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by Marcel Proust, Trans. By C. K. Scott-moncrieff
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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.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-In 1998, French cartoonist Heuet began a planned 12-volume project to recast Marcel Proust's opus as a full-color graphic novel. This second in the series to be translated into English continues the story of a young man so sensitive to his surroundings that even the memory of scents and tastes fills his thoughts and colors his health. He accompanies his grandmother to the seaside at Balbec, eagerly anticipating the drama of the waves he imagines can be viewed from the 12th-century church, but resigned to a lengthy stay at a tourist hotel where the concept of social class takes on a nearly gladiatorial pitch. Heuet's illustrations key in to the newness of electric lighting, the frivolity of fashions, and the rigidity of correct facial expressions and postures. Both narrative frames and speech bubbles are studded with Proustian turns of phrase. While certainly no substitute for the original, the book offers a wealth of period and aesthetic detail that will delight artists and readers.
Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Listening to Proust may be the ideal way to experience this great French writer. His prose is exquisite, but so careful in its variation that it benefits greatly from Neville Jason's narration. Jason performs the text, more than reading it, and his marked changes in tone, pace, and breath make this a pleasure to listen to. Jason also emphasizes the humor of the text, playing up each speaker's verbal tics. Proust's story focuses on desire and art. The desire is examined through character thought and action, the art through the precision of the prose, and through the snippets of period music that are occasionally carefully interwoven with it. G.T.B. © AudioFile 2004, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
?As close to being a definitive English version of the great novel as we are likely to get...This new edition will serve to introduce new generations of readers to what Somerset Maugham rightly described as the greatest novel of our century.? ?Allan Massie, Scotsman
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.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: French
The Merriam-Webster Encyclopedia of Literature
Novel in seven parts by Marcel Proust, published in French as A la recherche du temps perdu from 1913 to 1927. The novel is the story of Proust's own life, told as an allegorical search for truth. It is the major work of French fiction in the early 20th century. In January 1909 Proust experienced the involuntary recall of a childhood memory when he tasted a rusk (a twice-baked bread, which in his novel became a madeleine) dipped in tea. In July he retired from the world to write his novel, finishing the first draft in September 1912. The first volume, Du Cote de chez Swann (Swann's Way), was refused by two publishers and was finally issued at the author's expense in November 1913. Proust at this time planned only two further volumes. During the war years he revised the remainder of his novel, enriching and deepening its feeling, texture, and construction, enhancing the realistic and satirical elements, and tripling its length. In so doing he transformed it into one of the most profound achievements of the human imagination. In June 1919 A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs (Within a Budding Grove) appeared simultaneously with a reprint of Swann. In December 1919 A l'ombre received the Prix Goncourt, and Proust suddenly became world famous. Two more installments appeared in his lifetime and had the benefit of his final revision: Le Cote de Guermantes (1920; The Guermantes Way) and Sodome et Gomorrhe (1921; Cities of the Plain). The last three parts of A la recherche were published posthumously in an advanced but not final stage of revision: La Prisonniere (1923; The Captive), Albertine disparue (1925; The Sweet Cheat Gone, originally called La Fugitive), and Le Temps retrouve (1927; Time Regained). An authoritative edition of the entire work was published in 1954. The novel begins with the middle-aged narrator's memories of his happy childhood. Marcel tells the story of his life, introducing along the way a series of memorable characters, among them Charles Swann, who forms a stormy alliance with a prostitute, Odette; their daughter, Gilberte Swann, with whom young Marcel falls in love; the aristocratic Guermantes family, including the dissolute Baron de Charlus and his nephew Robert de Saint-Loup; and Albertine, to whom Marcel forms a passionate attachment. Marcel's world expands to encompass both the cultivated and the corrupt, and he sees the full range of human folly and misery. At his lowest ebb, he feels that time is lost; beauty and meaning have faded from all he ever pursued and won; and he renounces the book he has always hoped to write. At a reception after the war, the narrator realizes, through a series of incidents of unconscious memory, that all the beauty he has experienced in the past is eternally alive. Time is regained, and he sets to work, racing against death, to write the very novel the reader has just experienced. In his quest for time lost, he invented nothing but altered everything, selecting, fusing, and transmuting the facts so that their underlying unity and universal significance would be revealed.
From the Inside Flap
A brilliant film of The Captive directed by Chantal Akerman, was released in early 2001.
In The Captive, the narrator recounts his complicated relationship with Albertine, the events that lead to their separation and his retreat to Venice.
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