climber. The second half he spent in the creation of the mighty roman-fleuve that is Remembrance of Things Past, memorializing his own dandyism and parvenu hijinks even as he revealed their essential hollowness. Proust begins, of course, at the beginning--with the earliest childhood perceptions and sorrows. Then, over several thousand pages, he retraces the course of his own adolescence and adulthood, democratically dividing his experiences among the narrator and a sprawling cast of characters. Who else has ever decanted life into such ornate, knowing, wrought-iron sentences? Who has subjected love to such merciless microscopy, discriminating between the tiniest variations of desire and self-delusion? Who else has produced a grief-stricken record of time's erosion that can also make you laugh for entire pages? The answer to all these questions is: nobody. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (72)

3-0 out of 5 stars Note: this review is of Heuet's adaptation, not the original book
Stephane Heuet, Remembrance of Things Past: Within a Budding Grove, vol. I (ComicsLit, 2000)

Heuet continues his ambitious adaptation of Proust's Remembrance of Things Past with the first part of Within a Budding Grove. Our narrator is growing up, and the focus of this volume is a trip to the seaside, meeting some people, getting in touch with old friends, always silently reflecting on both his memories of the past (of course) and the social consciousness of the world around him. If you liked the first one, you'll like this one as well. ***

5-0 out of 5 stars The Holy Grail
Very well....I'm finally, after years of putting it off, writing a review of a work of Art that can't be reviewed in any meaningful sense of the term, a work of Art that approaches the sacred.As another reviewer puts it, if you think you have read literature with "depths" before, this opus will make ANYTHING you've ever read seem, in comparison, like one of those vapid books one picks up at airports during layovers.It is a work by which other novels, poems, paintings are to be judged rather than the other way around.In fact, after reading Proust, one can immediately tell if other "great writers" have read him almost from the start.Recent Booker Prize winning John Banville's The Sea is a good example of this.

The first time I read this work, about ten years ago, it was the ONLY thing I did, so enraptured was I.For a month, all I did was lie on my bed or, alternately, on the sofa downstairs and read, putting a dash mark at the end of one of the two-page paragraphs when I had to get up to eat or to check the mail or to feed my dog or to answer the phone or to get some shuteye, and then dive back in as soon as possible. - I don't use the term "dive" lightly - That's the only metaphor that comes close to expressing what it's like to read this book. You dive in and plunge deeper and deeper than you thought any Art could ever take you and, if you make it to the end, arise out of the deep cadences of philosophical reverie that constitute Proust's spellbinding meditations on love and time to behold a world rich and strange. - Proust truly does change your life.One never really recovers from reading him.

A few comments on what some of the other (serious) reviewers have said: 1) A La Recherche du Temps Perdu is not untranslatable and I don't know why exactly the English translation wasn't In Search of Lost Time instead ofRemembrance of Things Past, taken, of course from the Shakespearian sonnet.But there it is. 2) I am in complete agreement with the reviewer who avers that unless you have been in love and suffered, which critic Harold Bloom remarks, commenting on Proust, means, eventually, everyone who has ever been in love, you will miss Proust's deepest apercus and regard them (as one reviewer does) as "silly."

I'm not sure what else I can say. I've probably go on too much already.If you are a true lover of Art in its highest sense, please pick up this Holy Grail of literature, even if you are intimidated, as many reviewers admit to being at first.For, as Proust says:

"Thus, it is in states of mind destined not to last that we make the irrevocable decisions of our lives."

Reading Proust is one of these decisions you won't regret

5-0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Investment
Yes, it is long. Yes, the sentences are complex. Nonetheless, this novel is a worthy investment of one's efforts, because it isolates events that are so innately human that anyone who reads this novel will relate to it. Beyond just reading it because one feels obligated to do so as bibliophile, enjoy the greatest achievement of 20th-century France because it is witty, insightful, daring, and occasionally laugh-out-loud funny.

I recommend reading this novel quickly, rather than being bogged down by details that result in confusion or distraction. I read the novel in 15 weeks in a class at UC Berkeley, and have concluded that it must be read twice--once, to understand the plot and big ideas, and a second time to linger over the concepts that piqued one's interest the most. However, even if only reading it once, it is worth an investment of one's time and emotion.

5-0 out of 5 stars A cool atmosphere of long ago
In his 1948 book of essays "The World's Ten Greatest Novels" (sometimes called "Great Novelists and their Novels") W Somerset Maugham states he originally intended to include Marcel Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past" (he calls it the greatest novel of the Twentieth Century) in his list but it wasn't possible. Maugham was a great advocate of condensations, and each of his essays was to preface a condensation of "Tom Jones", "Père Goriot", etc. Because of the great length of "Remembrance of Things Past"he says it would "have been impossible , even with drastic cutting, to reduce it to a reasonable size". Myself, I don't like condensations (condescensions, I call them), as I find the Reader's Digest method usually cuts out the book's best parts. The idea of cutting "Remembrance of Things Past" is frightening because it's not a novel per se but a series of seven novels, each with the same characters and mood, each flowing with an ever-fascinating narrative. "The decine of day plunging me back by an act of memory in a cool atmosphere of long ago, I breathed it with the same delight with which Orpheus inhaled the subtle air, unknown on this earth, of the Elysian Fields," writes Proust, and this is nearly 1500 pages after the narrator has dipped that tremendous madeleine into his tea. The narrative is spellbinding, and I'm not certain why. Maugham again: while discussing "Pride and Prejudice" he agrees with Scott in saying of Jane Austen's style: " ... nothing very much happens and yet when you reach the bottom of a page you eagerly turn it in order to know what happens next; nothing very much does and again you turn the page with the same eagerness." This describes Proust to a T, and comparing Proust to Austen is not as inappropriate as you would think. They both observe their characters with a dry wit, describing the dinners, the parties, the affaires d'amour, the deep concern with social status that made up their worlds. The characters in Proust are myriad, including the three women the narrator falls in love with, the femme galante Odette, her daughter Gilberte, and the coltish Albertine. Then there is the obscure Baron de Charlus, who is introduced as one of Odette's admirers and ends up paying to be humiliated by stable boys. The narrator professes to be disturbed by this; but he himself, in the 6th novel, entices a gamine to his room, giving her five hundred francs to sit on his knee, an indiscretion which earns him a visit from the child's parents, accompanied by the Sûreté. As for the narrator's name, Albertine finally refers to him as "Marcel" in the fifth book. (Incidently, you can look up the entire List of Characters on-line but -- prenez garde! -- the list is full of spoilers.)
Would I read this novel again? Well, life is short and "Remembrance of Things Past" is very long, but it will be a pleasure to re-read sections now and then: one of the soirées given by the Verdurins or the narrator'strip to Venice, revealed in expressive descriptions. "Remembrance of Things Past", like so many great works of art, is a world in itself, a world as enchanting as those Elysian Fields.

5-0 out of 5 stars Begin with Swann's Way, go from there
Proust's great novel does not need to be read all at one time.I read it one volume at a time and usually took six months to a year off between volumes. I was always able to pick up right where I left off with nothing lost, like visiting old friends. I think it is OK to think of Remembrance of Things Past as a series of novels.I know Proust would disagree with this.It was very important to him that his readers consider carefully the unifying theme and symmetry to which he aspired in the novel, but I think that aspect became less and less tangible as his manuscript grew from 1000 pages originally to 2000, and then from 2000 to the 4000 odd pages it ended up being (he continued to expand the manuscript right up until the time of his death). In any event, the grand theme he designed will not be lost on you if you stay with the novel until the end and it is wonderful when you consider it, but it is not the reason I love the novel so well.Swann's Way, Within a Budding Grove, and The Guermantes Way are decisively the best volumes and, fortunately, they are the first three in that order. If you like Swann's Way but are intimidated by the gargantuan size of the entire series, then plan to read at least the first three volumes.In this way you will have experienced Proust's best material. The entire novel is essentially a fictional autobiography or memoir.It is narrated by a man whose name we are never given, although he does hypothetically suggest the name "Marcel" for himself on one occasion about three-fourths of the way through.The story is inspired by events and people from Proust's life, but it is strictly a fiction. Swann's Way is the only volume in which the narrator is not the central figure in the story.It is, ultimately, a conventional story with several fascinating characters and humorous, razor sharp dialogue. There are several recurring, ingeniously depicted themes in the novel, not the least of which is involuntary memory, and it often reads like a deeply philosophical essay, with Proust wandering off on one of his famous digressions.The philosophical digressions are the best part for me, but I could see why they could be distracting or tedious to some. Proust's sentences quite frequently stretch to 10, 20, or even 30 lines, with multiple subordinating clauses.It can be dizzying. Some have claimed that this makes him a stream-of-consciousness writer. I flat out reject this notion. It is never, ever pretentious or unnecessarily wordy.Literary historians love to bracket Proust in the same category as Joyce (like art historians like to couple, for example, Van Gough and Gauguin), but the two writers are as different as night and day.Every sentence is worth the time in Proust, there are no word games, there is no obscurity, and it is all essential and rewarding.The only complaint I have is that he spends too much time on the theme of jealousy in the later volumes, a theme he covered quite well in Swann's way.Those volumes are worth reading too, but they have a tendency to drag out in a way that the first three volumes don't. Things do pick up a bit with the final volume, Time Regained, where everything comes full circle. ... Read more

12. Marcel Proust: Selected Letters 1880-1903
by Marcel Proust
 Paperback: 432 Pages (1988-11)
list price: US$20.50 -- used & new: US$9.99
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Asin: 0226684598
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13. How Proust Can Change Your Life
by Alain De Botton
Paperback: 208 Pages (1998-04-28)
list price: US$14.00 -- used & new: US$5.92
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Asin: 0679779159
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Alain de Botton combines two unlikely genres--literary biography and self-help manual--in the hilarious and unexpectedly practical How Proust Can Change Your Life.

Who would have thought that Marcel Proust, one of the most important writers of our century, could provide us with such a rich source of insight into how best to live life? Proust understood that the essence and value of life was the sum of its everyday parts. As relevant today as they were at the turn of the century, Proust's life and work are transformed here into a no-nonsense guide to, among other things, enjoying your vacation, reviving a relationship, achieving original and unclichéd articulation, being a good host, recognizing love, and understanding why you should never sleep with someone on a first date. It took de Botton to find the inspirational in Proust's essays, letters and fiction and, perhaps even more surprising, to draw out a vivid and clarifying portrait of the master from between the lines of his work.

Here is Proust as we have never seen or read him before: witty, intelligent, pragmatic. He might well change your life.
Amazon.com Review
This is a genius-level piece of writing that manages to blend literary biography with self-help and tongue-in-cheek with the profound. The quirky, early 1900s French author Marcel Proust acts as the vessel for surprisingly impressive nuggets of wisdom on down-to-earth topics such as why you should never sleep with someone on the first date, how to protect yourself against lower back pain, and how to cope with obnoxious neighbors. Here's proof that our ancestors had just as much insight as the gurus du jour and perhaps a lot more wit. De Botton simultaneously pokes fun at the self-help movement and makes a significant contribution to its archives. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (116)

5-0 out of 5 stars How to open your eyes
This essay on Proust's life and on how and why to read him starts with the following beauty of a sentence: `There are few things humans are more dedicated to than unhappiness.' Who can put down a book that starts thus? I can't. Why had I picked it up in first place? I saw it on my daughter's desk and was surprised that Proust was a part of her world. She agreed to lend it to me. I read it on the plane home. I think her education is not an entire failure. (She studies `writing, publishing, and literature'.)

`How to open your eyes' is in my eyes the best chapter in the book and the one that comes nearest to capturing Proust's strengths. It relates to Proust's reception of arts, his infatuation with the impressionists, his devotion to the English art historian Ruskin, whom he actually translated into French (though he hardly mastered the English language at the outset; a friend said he would be unable to order a lamb chop in a restaurant.)

Another chapter is called: How to suffer successfully. We suffer, therefore we think. (In longer words: we don't really know anything properly until there is a problem, until we are in pain, or until something fails. If we don't learn the hard way, it will not sink in.) Take your time, n'allez pas trop vite!

See some more pearls found here: the greatness of works of art has nothing to do with the apparent quality of their subject matter. (People of `taste' said about Proust that for a man of talent he had stupid tastes. He read newspapers with much patience and he could spend much time with trivia like rail schedules. We can see Romeo and Juliet, or Anna Karenina, or Madame Bovary grow out of newspaper stories on domestic tragedies.)

How to be a better friend: this chapter taught me a new word that I will try to remember. To proustify, which leads to proustification, is the act of excessive exaggerated friendliness and flattering attention. Proust was aware of the antagonistic relation between friendship and truth, and he preferred to overdo it on the friendly side. Calling this hypocrisy is a distinct possibility. The man surely was a snob during phases of his life, but it seems that he overcame some of the worst excesses of it.

The book confirms what I thought anyway: I need to go there again, to Proustland. Next time I must do it in French. (First I need to finish Zola's Rougon - Macquart though.)
The author of this book was previously unknown to me, but seems to have quite a following. He is Swiss, but seems to have written in English. Some critical voices say that he states the obvious. Maybe, but isn't repetition the mother of learning?

5-0 out of 5 stars Entertaining and Clever
This is De Botton at his erudite best. An insightful, witty and intelligent book. It's a quick read unlike Proust and the great thing is you do not even have to have read Proust to appreciate it! I loved the part where the book spoke about how reading books resensitised you to life. De Botton is a marvellous writer and disects Prousts work in an ingenious manner. Throughly recommended.

3-0 out of 5 stars Intriguing hybrid of self-help, biography, literary criticism, and philosophy.
Quirky.Quick read. Intriguing hybrid of self-help, biography, literary criticism, and philosophy.With chapter titles like: How to Read for Yourself, How to Suffer Successfully, and How to Be a Good Friend, I found myself wanting to take notes.That I'm ultimately seeking relationship advice from a "reclusive, mustachioed novelist not known for his interest in golf, tennis, or bridge (though he had once tried checkers, and twice aided in the launching of a kite), a man who spent the last fourteen years lying in a narrow bed under a pile of thinly woven woolen blankets writing an unusually long novel without an adequate bedside lamp" really says more about me, than it does about this book.Enjoy!

4-0 out of 5 stars wisdom and wit
I was skeptical about this book because of its "self-help" flavor from some reviews but it really is not self-help at all.It is really a book about reflections on some life issues through the writings and life of Marcel Proust and I enjoyed reading it.There are alot of lessons, of course-- keeping mental acuity and interest and finding beauty and stories in all of our environment, (I enjoyed still life paintings by Jean Baptiste Chardin that I looked up in the internet).Take time and make effort in describing ideas slowly and in your original way and detail, "N'allez pas trop vite", Experience the actual reality, instead of "notion" of reality, with the example of impressionists (also had fun looking up all the paintings he loved."I particularly liked the last chapter, "how to put books down"with his perspectives on reading "Reading is on the threshold of the spiritual life; it can introduce us to it: it does not constitute it."It was an easy read with delightful wisdom and wit.

5-0 out of 5 stars witty and insightful
I've become more of a fan of Alain de Botton than of Proust, although this perceptive, wonderfully written book is making me reconsider picking up In Search of Lost Time.De Botton is what I imagine the ideal college professor being: he treats his subject with both wit and sympathy; he manages to find the most vivid and engaging examples without being gimmicky or verbose; and he ties together insights from so many disciplines (literature, psychology, philosophy, art, etc.).I recommend this for anyone who loves literature. ... Read more

14. The Guermantes Way: In Search of Lost Time, Volume 3 (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
by Marcel Proust
Paperback: 640 Pages (2005-05-31)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$9.48
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Asin: 0143039229
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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After the relative intimacy of the first two volumes of In Search of Lost Time, The Guermantes Way opens up a vast, dazzling landscape of fashionable Parisian life in the late nineteenth century, as the narrator enters the brilliant, shallow world of the literary and aristocratic salons. Both a salute to and a devastating satire of a time, place, and culture, The Guermantes Way defines the great tradition of novels that follow the initiation of a young man into the ways of the world. This elegantly packaged new translation will introduce a new generation of American readers to the literary richness of Marcel Proust. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (6)

5-0 out of 5 stars When all that is left is clinquant residue of Fall, his silvery prose shimmers like that of a mountain already coated with snow.
Compared to the first two volumes adorned with habitual despondency the narrator in this third volume is in full swing of his adulthood, ready to dance the music of social life.His friendship with Saint-Loup, the handsome socialite, whom he first met during the summer in Balbec (vol. II) blossoms into an undying loyalty.The ludicrous fascination of Swann with Odette (vol. I) is recaptured in this sequel with even more illogical fascination of Saint-Loup with Rachel.

With the help of Saint-Loup, the vivacious narrator is able to obtain introduction to Duchesse Guermantes and subsequently dinner invitations from the most fashionable salons in Paris.He brushes elbows with impractical royalties famed for their ostentatious attires and extravagant parties.As a bourgeoisie or commoner it is easy to get enchanted with their glitzy lifestyle.It becomes some sort of entertainment to the impoverished not realizing the reason socialites act this way is due to boredom.

From anti-Semitism to Dreyfus Affair Proust wittingly mocks this flock of aristocrats who are themselves "for the birds".Nearly a century had past from the onset of the French Revolution to the time this book was written and yet Proust encaptulates the same sentiments of those Freethinkers of the eighteenth century and leaves Voltaire, Hugo, and Balzac to name a few out in the cold.

5-0 out of 5 stars Incredible
The second I finished The Guermantes Way I slammed the book down on the floor, half out of Proust's genius, and half out of having finished it. Proust was a genius, and In Search of Lost Time is a masterpiece filled with beauty. From the beginning of the novel all the way to the death of the Narrator's Grandmother and the Narrator's meeting with Albertine, I was captivated. But after those instances of poetic beauty and delicate word placement and description that permeate the first half...it comes to a halt as soon as the Narrator begins to enter society. I realize that this is the point...Parisian society lacks the poetic hawthorns, the madeleine, the seascape of Balbec, all the things that are present in Swanns Way and In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower...because none of that is present in society. Proust does a good job of omitting those things due to the lack of it in the Narrators new surroundings. Yet, this is where I found it tiring, and was anxious to finish it. The last 50 pages had me in a fit to get it over with. The vast amount of names is what irritated me the most. How many times do you hear the name Mme de Guermantes, M. de Charlus, The Duc de Guermantes, The Princess of Parma, Mme Villiparisis, etc? In the last 200 pages alone?....you read every name 1,000+ times. It's as if Proust forgot about the personal pronouns "he" and "she."

But I in no way regret reading The Guermantes Way at all. Proust is a pleasure to read!

5-0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
Presumably, one does not read a review of Proust to find out if the story is good. It's a bit like reading a review of the Bible in order to find out whether it says anything relevant about religion. Proust's place in literature is beyond doubt--how his translators fare, however, is open to debate. Mark Treharne has validated Penguin's decision to tackle this new translation with a brilliant, crisp, fresh, easily-accessible Proust. In fact, the text is so easily accessible that one wonders if something has been lost in translation along with Proust's famous obtuseness. But be reassured, the original's consistent ability to astonish with its insights into the human psyche is there throughout. This is Proust as he would have sounded had he written in English. Well done, Treharne.

5-0 out of 5 stars Proust vs. Wagner
Reading Proust's "In Search of Lost Time is like listening to Wagner's Ring in several ways. Both works are pinnacles of artistic creation, very long, entrancingly beautiful, and make overwhelming demands on the attention of the audience. Amazon's sales ranks display something of the difficulty. "Swan's Way," the first and most popular of Proust's six volumes (as of 4/18/2008)ranks 6,586; the second, "Young Girls in Flower," ranks 40,389; and the third, "Guermantes Way," ranks 62,649. The numbers soar into the stratosphere for the remaining three volumes.

The sustained cognitive effort needed to read Proust (or listen to Wagner) quickly overcomes good intentions. The difficulty is not that the books are long. Many contemporarybest sellers are themselves weighty tomes. For Proust character and setting take precedence over action. Sentences and paragraphs are long, convoluted, and like many Wagnerian melodies, go on forever. However, as with all great literature, each element of the text is essential. If skimmed, the meaning is elusive. Slowly digested, the words unfold into ideas of great originality, wit, and amazing beauty.

Reading the series is worth the effort. The booksdescribe the development of an increasingly sophisticated person. "Swan's Way"revolves around a young boy's attachment to his mother and a flirtatious playmate."Young Girl's in Flower" describes the awkward yearnings of an adolescent for a pretty girl. "Guermantes Way" dwells on a young man's infatuation for a society doyenne, Mme de Guermantes, who rules the exclusive Fauberg St. Germain. "Guermantes Way" is both a guide for climbing into fashionable society, and a cautionary tale of inevitable disappointment.

Social deities project a glittering irresistible allure in the mind of an aspirant. However, having made the ascent via a path of rigid conformity, once actually in an exclusive salon, at an elegant soiree, or at a stylish dinner party, these luminaries unmask themselves as not much different from the middle class citizens they disdain, not more intelligent, more sensitive, or more interesting. Aristocracy is distinguished only by its wealth, exclusivity, and generations of inbreeding. Proust's luscious satire of the Fauberg St. Germain at the opera, and their trite opinions about Wagner, demonstrates no less. Here, as elsewhere in "Lost Time," an eagerly desired liaison rests on delusion and fails to produce imagined happiness.

5-0 out of 5 stars Proust knows the way
I've come to Proust quite late. I tried to read Remembrances many years ago but couldn't get my head around the extended sentences liberally convoluted with parenthesis. Recently I took another plunge and a different approach. I realized that to read Proust is a consuming commitment. The reader has to relinquish the comfort of the customary literary narrative. If you do this then the world of Proust will first entice you then become an obsessive pleasure into which you will eagerly immerse yourself.

Having said this now comes the question of which translation to read. I've read the first English translation by C.K. Scott Moncrieff published by Random House in 1927. I've also read the new Penguin translation of The Guermantes Way by Mark Treharne.The Penguin translations are "easier" to read and cater more to a 21st century sensibility.To my mind the restructuring of sentences at times, unfortunately, sacrifice the poetics of Proust's language in favor of adherence to modern grammatical convention. Montcrieff also had the advantage of doing his translation closer to the time in which Proust actually lived and worked; the flavor of this early translation feels more "authentic" and contemporaneous with the period. An example: The first sentence in Montcrieff's The Germantes Way reads: "The twittering of the birds at daybreak..." Treharne's reads: "The early-morning twitter of the birds..." Does this matter? It's your call.

Read the Penguins if this gets you into Proust. But don't discount earlier translations. Just read Proust...you'll be happy you did! ... Read more

15. In Search of Lost Time: Vol 1
by Marcel Proust
Paperback: 720 Pages (1996-12-05)

Isbn: 0099362414
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars a brilliant new translation
First off, let me emphasize that I am reviewing the Penguin translation, listed on the Amazon website as In Search of Lost Time Volume III (Penguin Modern Classics eBook) (v. 3). Another reviewer complains that the MODERN LIBRARY e-book has some "jumbled text." You can safely ignore that review, since it refers to an altogether different translation. This appears to be an error introduced by Amazon itself. You can read more about these dueling translations at ReadingProust dot com -- or better yet invest in The 14-Minute Marcel Proust: A Very Short Guide to the Greatest Novel Ever Written, which has links to the various e-book versions.

3-0 out of 5 stars Some jumbled text
This Kindle Modern Library version has some jumbled text at certain points - something I have not encountered in the Penguin ebooks. ... Read more

16. Autour de la recherche, lettres
by Marcel Proust, André Gide, Pierre Assouline
Mass Market Paperback: 121 Pages (1999-01-15)
-- used & new: US$34.98
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Asin: 2870272650
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17. The 14-Minute Marcel Proust: A Very Short Guide to the Greatest Novel Ever Written
by Stephen Fall
Paperback: 50 Pages (2010-09-09)
list price: US$7.95 -- used & new: US$7.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 145283699X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Today it's called 'In Search of Lost Time'. An earlier generation knew it as 'Remembrance of Things Past'. Under whatever title, and whichever translator, Proust's gargantuan novel has challenged American readers for nearly ninety years.Over the course of twelve months, Stephen Fall tackled the recent and lovely Penguin/Viking editions, blogging on the internet as he read. He devotes a short chapter to each of the novel's seven books, introducing it with a two-minute plot synopsis--thus the fourteen minutes of the title. More than that, he ruminates on one or more of its highlights, compares the Penguin/Viking translations with the classic ones based on the work of C. K. Scott Moncrieff, and (gotcha!) points to errors in the text or translation. Three concluding chapters discuss Albertine, the great love of the narrator's life; Proust's service in the French army; and the 'dueling madeleines', which give a snapshot of each translator's version of a notable Proustian passage. About 12,500 words. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Proust is worth the effort!
It took me several attempts before I got up enough momentum to read the whole of Swann's Way, but once I did, nothing could stop me, and I finished the whole of Proust's masterwork in a year. I read it again--aloud--to my wife after we married. (That took two winters.) More recently, a British publisher commissioned a new translation, by seven scholar-authors in three countries. I decided to read the novel again, and to blog about it as I went. This short book (12,500 words in the most recent revision) is the result.

For each of the novel's seven books, I give a two-minute synopsis, and I follow that with whatever thoughts came to me as I was reading. (Again, the project took about a year.) I also had a lot of fun with "gotcha" moments, where Proust steps on his own literary toes, or the translator or the publisher goofed.

Kindle owners, beware! There are a lot of bandit copies of Proust being peddled in e-book format. Almost all are ripoffs of the 1920s Scott Moncrieff translations, which were digitized by the Gutenberg Project. You're better off investing ten dollars in a modern, more accurate, and much more readable translation. The Penguin books that I read are now all available in Kindle editions, and I link to them in 'The 14-Minute Marcel Proust'. The first four volumes of the Modern Library translations are also available. Avoid all other Kindle editions. ... Read more

18. In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower: In Search of Lost Time, Vol. 2 (Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition)
by Marcel Proust
Paperback: 576 Pages (2005-01-25)
list price: US$18.00 -- used & new: US$8.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0143039075
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower is Proust’s spectacular dissection of male and female adolescence, charged with the narrator’s memories of Paris and the Normandy seaside. At the heart of the story lie his relationships with his grandmother and with the Swann family. As a meditation on different forms of love, In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower has no equal. Here, Proust introduces some of his greatest comic inventions, from the magnificently dull M. de Norpois to the enchanting Robert de Saint-Loup. It is memorable as well for the first appearance of the two figures who for better or worse are to dominate the narrator’s life—the Baron de Charlus and the mysterious Albertine. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

2-0 out of 5 stars Proust deserves a better translation
I originally read the Moncrieff/Kilmartin/Enright (M/K/E) translation of "A la recherche ..." some years ago, and the new Penguin translations were an excuse to re-visit these books. I thought the Lydia Davis "Swann's Way" was serviceable, but lacked some of the poetry of the earlier version. However, when I was half way through "In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower" I realised that something fundamental was missing from this translation. I took out my M/K/E translation and a copy of the original in French and compared them at a few random passages. What became clear was that the new translation is not closer to the original, but is in many respects an inaccurate representation of Proust's prose. I also found at least one instance where the translator inserted an idea which was not in the original (eg there is a quite bizarre reference to "Jansenism" in a paragraph where Proust uses no such term!). Aside from this, the new translation does not, in my opinion, read smoothly. By contrast the M/K/E translation more accurately captured both the substance of Proust's writing as well as the literal meaning. Their version also reads more naturally and is far less stilted, in my opinion. I have therefore switched back to the earlier version for this volume and will have to make a similar assessment for the subsequent volumes in the series.

I am surprised by the general criticism aimed at the Moncrieff version, particularly given that the later revisions by Kilmartin and Enright remove Moncrieff's excesses and the result is one of the most successful translation projects in history. As well as the high general quality of the translations, they are also consistent across all of the volumes. By contrast, as Penguin use a different translator for each volume, the Penguin version presents an essentially different reading experience for each volume and, if the experience of the first two volumes is any guide, a very uneven one. If I were to choose only one version of Proust to read, I would undoubtedly choose the Moncrieff version, as revised by Kilmartin and Enright, such as the Modern Library issues.

5-0 out of 5 stars Summer convinces the promise of bloom and of fragrant friendship; of leafing through as many Proust as one possibly can.
In the midst of all my excitement in having to read M. Proust for the very first time, and looking back at how scant my review of the first Volume appears to be, notwithstanding the book still deserves all the stars in the galaxy, I had weakened the narrator's character.Like a woman who rehearses pleasing phrases prior to seeing her lover then at their present conversation he asks her questions which those rehearsed phrases are the exact answers, finds herself mute.

After the quiescent love affair with Gilberte, the narrator is now in his late adolescent years in Volume II.His infatuation in visiting the resort town of Balbec on the previous book finally materializes and he spends a whole summer there with his grandmother.Whether Proust himself had actually ventured out of his "cork lined" room to visit a place similar to this resort is far-fetched.Most of his childhood and adolescence were spent at home sick.He had to find an imaginary place where if only he was not prone to attacks of asthma such a region in France would have been ideal to spend his summer.Proust recounts a young man's pursuit of initial romance with all the emotional and physical indulgence ascribe to it in Balbec where he meets a group of girls.He toys with these exuberant girls confusing love for physical desire; altogether basking in their youthful radiance.He is like a lone bee trapped in a nursery with all the flowers to himself.

In each of these girls he finds different characteristics that suit his particular taste.He considers Andree who is sweet, intelligent, and from a prominent family but Albertine is more intriguing, alluring, playful, though she is poor and a foster child.Love thus has this perfume pleasant only to our own sense of smell.We follow where it is emanating from and once found we decide its wearer is also attractive.So Albertine and the young narrator will most probably reunite in Paris after their summer vacation in Balbec in the third Volume.Will Albertine prove to be just like Gilberte skittish and unpredictable?What is definitive is that it will be narrated with sublime eloquence by this author who though endured respiratory illness, it is the reader who will be out of breath.

5-0 out of 5 stars Proust's elemental volume
Perhaps more so than the memory of the madeleines, more so than the study of jealousy and mysteries of love, the unforgettable characters of Charlus and Swann and the last bastion of European taste, Guermantes, the epicenter of Proust's work is the image of the little band, walking along the beach, in a disorienting sunshine, observed from a distance by the narrator with a combination of awe, jealousy, love, and wonder. Each aspect of the novel, whether preceding or following this episode, points to, anticipates, or reflects upon it, directly or indirectly. The volume's title, In the shadow of young girls in flower, is itself a commentary on time's passage, perhapseven more so than the grand title itself, In search of lost time.

5-0 out of 5 stars Another fine translation...
Grieve's translation of "A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs" is a fine follow-up to Lydia Davis's "Swann's Way."This is the first time I am reading the "Search" and, as far as the translation goes, I only have about a hundred pages of Moncrieff to compare it to.I don't feel that there is anything missing from the language, however.Other reviewers have commented on Grieve's use of English clichés to replace the French clichés (this is especially noticeable in the case of M. de Norpois) but I don't have a problem with this - I actually thought it was a good solution to a tricky problem.All in all, I am very pleased with the new Penguin translations, so far.

As for the novel itself, it is divided into two parts, which both have a "blossoming" young female characters.In Part I - "At Mme Swann's" - the young girl is Swann's daughter, Gilberte.This part of the novel was originally meant to be included in Swann's Way, and - if one reads the novels back-to-back - the story continues smoothly between the novels.Gilberte is Marcel's first great, doomed love affair.

Part II takes place in the fictional seaside resort town of Balbec.The girl in question here is Marcel's main love-interest, Albertine. Although people view Albertine as the most significant factor in the novel, I don't find this to be true - she's barely in the story.More significant is Marcel's friend, Robert Saint-Loupe.

What is striking about the novel are its undertones of homosexuality.I don't just mean the literal references to homosexuality, but the narrator's as well.This may anger some readers - they would say that, just because Marcel Proust was gay, that doesn't make his narrator gay.Taken as a character however, Marcel has many gay characteristics - he is a sensitive, sickly, delicate, young man who is obsessed theater, literature, and art.Granted, these things don't make him gay, per se - but the overall tone of the writing gives that impression.

5-0 out of 5 stars In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower
This translation is an impressive achievement if you can get over its two main deficiencies: its overly liberal use of British slang, and slight but noticeable change in Proust's word order.

Like Robert Fagles' translations of Homer, Grieve has written a rather literal translation, of a piece with the rest of Penguin's new six-volume, seven-translator Proust translation. Unlike Moncrieff, who inserted phrases which were not in the original French in order to maintain Proust's distinctive rhythm, Grieve is more concerned with Proust's meaning than the style in which he communicates that meaning; in doing so, however, he makes the grave error of assuming that style itself does not communicate meaning. It's fair to say, though, that he generally handles Proust's intricate sentences and formulations deftly.

What is irksome but not overly so is, first, Grieve's liberal use of British slang. It detracts from the distinctly French atmosphere that Proust evokes. The repeated use of words such as "bloke," "chum," "scotch," etc., is unnecessary when other words, free of British associations, will do fine. Even better, as Lydia Davis does in her translation of SWANN'S WAY, would be to use words with French associations when applicable.

Second, Grieve is not always faithful to Prousts' carefully selected word order. Distinctive of Proust is his tendency, at the end of a multi-layered sentence, full of hesitations and diversions, that captures all of a situation's undercurrents of tension, to end with a staccato word that informs or even reframes the entire thought. It is one of his trademarks. Grieve is unfaithful at times in rearranging this word order and not ending with the "reframing" word, if you will (by adding clauses in the same vein as "if you will" at the end of the sentence).

On the whole, however, this is a bracing translation that, I hope, will encourage more readers to try on Proust. ... Read more

19. Marcel Proust: A Life
by William C. Carter
Paperback: 1024 Pages (2002-03-01)
list price: US$26.00 -- used & new: US$83.29
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0300094000
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
Marcel Proust portrays in abundant detail the life and extraordinary times of one of the greatest literary voices of the twentieth century. Based on a wealth of letters, memoirs, notebooks, and manuscripts previously unavailable, the book examines Proust's character and development as an artist, the glittering Parisian world of which he was a part, and the passions that enabled him to write his masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time. Selected as a New York Times Book Review Notable Book and a Los Angeles Times Book Review Best Book for 2000. Winner of Foreword Magazine's Book of the Year Award in the Non-Fiction category (2000). ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Patron Saint of Nonconformity
The Patron Saint of Nonconformity
After seeing the reviews here on Amazon, I eagerly picked up this book.Having loved the French language and all things French, I became curious about the Belle Epoque and the life of Marcel Proust.But still, would I be able to wade through 800 pages?The answer is a resounding yes and with ease.The author, William C. Carter, does a wonderful job of getting inside the head of Monsieur Proust. Proust's papers, including his voluminous correspondence, had only recently became available and certainly paved the way for the author to explore the psychology behind the man.

I had no idea how unusual Marcel Proust was; I only knew his work was a must read for anyone serious about literature.What I learned was Monsiour Proust lived his life as a total noncomformist.I found the stories that displayed his bizarre behavior completely endeared the man to me.He lived in torment yet lived his life in a singular fashion:was homosexual, was in the military during World War I, challenged someone to a duel, broke up with a boyfriend whom he can't bear to evict, the hypochondria, waking up in the late afternoon and going to bed in the morning, and the increasing drug use.Proust could be a very compassionate man - he tipped extravagantly, yet thought nothing of calling on an acquaintance at 3:00 a.m. with no previous warning.

Having read this book, I want to delve into The Great Work, and I know I won't be disappointed.

Siouxie, The Bronx

5-0 out of 5 stars A Proustification
Carter captures the essence of Proust.This is a "must" read for anyone who is truly serious about "little Marcel."Fascinating!Will actually stimulate me to go back and charge through Remembrance of Things Past once again.

5-0 out of 5 stars Life of a Brilliant Novelist
Having read George Painter's two-volume biography of Proust many years ago, I might be unfair in comparing it to Carter's new biography, but my impression is that Carter has vastly outdone Painter. He has managed to write a very detailed, yet quite readable and engrossing biography of Proust. I think that conflating Proust and the narrator of "A la recherche..." has tended to diminish the author's genius, as if he had merely written a fascinating autobiography. Carter confirms Proust as a novelist, not a memoirist. Certainly, he helps the reader understand who may have inspired Proust's characters, but makes clear that Proust's imagination was the main engine behind the world he created. Some readers might be disappointed that there isn't more literary analysis of "La Recherche" in this biography, but Carter is adept at presenting passages from the novel that are representative of its genius and beauty. I'd also like to mention that the book is physically attractive, with a handsome typeface, and that there are very few typos and grammatical errors.

4-0 out of 5 stars A Complex Life Simply Told
William Carter claims in the preface to this biography that his goal is "to understand, as well as one reasonably can, how Marcel Proust, generally considered by his peers a talented but frivolous dilettante, came to produce what is arguably the most brilliant sustained prose narrative in the history of literature."Fortunately, this is not his goal at all.Professor Carter knows better than to attempt any such thing.

About four months before his death, we read, a letter from one of his first English fans infuriated Proust.Sydney Schiff had endorsed the anti-Proustian idea that when one knows someone, there is no need to read a book by that person.Nonsense, Proust replied:"Between what a person says and what he extracts through meditation from the depths of where the integral spirit lies covered with veils, there is a world." (p. 784)

Some superficial spirit must in a weak moment have seized Professor Carter's pen when he came to write his preface, for his fascinating and enjoyable volume implicitly disavows the ambition to explain how Proust achieved his masterpiece.What Carter does instead is to recount, based on what records remain and in a simple and unornamented narrative style, the facts of Proust's life from month to month.Though we do not really feel that we come close to the heart of Proust's mystery as an artist, we do now and then get an idea of what it must have been like to know Proust, and be known by him.

4-0 out of 5 stars Remembrance of Ellmann's James Joyce
Carter's Proust is as solid, readable, and absorbing as Ellmann's Joyce. While devouring Carter's text and endnotes too, I refer to maps and travel guides and continue to reread Proust's Proust.What a joy!I'm especiallypleased with Carter's decision to lightly reference life to work (somethingI understand Tadie avoids in his biography, forthcoming in English).Howcould Proust's life be separated from his work or vice versa?

I wish Yalehad encouraged inclusion of a few reference maps and period photographs. Perhaps in a second, expanded edition, which would be an excuse to regainProust's time once again, even at some loss to my own. ... Read more

20. Dining with Marcel Proust: A Practical Guide to French Cuisine of the Belle Epoque (At Table)
by Shirley King
Paperback: 155 Pages (2006-06-01)
list price: US$17.95 -- used & new: US$7.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0803278268
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Marcel Proust's literary masterpiece À la recherche du temps perdu overflows with brilliant, minutely described accounts of food and drink drawn from the author's vivid memories. After all, it was the taste of one of those short, plump little cakes called petites madeleines, dipped into a cup of tea, that first impelled Proust into “a remembrance of things past.” He wrote with relish and exactitude about Françoise, the family cook in Illiers-Combray, the restaurant at the Grand Hôtel Balbec, meals at Rivebelle, La Raspelière, and the Guermantes' in Paris.

Shirley King, a professional chef and lifelong lover of Proust's works, was inspired to draw these two strands together into this tribute to a master: a collection of recipes representing the best of classical French cuisine from Proust's belle époque, ranging from the sophisticated elaboration of lobster À l'américaine or truffled partridge to the simplicity of croque-monsieur. King combines practical instruction, quotations from Proust's works, and rich illustrations in a way that will charm every lover of Proust and every cook.

... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

2-0 out of 5 stars Proust would not like it!
Beautiful pictures. The recipes are OK but not quite Belle Epoque, and the relationship with Proust is a fake: he was anorexic. Books like that are irritating.

5-0 out of 5 stars This should become a philosophy...
Since applying the lessons learned here at dinner, I have become increasingly popular among the culinary set. Who would have ever thought that cooking verbose recipes and reading equally lengthy prose could sound so seductive. As Shakespeare famously said, "prose before ho's". I recommend this book to any bachelor with a stove and the ability to read. ... Read more

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