Read Alla ricerca del tempo perduto by Marcel Proust Paolo Pinto Giuseppe Grasso Online

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Edizione integrale • Dalla parte di Swann • All’ombra delle fanciulle in fiore • I Guermantes • Sodoma e Gomorra • La Prigioniera • Albertine scomparsa • Il Tempo ritrovatoAlla ricerca del tempo perduto è uno dei grandi capolavori della letteratura del Novecento. Attraverso le pagine di quest’opera monumentale, articolata in sette romanzi (Dalla parte di Swann, All’ombra dEdizione integrale • Dalla parte di Swann • All’ombra delle fanciulle in fiore • I Guermantes • Sodoma e Gomorra • La Prigioniera • Albertine scomparsa • Il Tempo ritrovatoAlla ricerca del tempo perduto è uno dei grandi capolavori della letteratura del Novecento. Attraverso le pagine di quest’opera monumentale, articolata in sette romanzi (Dalla parte di Swann, All’ombra delle fanciulle in fiore, I Guermantes, Sodoma e Gomorra, La Prigioniera, Albertine scomparsa e Il Tempo ritrovato), ci viene rivelata un’intera società, nell’arco di tempo che va dal 1880 al 1920. Protagonista assoluta è l’aristocrazia, colta nel momento in cui si conclude la sua splendida parabola. Tutti i personaggi sono sostanzialmente dei vinti, a ognuno il tempo ha sottratto qualcosa. Soltanto la memoria sembra sopravvivere alla sua tirannia e solo nell’arte è possibile trovare un compenso al disordine del mondo....

Title : Alla ricerca del tempo perduto
Author :
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ISBN : 9788854116344
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 2608 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Alla ricerca del tempo perduto Reviews

  • Manny
    2018-11-21 11:02

    When you read Proust, and learn to appreciate his extraordinary, dreamy, hypnotic, truly inimitable style (this review is a mere shadow on the wall of a Platonic cave), which succeeds in making the syntax of language, usually as invisible as air, into a tangible element, so that, like literary yogis, we may feel, for the first time, how enjoyable the simple activity of reading, like breathing, can be; and discover the delights of sentences which took the author days to construct and us an hour to read, unpacking layers of subordinate clauses to discover, nestling inside their crisp folds, a simile as unexpected and delicious as a Swiss chocolate rabbit, wearing a yellow marzipan waistcoat and carrying an edible rake, found in its cocoon of tissue paper under a lilac bush during a childhood Easter egg hunt; or, steaming across the calm waters of a limpid grammatical lake in the capable hands of Captain Marcel and his crew, confident that they know the route from generations of experience, and will in due time, exactly on schedule, arrive at the main verb, pointing us tourists to it with justifiable, understated pride; then you will gradually come to identify with the alchemical author, spending twenty years sitting, propped up by pillows, in his velvet dressing-gown, transmuting the lead of his accumulated experience into gold, surrounded by galley proofs which he constantly rereads and revises, pasting in a parenthesis in the middle of this sentence, an apposition in that, so that the papers are gradually festooned, like bizarre Christmas decorations, with loops and curlicues of afterthoughts; and waiting for life, his unfaithful mistress, to leave him, simultaneously knowing that it is inevitable, and also that she will never do so, at least as long as this, the greatest and strangest of all novels, is still not quite finished...

  • Jessica
    2018-11-25 14:52

    I took today off work because I need to put everything I own into boxes so I can move tomorrow, but obviously I can't begin doing that until I get some of these obsessive thoughts about Proust out of my system. I mean, can I? Nope. I can't! After all, this house is where I read Proust -- wait, I read Swann's Way before I moved here, which is pretty nuts to think about -- and so how can I move without reviewing the whole thing?I do feel pretty traumatized after finishing this book. Sort of shellshocked and confused with all these half-formed thoughts and intense inexplicable feelings bouncing around in me, and I don't know what to do with them or myself. Yesterday I wound up sitting in my friend's bar explaining Proust's aesthetic theories, but that kind of behavior'll get you kicked out of most places, and is not really becoming a young lady. And obviously that's where this website comes in.... what is it for, if not to unload just this kind of mental baggage?Reading Proust made me wish I were more of a scholar, so I could try to puzzle out some kind of literary context for what this book is. I feel like people think of Proust as being stuffy and old-fashioned and all crusty and ancient, but I think a lot of that has to do with the subject matter (a lost time with superficial resemblance to Jane Austen's milieu), so it's kind of shocking to remember what else was going on while he was writing this. I know this is dumb and there're much better comparisons, but I kept thinking while reading this that it was like thinking your whole life that New York punk in the seventies was all about the Ramones and imagining you really got what was going on then from just listening to that.... but then when you're in your mid-twenties someone suddenly plays you Television for the first time, and you're like what? Like you think you know what modernism is, it's like Ulysses or whatever, but then you find out it's got this completely insane cousin across the river who's just doing all these things that appear at first to have no relationship at all to everything you ignorantly thought you kind of understood at least a little bit before. Again, I'm not much of a scholar and what I'm saying probably doesn't make any sense. To be honest, I don't even know what "modernism" means, I just know it sounds literary.... I think what I'm trying to get at is that the relevance of Proust's concerns to his time aren't immediately obvious because his approach to them initially seems so weird and unfamiliar. But then you realize, while you're in it, that Proust is actually so much of his time it's incredible, and that what he's saying and doing was hugely innovative and exciting at the beginning of the last century, and actually, I'd say, remains as much so today. And I just kind of wish that I knew more about art and literature and whatnot so I could tie it all in better, since I sense there're all these fascinating connections and reference points, but I don't know what they are. I'd sort of like to sneak into some college class or something where they're reading Proust, and listen in, or at least steal their syllabus.... do they even read Proust in college? I feel like they don't. I mean, I never heard of him when I was in college, or after. I really hadn't. I honestly had no idea who Proust was until I started hanging out on this website.Anyway, for me the most relevant contemporary writer I thought of while reading this wasn't a novelist. A little background: I always really loathed the discipline of psychology and thought it was stupid. When I unwittingly enrolled in social work school, I was dismayed to discover that getting my MSW involved reading pages and pages of precisely this stuff I'd always looked down on.... My happy discovery was that Freud, at least, was actually a fabulous writer, and a lot of his ideas are totally fascinating and very beautiful. What I realized finally is that I just resented psychology for its pretension of pretending it's a science. But actually psychology's concerns and sometimes even their expression are hugely significant -- among the most significant -- and kind of wonderful. In fact, I decided, I love psychology, as long as it knows its place and realizes it's an art, not a science.... Freud said he wanted his case histories to read like short stories, so I think he understood this. Proust, of course, took this to an extreme, by exploring essentially the same territory, not in a short story, but in an extraordinarily long and in some ways kind of ridiculous novel. In Search of Lost Time is about the development of the mind, the experience of consciousness, the influence of past events and relationships on one's emotions and behavior.... all the same stuff Freud cared about, only it made more sense to me here, presented this way.I completely lost my shit reading the last couple pages of this book, and broke down on some fundamental level in a way I imagine was akin to what you can get from really top-shelf psychotherapy. Towards the end of the book, Proust explains everything he's been trying to do, and just did, in writing this novel. It's his theory of art and specifically of literature, and it's pretty hard to argue with since you've watched him just do it. One of the things that Proust says is that readers of his book "would not be my readers but readers of themselves, my book serving merely as a sort of magnifying glass, such as the optician of Combray used to offer to a customer, so that through my book I would give them the means of reading in their own selves" (p. 384). I guess that could sound unexciting, ripped out of context, but he really does do this, and it truly is astounding. I felt throughly convinced by Proust's theory of what art is for, and as far as I'm concerned he was totally successful in accomplishing his aims. Like psychotherapy, ISoLT attempts to dive into the murk of the unconscious past to retrieve experiences and cognitions that have become inaccessible. Proust dives in and swims down to the bottom, and he finds them, and he grabs them, and he brings them back up and then hands them to you.... Which is pretty nuts. I mean, it's intense. I feel fucked up from it.Hm. I thought I wanted to talk about this book, but maybe I just want to pack up my shit after all. I really do want to review this book, but maybe it's too soon? It's a really insane novel, and there's tons of stuff in it I'd really love to dork out about on here.... but yeah, maybe too soon. I might come back and say something more coherent later on, when it's all settled down a bit.I guess the only thing I need to add right at this moment is that I really felt like Proust gave me this particular combination of the things I need most. I really can't read anything too difficult or serious, and to anyone who's considering giving Proust a try -- I can't emphasize this enough -- forget what you heard: this book is anything but a ponderous drag. It's silly and hilarious and smart and bizarre, and there's tons of fashion and sex and depravity and satire and insane plot twists that don't make any sense. I personally have a very short attention span and I cannot and do not read anything that isn't vastly entertaining. In Search of Lost Time is VASTLY ENTERTAINING!! (Except for The Captive, which is only somewhat entertaining.) This is not to say that it's for everyone, and I can see how lots of people would totally hate this. HOWEVER: it's definitely worth a shot, because this book could change your life. I mean that. It could. I'm a completely different person now than I was when I started. So what if this means I'm now an obsessively jealous, elitist, antisemitic, agoraphobic pervert who speaks exclusively in run-on sentences? I think I'm better for it, and you might be too.

  • Ben
    2018-11-26 09:56

    Why did Proust have to write a 4000 page novel, especially when there is not any discernable, coherent plot? Was it really necessary to have those extended society scenes, some of which lasted for 150 pages or so? Couldn’t the whole thing have been tightened up a little and cut down to 1000 pages or so? I asked myself these questions at various points over the nine months it took me to journey through Proust’s masterpiece. It was not until the final two volumes (and particularly the latter half of Time Regained) that it all started to make sense. The point Proust is trying to make can only be experienced (as opposed to realized intellectually) if you have plodded through the seemingly endless series of anecdotes, asides and philosophical musings. Proust is trying to tell us how the experiences of our past slip away from our memory and, as such, no longer have any obvious impact on us. In some cases, (i.e. sexual jealousy and grief), this is a good thing, lest the pain of these losses would forever burden us. But it also isolates us from those moments of pleasure, of experiencing pure beauty. We can try, through the vehicle of voluntary memory to retrieve “the good old days” but we will get nothing more than a snapshot, and will not feel the experience of what it was really like in those moments. The only way to recapture lost time, Proust tells us, is through the involuntary memories that spontaneously arise from random sensory input (the taste of a madeleine soaked in tea, the experience of standing on uneven paving stones, the clang of a spoon against a dish) as it triggers the memories of the last time we experienced the same sensations along with the other physical and emotional sensations with which the catalytic sensation is associated. The experience of these sensations is actually of a purer form than we experienced when they happened to us the first time, because they are not impeded by all the other competing stimuli that were impinging on us at the time. At the time, for example, we may have been disappointed that this resort was not exactly what we had in mind, we may have been worried about the health of a loved one, we might be distracted by concerns of our professional careers. In this moment of recapturing the past, all that comes to us is the unadulterated form of the experience of pleasure. Of course, this is a pretty unreliable mechanism to tap into our past and, as Proust shows, it is fleeting as well. The only way to recapture the past in a lasting way is through the creation of a work of art: which is where the book comes in. How does a writer depict an experience which is eventually forgotten, and is then perfectly recaptured years later? Well, you have to help the reader have the experience of long stretches of time, of the entirety of a long life lived, complete with all the hundreds of people and experiences and moments of inspiration and self-doubt that come with it. When, in the last pages of Time Regained, Proust describes the incident of the “good night kiss” (one of the earliest episodes of the book), I felt like this did occur 40 years ago, given how long ago I read it. And, as Proust, through his magnificent prose lovingly reconstructed the scene, it came back to me with the full force of his original description. He had succeeded in helping me recapture this literary event, and how beautiful the experience of it was! I certainly don’t want to try to compete with the length of In Search of Lost Time itself with this review, so let me conclude quickly. Please, if you have any interest at all in serious literature, do not be thrown off by the length of this book. It is an unparalleled work of genius for which, as I hope I have argued successfully above, the length is an essential element. If you make the commitment, you will be rewarded.

  • Manny
    2018-11-18 18:03

    Celebrity Death Match Special: In Search of Lost Time versus Harry PotterThe francophone world was stunned by today's release of papers, sealed by Proust for 100 years after publication of the initial volume of his famous series, which finally reveal his original draft manuscripts. In the rest of this review, you can find out what Proust's books looked like before his well-meaning but unworldly editor decided that French literateurs would prefer something slightly different.(view spoiler)[1. Marcel Proust and the Magic CookieTraumatised by years of living in the cupboard under the stairs and never getting a goodnight kiss from Aunt Petunia, Marcel can't remember a thing about his childhood. One day, he eats a magic cookie and it all comes back to him.2. Marcel Proust and the Change of PlanMarcel is briefly involved with Hermione, but decides, after a heavy petting session goes wrong, that it's not such a good idea after all. He spends a nice summer holiday at the seaside where he meets Ginny or possibly someone else.3. Marcel Proust and the Dodgy DuchessRita Skeeter has turned up at Hogwarts pretending to be a member of the French nobility. A star-struck Marcel falls for it and starts stalking her everywhere. In the end, he sees through her ruse and realises that she's just a hack journalist.4. Marcel Proust and the Cottaging BaronMarcel is astonished to discover Lucius Malfoy and Hagrid [The rest of this paragraph has been withdrawn following legal advice]5. Marcel Proust and the Abusive RelationshipMarcel and Ginny are not getting on very well. Marcel keeps cross-examining her about what she's doing when she claims to be attending meetings of Dumbledore's Army and accuses her of having a lesbian affair with Cho Chang. When Ginny denies it, he rants at her in page-long uppercase sentences.6. Marcel Proust and the Deceased GirlfriendGinny is killed in a freak broomstick accident when she falls off her Nimbus 3000. Marcel is very sad for a while, but then returns to interrogating Cho about what was really going on.7. Marcel Proust and the Commercial SuccessAlthough Voldemort's forces are poised to strike, Marcel's thoughts are elsewhere. He's always wanted to be a bestselling novelist but can't think how to get started. As the Death Eaters storm Hogwarts, he suddenly understands that he just needs to write down all the things that have happened to him, changing names and a few details, and he will sell a zillion copies plus movie rights. (hide spoiler)]

  • Elena
    2018-11-30 12:55

    “We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world. The lives that you admire, the attitudes that seem noble to you, have not been shaped by a paterfamilias or a schoolmaster, they have sprung from very different beginnings, having been influenced by evil or commonplace that prevailed round them. They represent a struggle and a victory.” Proust is a great teacher. This may sound embarrassingly platitudinous, and yet I find that it is a fact altogether too easily overlooked in our incessant praise (or bemoaning) of his technical achievements as a stylistic innovator. Setting aside for a while the whole issue of innovative narrative technique (which is nonetheless essential to the realization of his thought through literary art), we can appreciate that he has something important to teach us about what it means to be wise, or, in short, a more fully realized human being. He does so by bodying forth through narrative a model (I'd even say, a paradigm) of the process of self-knowledge. In so doing, he becomes an indispensable companion to our own most personal and intimate developmental struggle to compass the manifold, disjointed flux of experience into a coherent, meaningful whole that we can point to as “our self.” As psychologists now recognize, a series of narrative acts (or “acts of meaning,” as Jerome Bruner put it) weave together, one by one, the fabric of our identity. What we are fundamentally is a narrative identity, a carefully demarcated world of meaning to which we cling in the face of the flux (notice Proust's recurring focus of description: thresholds and borders, doorways and windows, walls and fences). The slow construction of this most fundamental narrative unity that constitutes the real ground of our most mundane awareness is Proust's chosen theme. This fundamental understanding of the self-making self is, paradoxically, the culmination of the pursuit of self-knowledge. And in this, Proust puts his finger on the very pulse of what identity means and can mean in our historical epoch. As Charles Taylor points out in Sources of the Self, the fundamental understanding of an ineradicable and refractory (to the theoretical understanding and its search for pure transparency) poietic element that lies at the heart of all our acts of knowing is foundational for modern thought in general. In short, we make the self we strive to know, necessarily. Deliberations about meanings to entertain and construct form the very ground we stand on in our attempts to reflect and to know Self. In this, Proust's narrative art implicitly critiques the foundational move of Western philosophy and intellectual history alike: namely, Plato's separation between narrative and knowledge, theoria and poiesis, art and philosophy. Proust seems to say that theoria is poietic, and poiesis is theoretical, and reminds us the more primal etymological sense of narrative (gno – to know). In this, he elevates the modern novel to the status of a privileged epistemic instrument and redefines the aim of wisdom. The artist stakes out for himself his own wisdom path distinct from that of the philosopher. The knowing to be sought is the kind of knowing we live by. His narrative re-enacts those acts of knowing by which we structure a life-story and come to affirm a self, and then later, transcend it.The mainstream of modern thought has, of course, led in the opposite direction. Reductionist mechanism aspires to corner the mind into some ultimate system, a self-made cage of thought - a Theory of “Everything” - from which it may never again emerge to see the light of day. Any access to immediate experience must be mediated by said totalizing System; any experience that does not fit therein is to be explained away. While we managed to keep at bay political totalitarianism as a civilization, intellectual totalitarianism still rules the day as an ever-appetizing lodestar. If we could but persuade ourselves to stay in the box we made, we might buy ourselves some semblance of certainty, provided we forget we ourselves have fabricated it. William Barrett, in “The Illusion of Technique,” outlines this totalizing aspect of modern thought well when he shows how time and again, the great thinkers of modernity are subject to the irresistible temptation to “reify the objects of their symbolism,” thereby becoming “victims of their own language.”Proust's approach to the whole question of how we may become wise differs from this mainstream in two ways: first, he avoids becoming a “victim of (his) symbolism” by adopting a “meta” stance vis-a-vis his own cognitive framings, and second, he validates the adequacy to experience of his methodology by continually touching base with where we actually stand in our most intimate dealings with the world through a close description of detail. I already touched on the first, but essentially, the critical decision here lies in his not assuming transparency and instead foregrounding and scrutinizing the constructive process of knowing a life as it unfolds. There is wisdom in this, for by pretending that our mental filters are transparent to reality, we risk mistaking the specks of dirt on our windowpane for features in the landscape. The fundamental working metaphor Proust operates with here is the magic lantern of the mind. This is introduced early on in the context of one of those childhood revelations that seems to suddenly make clear for us the sense of this strange, shadowy life. The young narrator lying in his bed awaiting sleep while struggling with separation anxiety from his mother, watched the projected fairytale images of the magic lantern gliding across his walls, furniture, doorknob. The reference to Plato's Cave is unmistakable, and yet the wisdom to be found here lies not in "peering through" to the substantial origin of these shadowy fairytale forms that float over the surface of our awareness. The umbilical chord to such cosmic orders is severed, for Proust as for so many moderns. We are left floating in a sea of images, that strange, in-between realm where mind approaches nature but never quite rests in a secure grasp of it. The best lucidity we can hope for comes from an acceptance of the free-floating quality of the magic lantern of our minds: it touches reality only when, as the projected fairytale images, the form is distorted as it glides over an obtruding object, such as the doorknob. The entire rest of the narrative is like a grand cartography of the magic lantern of the mind, and of the unshakable, unsettling, yet poignant sense of irreality that it brings to the heart of even our most lucid daylight experience. In this, Proust has a lot in common with the stripping down of layer upon layer of formal illusion that characterizes Zen meditation. The work is indeed much like a guided meditation manual. The hard-earned lucidity to be found at the culmination of the gathering back together act at the end of the narrative, in Time Regained, is one not of “seeing through” to some architectonic world-structure (which must always in the end be a cognitive artifact endlessly referencing us even as we struggle to wipe ourselves out of our picture); it is instead a lucidity that comes from a comprehensive grasp of the ineradicable stain our filtration systems leave on even the most intimate, seemingly immediate moments. We never stand in the light of day. It is a scary realization, but an unshakable one, and one that peers at the very heart of the human condition. We always stand in the shadow of our own form, and of our limited capacity for realization. Our relation to reality must be understood (and more fully realized) by incrementally beating against our walls, at last coming to make peace with them, and in so doing, finding our only possible transcendence. And second, we come to the crucial revelation detailed description allows and that theoretical systems by their nature must overlook. Detailed description, while making lazy readers cringe, is the writer's best friend, as well as his/her greatest advantage over the philosophical systematizer. It is how the modern novel becomes a philosophically significant epistemic instrument. In my review of Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, I noted that Kant and Proust can be understood as complementary opposites of the phenomenological spectrum, and that a fully realized self-understanding must encompass both the stances that they represent. Kant offers the phenomenology of logical principles, Proust the sketch of phenomenological form by which we gain a hold of lived experience. I'd add here that there's simply no philosophical substitute for Proust and for the kind of world-disclosure his narrative technique enables: he is a better cartographer of Heidegger's Clearing and Husserl's Lifeworld than they ever could be (although I deeply admire both). And this is because his (literary) methodology allows him to scrutinize and lay bare the workings of that fundamental act of reflective thought: description. It goes right to the heart of our moment-to-moment encounter with reality in re-enacting the constructive framing we impose through our descriptions. One has to admire the lucidity and tenacity with which Proust takes up his analytical scalpel to the most indefinite, amorphous phenomena. He is, in my estimation, a cartographer of indefinite who charts the limits of representation, and thus, of our capacity for lucidity and meaning. To define and articulate the undefinable details of lived experience – while foregrounding the constructive nature of all such articulation, definition, and cognitive framing - is both his (insane) narrative task and greatest epistemic achievement. Relish a densely descriptive paragraph of his, say, of a summer field, or of the subtly shifting feel of the atmosphere and mood change of a room as different personages enter and exit. Countless pages meticulously render articulate what we usually allow to fester untapped in the margins of liminal awareness, through synaesthetic descriptions that try to recapture the comprehensive feel of the mingling of shades at twilight, of the shifting of air currents, of the interpenetration of music and scent, and then of the pain of lack running through it all, of never attaining some culminating state of sufficiency. For my own part, far from having to strain to appreciate the descriptive passages, I find they provide meditative exercise that gives me the tools to better bring my day-to-day experiences to articulate clarity, instead of lazily allowing them to glide past. In so doing, they intensify my capacity for awareness and presence in the world. Both cognitive form and narrative technique here are opened up to their widest capaciousness and plasticity in order to incorporate not only dramatic action, but its peripheral reverberation, not only central figure but its background of embeddedness, not only words but their echoes, too. I feel more alive after reading Proust, more present to my experiences, and more ashamed at how much of my life I let slip by me each and every day. The perspective the narrator achieves over his life here makes our usual biographical sense seem botched and anemic. In comparison, it seems like we have scarcely deigned to show up for our life story much at all. Instead of integrating and transcending in a moment of lucidity that surpasses our highest attained perspectival unity, as the narrator does at the culmination of the narrative when the various strands somehow coalesce, we just let it all slip by, rush on to the next thing, and through this habit enacted out of laziness, skim through our lives without delving deeper into the mystery they disclose. Experience washes over us and past us, leaving us untransformed and not building up to a unity, which is indeed wholly ours. His analysis of the pervasiveness of Habit as our substitute for awareness here is sobering. “Most of our faculties lie dormant because they can rely upon Habit, which knows what there is to be done and has no need of their services.” He shows how through it, we fall back on prematurely fossilized interpretive structures - “our personality” - and fail to rise up to the task of continuing to develop resources for gathering meanings as they continue to unfold and emerge. The entire work seems to urge us to recall that psychological maturation, unlike physical, doesn't occur automatically or is finished once and for all at a specific moment in time after puberty. It ends with death, or with its psychological correlative – the death we experience when we opt out of the necessarily ongoing struggle to continue articulating an increasingly integrative perspective on our lives. Premature unity is psychological death; through it, our lives become a foreclosed matter. As Beckett notes in his study of Proust, “The creation of the world did not take place once and for all time, but takes place every day.” The same goes for our own little life-world. There is no resting in the process of endless formal development until death because experience never ceases to unfold new capacities for revelation. Our understanding can never rest content with yesterday's story when facing today's experiences. Proust shows us what the stakes for self-knowledge are, and this is as inspiring for us ordinary (barely aware) mortals as it is supremely humbling. And it is enabling, as any creative work should be. It shows the way to greater realization.

  • Petra
    2018-12-04 15:59

    I finished this work. Each book is reviewed below. The only question left is "Was it worth it?". Was it worth 10 months of working my way through this opus? Was it worth what I got out of it? The answer is a definite Yes. Yes, there were times where it was an effort to read another page. Yes, there were times that it was mesmerizing and I didn't want to put it down. Yes, it was funny. Yes, it was sad. Mostly it was profound, thoughtful and very universal. It speaks to all people because it speaks of Life. I really enjoyed the interconnections. The Six Steps of Kevin Bacon came to my mind at one point......Proust was incredibly ahead of his time with this concept; he nailed the interconnectivity thing. This is definitely a worthwhile read. I can see why it's surviving the ages, despite those navel-gazing moments throughout. Will I reread it at some point? Probably not the whole thing, from start to finish. However, I'm sure I'll pick up one volume or another at some point and reread it wholly or partially. Final rating for the entire work as a whole: 5 stars. Time Regained 5-star(view spoiler)[Wow! Just wow! This is one of my favorite volumes of this piece. Swann's Way was beautiful. Time Regained was funny, fun and contemplative. Time has passed. We know our characters from earlier volumes and now get to find out their fates. It's wonderful, sad...so much like Life because that's what Life is. Marcel Proust had it figured out and all sorted out in his head. That's a remarkable accomplishment. There are a number of remarkable lines in this volume.(hide spoiler)]The Fugitive 3-star(view spoiler)[For the shortest volume in this work, this sure felt long. Marcel Proust continues to write the best prose and the most thought-provoking thoughts. He also goes on and on about minutiae. But always, at the end, it's worth some occasional tedium and over-thinking. In this volume, our narrator is (again) an arse. His thoughts about relationships, women and his possessiveness are despicable, atrocious and cringe-worthy. What a loser! I was saddened at Swann's story. Such a gentle and likeable man. Not the best of the lot, I'm afraid. Important for the continuation of the story but a bit of a slog to get through.(hide spoiler)]The Captive 4-star(view spoiler)[Jealousy and obsession. Paranoid jealousy.....or is it? So creepy to read some of the narrator's thoughts and ideas! Proust is wonderful in this novel. He again muses on the dreaminess of the state between being asleep and awakening, time, music (so much music!), art, novels. I enjoyed learning more about Swann & Odette. There's a parallel of obsessive behavior between Swann and the narrator. The narrator gets the gold star for being the most creepy of obsessors. This narrator is creepy. Proust also knows how to leave the reader wanting for more. His books end with a bang! (hide spoiler)]Sodom & Gomorrah 4-star(view spoiler)[This volume focusses on gay & lesbian sex. It's sometimes on the side of "love is love" and sometimes on the side of "it's not to be tolerated". It's almost as if this volume is Proust battling with his conscience, guilt and/or the social attitudes of the time in reference with homosexuality. This could be nothing more than Proust making peace with his own thoughts, guilt, shame, lusts, desires, etc. It is a terrible thing to have to deny oneself in one's own society & people.Our creepy little narrator's gaydar is awakened and nothing can turn it off afterwards. He sees gay & lesbian relationships everywhere. Obsession is another prevalent theme. It's a rather cloying, claustrophobic theme. It's very irritating. Proust's writing is very powerful to give Obsession that closed-in feeling, through words and paper, while reading. I enjoyed this volume. It's humorous, has a storyline, beautiful lines and thoughts to ponder. I've really come to like Charlus and hope we see more of him in the next volumes. And......another cliff-hanger ending! Proust is very fond of those. LOL! (hide spoiler)]The Guermantes Way 3-star(view spoiler)[Part One: Too much Dreyfus; one very long Salon party. Then a very touching episode; the best yet, I believe. Part Two: another long Salon party. Oh, dear. But after the party.....what a delight!This book is a mixed bag. The parties are dull, opinionated, biased, shallow, dull....oh so dull. In the final episode, it came together for me: Proust meant for us to be bored. The parties were to show the shallowness of that Society; the higher class people were meant to be this opinionated and biased. The parties were boring and we were meant to experience that boredom. Other than that, our narrator is still an obsessed, strange duck. He has to be one of the social misfits of society.....yet on the other hand, he keeps getting invites. He's such a stalker-ish type....not someone who would receive so many invitations. Oh my gosh....what an ending! So very intense.(hide spoiler)]Within A Budding Grove (read March 2017) 4-star(view spoiler)[Proust does it again. The narrator has reached adolescence (finally....he's, what?..16 or so?). In this story, he discovers girls, girls, girls. He falls in love at the drop of a hat ....but does he see the girls for who they are or is he in love with love? Overall, a wonderful look at what our teenage lives were like: parties, games, friends, no cares or worries, fun. Also: uncertainty, awkwardness, discovery, realization that adults are also fallible. A wonderful story of learning what the World holds and getting ready for that next step into adulthood.(hide spoiler)]Swann's Way 5-Star(read Apr/2011 and again in January 2017)(view spoiler)[Wow! A beautifully told & good story. January 2017: (view spoiler)[Still a beautifully told story upon rereading. I can't add much to what I wrote in 2011. Once again, Marcel's family are hilarious. His descriptions are astounding. His stories intriguing. I'm very curious how this story will continue and which of these characters (if any) return in the next volume. Swann's love story is intriguing. I'm not sure how or why these two get together. Proust has an incredible handle on human psyche and the nuances of people.(hide spoiler)]March 2011:(view spoiler)[A slow, meandering, detailed and lovingly ponderous look at Memory (forgotten, remembered, accuracy), Time (continuous continuum, linear, lost), Love and Nostalgia. Not for the lovers of fast-paced, action-packed drama. Not to be read swiftly but to be slowly savoured and chewed over. Funny, too, at times. Proust does have a sense of humour.In essence, without giving anything away, Swann’s Way is told in 3 interconnected stories: one of childhood memories (soft, dreamy), one of painful, excruciating love (manic, driven, full of despair) and one of adult nostalgia and remembrance (sad, reminiscent, joyful, poignant). Proust brings the reader into these worlds and lets them experience them with the characters. This volume is a stand-alone, if one so wishes, but there are many open questions left to be answered; many unresolved situations to be explained. I’ll be continuing with this book and look forward to the idea of knowing the characters better and meeting new ones. I really enjoyed Proust’s characters: the sickly Narrator, Aunt Leonie, Uncle Adolphe, Swann, Odette, Vinteuil. They are all warm, “real” beings that the reader comes to feel for.Proust captures so many moments in Life: the stab of fear & pain that comes from the thought that one is losing one’s love to someone else, the jealousy brought on by an uncertain relationship, the demanding love & yearning of a child for his beloved mother, trees at their moment of coming to life in the earliest of spring when only the trees know that the weather & season are turning, the taste of a madeline dipped in tea…and so many others.(hide spoiler)] (hide spoiler)]

  • Darwin8u
    2018-11-17 14:03

    The first volume of 'In Search of Lost Time' (ISoLT), or 'Remembrance of Things Past' (RoTP), or 'À la recherche du temps perdu' (Merde mère un autre?) was first published in France 100 years ago this month. I started reading in February, and now end this beast in November. Apparently, I needed a little wind-up to start and if the last 12 hours is any indication, I will need a wee bit of time to settle down from the mess Proust has left in my head.This is a book that feels like a hypnotic river that both transports, nourishes, warms and transcends. 4211 pages later and I feel like this is a novel I want to read again (both immediately and much much later). I had barely put down Time Regained and I was, like an orobus, reaching for 'Swann's Way'. I'm going to chew on my BIG review of ISoLT for awhile. I don't know if I'm ready to try to explain or even understand the whole of Proust yet. Hell, I'm not sure I'm ready to look at myself that closely yet.Reading Proust was a bit like reading 'Finnegans Wake'. Certainly not the details or style mind you. Proust wasn't deliberately sending his prose into language fractals, neologisms and ghillie suits of his own idioglossia. Proust isn't trying to capture or interpret the night or dreams (although dreams and sleep do play a part of ISoLT). Proust isn't trying to hide, he is seeking to uncover. Both works, however, are best approached as literature that shouldn't be sipped. These are pieces that you need to let wash over you. You will miss parts for sure, but unless you are a Joyce or Proust scholar you won't uncover 1/10 of what they are really sending your direction anyway. Let the prose roll. Let the message(s) seep into your conciousness. Beware of the designs of the left-brained temptor to stop every sentenece and try to comprehend completely what was written. Finnegans wake is too obscure and ISoLT is too damn long to do this. Pull your feet up, push your head back, and float -- damn you all.[a quick after note: the first four books of Proust I read were the Viking Translations done by Lydia Davis (Bk 1), James Grieve (Bk 2), Mark Treharne (Bks 3-4). The last three (Bks 5-7) were the Modern Library's Enright - Scott Moncrieff translations.]

  • Roy Lotz
    2018-11-19 16:49

    In reality, every reader is, while he is reading, the reader of his own self. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers the reader to enable him to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have perceived in himself.I struggled with Proust, on and off, for three years. I read these books sitting, standing, lying down, in cars and on trains, waiting in airports, on commutes to work, relaxing on vacation. Some of it I read in New York, some in Madrid, Lisbon, Vienna. By now this book functions as my own madeleine, with different passages triggering memories from widely scattered places and periods in my life.I am surprised I reached the end. Every time I put down a volume, I was sure I would never pick up another; each installment only promised more of the same and I had already had more than enough; but then the nagging sense of the incomplete overcame my aversion and, with mixed feeling, I would pick up the next one and repeat the experience.Throughout this long voyage, my response to Proust has been consistent—I should say consistently inconsistent—alternately admiration and frustration. There are times when I fall completely under Proust’s spell, and times when I find his writing intolerable. Probably this mixture has much to do with what Harold Bloom called the “anxiety of influence,” since almost as soon as I finished the first volume, I started working on a novel, a novel which very clearly bears the traces of Proust’s influence. It may be that, with Proust, I have something of an Oedipal complex, and I need to lodge criticism at his work in order to clear the air for my own—though I don’t know. What I do know is that my reactions to this book have proven tempestuous and I have yet to spur myself to write a fair review.When approaching a novel of this size and complexity, it is difficult to know where to start. Can In Search of Lost Time even be called a novel? In a writing class my instructor told us that any story needs to have a protagonist, an objective, a series of obstacles, a strategy for overcoming these obstacles, a sequence of failures and successes, all of it culminating in a grand climax that leads directly to a resolution. If you look carefully, you can, indeed, make out the bare outline of this dramatic pattern in Proust’s work. But, like the slender skeleton of a peacock buried under a mountain of feathers, this outline serves as a vague scaffold over which are draped colorful ornament; and it is the ornament that attracts our attention.In most novels, any given passage will serve some dramatic purpose: characterization, description, plot. However, there are times when the author will pull back from the story to make a more general comment, on society, humanity, or the world. These comments are, very often, pungent and aphoristic—the most quotable section of the whole book, since they do not depend on their context. Some authors, like Dickens, very infrequently make these sorts of remarks; others, like George Elliot, are full of them: “Will not a tiny speck very close to our vision blot out the glory of the world, and leave only a margin by which we see the blot? I know of no speck so troublesome as self.”Elliot’s masterpiece, Middlemarch, is distinguished for being simultaneously didactic and dramatic, equal parts analysis and art. Proust goes even further in the direction of analysis, totally overwhelming every other aspect of the book with his ceaseless commentary. No event, however insignificant, happens without being dissected; the Narrator lets no observation go unobserved, even at the cost of being redundant. This endless exegesis, circling the same themes with relentless exactitude, is what swells this book to its famously vast proportions. Tolstoy, no laconic writer, used less than half the length to tell a story that spanned years and encompassed whole nations. The story Proust tells could have been told by, say, Jane Austen in 400 pages—although this would leave out everything that makes it worth reading.Different as the two authors are, the social milieu Proust represents is oddly reminiscent of Jane Austen’s world, being populated by snobby aristocrats who jostle for status and who never have to work, a world of elegant gatherings, witty conversation, and artistic dilettantism. Austen and Proust also share an affinity for satirizing their worlds, although they use different means for very different ends. In any case, both Austen’s England and Proust’s France are long gone, and it can be very difficult for the modern reader to sympathize with these characters, whose priorities, manners, and lifestyle are so distant from our own. Why should we care about soirées and salons, dukes and duchesses, who do nothing but gossip, pursue petty love affairs, and pontificate ignorantly in their pinched world?Yet this narrow social milieu, though always in focus, only forms the backdrop for Proust’s real purpose; and this purpose is suitably universal: to create a religion of art. A new religion was needed. Proust was writing at a turbulent time in European history: in the aftermath of the Death of God, as the fin de siècle high society of his youth was shattered by World War I, as new notions of psychology overturned old verities of human behavior, as every convention in art, music, and literature was being broken. Even the physical world was becoming unrecognizable—populated by quantum fields and bending space-time. It was the world of Freud’s unconscious, Einstein’s relativity, and Picasso’s cubism, when new theories about everything were embraced. Granted, Proust may have been only peripherally aware of these historical currents, but he was no doubt responsive to them, as this novel amply proves.In this book, Proust sets out to show that our salvation lays in art. This means showing us that our salvation does not lay in anything else. Specifically, Proust must demonstrate that social status and romantic love, two universal human aspirations, are will-o’-the-wisps. He does this subtly and slowly. First, as a young man, the Protagonist is awed by high society. The names of famous actresses, writers, composers, and most of all socialites—the aristocratic Guermantes—hold a mysterious allure that he finds irresistible. He slowly learns how to behave in salons and to hold his own in conversation, eventually meeting all the people he idolized from afar. But when he finally does make the acquaintance of these elite socialites, he finds that their wit is exaggerated, their knowledge superficial, their opinions conventional, their artistic taste deficient. In short, the allure of status was empty.And not only that, temporary. In the final volume, Proust demonstrates that status waxes and wanes with changes of fashion, often in unforeseen ways. By the end of the book, Rachel, who began as a prostitute, is a celebrated actress; while Berma, who began as a celebrated actress, ends as a broken down old women, still respected but no longer fashionable. The Protagonist’s friend, Bloch, who is a flatfooted, stupid, and awkward man, ends the book as a celebrated author, despite a total lack of originality or wit. The Baron de Charlus, an intensely proud man, ends up doffing his hat to nearly anyone he runs into in the street, while the rest of society ostracizes him. Status, in other words, being based on nothing but mass whim, is liable to change whimsically.Proust’s views of love are even more cynical. The Protagonist does have a genuine affection for his mother and grandmother; but these are almost the only genuine bonds in the entire long novel. When Proust looks at romantic love, he sees only delusion and jealousy: an inability to see another person accurately combined with a narcissistic urge to possess and a paranoia of losing them. The archetypical Proustian relationship is that between Swann and Odette, wherein Swann, a figure in high-society, has a casual dalliance with Odette, a courtesan, and despite not thinking much of Odette, Swann nearly loses his mind when he begins to suspect she is cheating on him. He marries Odette, not out of romantic passion, but in order to gain some measure of peace from his paranoid jealousy.Summarized in this way, Proust’s views seem, if somewhat disenchanted, hardly radical. But the real thrust of Proust’s thinking depends on a truly radical subjectivism. This book, as Harold Bloom points out, is wisdom literature, firmly rooted in the introspective tradition of Montaigne. But Proust is more than introspective. A true Cartesian, Proust is solipsistic. And much of his rejection of worldly sources of happiness, and his concomitant embrace of art, depends on this intensely first-person view of the world.In his emphasis on the subjective basis of reality, Proust’s thought is often oddly reminiscent of Buddhism. Our personalities, far from being stable, are nothing but an endless flux that changes from moment to moment; each second we die and are born again. What’s more, we perceive other people through the lens of our own desires, knowledge, opinions, and biases, and therefore never perceive accurately. There are as many versions of you as there are people to perceive you. Thus we never really know another person. Our relationships with friends and lovers are really relationships with mental constructions that have only a tenuous connection with the real person:The bonds between ourselves and another person exist only in our minds. Memory as it grows fainter loosens them, and notwithstanding the illusion by which we want to be duped and with which, out of love, friendship, politeness, deference, duty, we dupe other people, we exist alone. Man is the creature who cannot escape from himself, who knows other people only in himself, and when he asserts the contrary, he is lying.You might think that this is a shockingly cynical view, and it is; but Proust adheres to it consistently. Here he is on friendship:… our friends being friends only in the light of an agreeable folly which travels with us through life and to which we readily accommodate ourselves, but which at the bottom of our hearts we know to be no more reasonable than the delusions of the man who talks to furniture because he believes that it is alive…And love, of course, comes off even worse than friendship:Almost everyone was surprised at the marriage, and that in itself is surprising. No doubt very few people understand the purely subjective nature of the phenomenon we call love, or how it creates, so to speak, a supplementary person, distinct from the person whom the world knows by the same name, a person most of whose constituent elements are derived from ourselves.In the dissolving acid of Proust’s solipsism, one can see why he considers both social status and romantic love as vain pursuits, since they are not, and can never be, based on anything but a delusion. Of course, status and love do bring people happiness, at least temporarily. But Proust is careful to show that all happiness and sadness caused by these things have nothing to do with their reality, but only with our subjective understanding of that reality. Depending on how we interpret a word or analyze an intention; depending on whether we hold someone in esteem or in contempt—depending, in short, on how we subjectively understand what we experience—we will be happy or sad. The source of all suffering and bliss is in the mind, not the world, but we are normally blind to this fact and thus go on mistakenly trying to alter the world: “I had realized before now that it is only a clumsy and erroneous perception which places everything in the object, when really everything is in the mind…”As you can see, we are moving in a strikingly mystical direction, where love and success are just egotistic delusions, hypostatized mental artifacts that we mistake for solid reality. So what should we do? Proust’s answer to this predicament is also mystical in flavor. Normally we are trapped by our perspective, thinking that we are viewing reality when we are actually just experiencing our own warped mental apparatus. To break us out of this trap we must first experience unhappiness: “As for happiness, that is really useful only in one way only, by making unhappiness possible.” And unhappiness results when something we mistook to be solid—reputation, love, even life itself—is shown to be fleeting and unreal, that our everyday reality is based on nothing but lies, mistakes, and misunderstandings. You might say this is Proust’s version of Christian consolation. For in the despair that opens up during these crises, we can give up our fantasies and partake in Proustian mysticism.This mysticism consists in reconnecting with our basic sensations. To do this, Proust does not, like the Buddhists, turn to meditation on the present moment. Instead, he relies on art and memory. Normal language is totally inadequate to this task. Our words, being universally used, only convey that aspect of experience that is common to everyone; all the individual savor of a perception, its most essential quality, is lost. But great artists—like the fictitious Vinteuil, Bergotte, or Elstir—can use their medium to overcome the usual limits of discourse, transmitting the full power of their perspectives. Even so, this artistic communication can only act as a spur for our own introspective quest. Shorn of illusory happiness, inspired by example, we can probe our own memory and experience the bliss of pure experience.Memory is essential in this, for Proust thinks that it is only by juxtaposing one experience with another that we can see the perception in its pure form, without any reference to our conventional reality. This is why moments of involuntary memory, like the madeleine episode, are so important for Proust: it is in these moments, when a present experience triggers a long-buried memory, that we can re-visit the experiences of our past, free from delusion, as a pure impartial spectator. The final Proustian wisdom is essentially contemplative, passive, aesthetic, able to see the ironies of human life and to appreciate the recurring patterns of human existence.Proust’s goal, then, is to do for the reader what Bergotte, Elstir, and Vinteuil did for his Narrator: to create art that acts as a window to the self. And his style is exactly suited to this purpose. In my review of a book on meditation, I noted what I called the “novelistic imagination,” which is our tendency to see the world as a setting and ourselves as the Protagonist, beset by trials and tribulations. Meditation aims to break out of this rather unrealistic mindset by focusing on the present moment. Proust’s aim is similar but his method is different. He takes the narrative tendency of the novelistic imagination, and stretches and stretches, pulling each sentence apart, twisting it around itself, extending the form and padding the structure until the narration is hardly narration at all, until you are simply swimming in a sea of sounds.By doing so, Proust allows you to feel the passage of time, to make time palpable and real, and to feel our memory processing and being activated over and over again in response to passing sensations. This way, Proust hopes to bring us in contact with reality: “An hour is not merely an hour, it is a vase full of scents and sounds and projects and climates, and what we call reality is a certain connection between these immediate sensations and the memories which envelop us simultaneously with them…”This is my attempt to elucidate Proust’s aesthetic religion. Of course, like any religion of art, it is objectionable for manifold reasons: it lacks any moral compass, it is elitist, it is purely passive. Not only that, but Proust connects with his religion a solipsism that is questionable on philosophic grounds, not to mention cynical in the extreme. It is a cold, antisocial, unsympathetic doctrine, with appeal only to disenchanted aesthetes. But of course, this is ultimately a work of art and not of philosophy; and so In Search of Lost Time must be judged on literary grounds. When it comes to the criteria by which we judge a usual novelist—characterization, dialogue, plot—I think Proust is somewhat weak. There is, of course, little plot to speak of. And although Harold Bloom thought that Proust was a rival of Shakespeare when it came to characterization—a judgment that baffles me—I felt very little for any of the people in this novel. They all speak in Proust’s longwinded voice, and so never came alive for me. It always seems as if I am overhearing Proust describe someone rather than meeting them myself.But of course one cannot appraise Proust using these standards. This novel is, above all, audacious. It is a modernist tour de force, which turns nearly every novelistic convention on its head. More than that, it is a novel of ideas, which puts forward a radical view of the human predicament and its own answers to the perennial questions of life. It is wisdom literature rooted deeply in tradition, while being absolutely original and uncompromising in its newness. It is both intensely beautiful and intensely ugly—hideously sublime. For anyone who can pull themselves through all its pages, it will leave them deeply marked. I know I have been.

  • Roberta
    2018-11-13 18:02

    Questa non è una recensione, ce ne sono in giro già abbastanza. Anzi, ciò che è stato scritto a proposito della Recherce supera di gran lunga il numero di pagine della Recherche stessa. Inoltre, se continuano ad esserci lettori che macinano con gioia le 2000 e più pagine del romanzo, un motivo ci sarà: è bello. Quindi mi limito a lasciare qui qualche appunto, pensieri che mi vengono in mente durante la lettura. DALLA PARTE DI SWANNHo sempre associato questa prima parte alla primavera e anche oggi mi fa lo stesso effetto. Immagino siano le descrizioni delle passeggiate e dei paesaggi. Non vedo l'ora che il tempo mi permetta di leggere all'aperto. Intanto Swann ha incontrato Odette ed il guinzaglio si fa sempre più corto, fino a sfociare in un matrimonio socialmente esecrabile. Odette è un personaggio triste, una mantenuta senza altra dote che la bellezza, che non si fa scrupolo ad usare. Odette e Swann avranno una bambina: conclusa la generazione dei padri, si passa al parco a giocare coi figliALL'OMBRA DELLE FANCIULLE IN FIOREPerché leggere Proust oggi? Anche solo per la descrizione del teatro, e dell'emozione di andarci per la prima volta. Il nostro giovane è passato dall'essere mammone ad essere terribilmente romantico.Proust è in grado di descrivere i bagni pubblici come se fossero una sala da tè.Non riesco a capire esattamente quanti abbia il fanciullo che va in vacanza a Balbec. Prima gioca alla lotta con Gilberte traendone un piacere da adulto, ora è in crisi nel dover lasciare la madre per una breve vacanza. Intanto si ubriaca, dietro consiglio medico, per affrontare le emozioni di un viaggio in treno (lascio a voi pendolari eventuali battute sull'abbinamento alcool-trenitalia).Ed eccomi alle ultime pagine del secondo libro. Il giovanotto è in vacanza al mare e la nonna è ormai dimenticata a favore di un gruppo di ragazze tra cui spicca Albertine, la fanciulla che darà titolo a uno dei prossimi volumi. Il ragazzino è un marpioncello in divenire. Nota ogni ragazza in egual misura, per tutte sembra trovare un particolare di suo interesse. Quando ne "conquista" una, il che spesso significa semplicemente esserle presentato ed aver scambiato due parole, ammette candidamente che la conoscenza e l'abitudine cancellano la passione. La realtà è infatti molto meno passionale dei sogni ad occhi aperti.Io intanto provo piacere ed interesse a vederlo crescere. Non è un personaggio simpatico: è spesso superficiale, attirato più dalla moda che dalla sostanza. Si è creato una sorta di persona immaginaria a cui aspira: va a teatro credendo di cadere vittima di una sorta di sindrome di Stendhal e ci rimane male perché ha provato "solo" il piacere di un normale intrattenimento. Ma dato che altri raccontano quella stessa opera come un capolavoro creto dall'attrice protagonista, allora ecco che il nostro eroe si ri-racconta l'esperienza fino a farla combaciare con lo standard che si era inventato. Al giorno d'oggi si parlerebbe di peer-pressure (fare cose e tenere certi atteggiamenti per soddisfare il gruppo a cui si appartiene), lui riesce a farsi peer-pressure da solo.I GUERMANTESEd eccoci nella casa nuova. Francoise è simpatica come sempre, ma sono arrivata al primo scoglio. Saint-Loup e la celebrazione dell'arte militare mi annoiano parecchio, voglio tornare alle seghe mentali del protagonista.Saint-Loup è l'uomo zerbino, erede di Swann. Il nostro eroe punta alla zia di Saint-Loup, ma senza costrutto. La cosa interessante è la cronaca dell'affare Dreyfuss, che viene superficialmente citato dai personaggi.Sono alle ultime pagine di questo volume e sto facendo fatica. La scrittura di Proust è sempre ottima e una volta ricominciato a leggere veleggio serenamente tra salotti e frivolezze, ma il problema è proprio riprendere in mano il racconto dopo una pausa. Sono, infatti, 547 pagine (1534-987) di salotti, di viziate signore aristocratiche che fanno battutine di spirito a cui tutti ridacchiano per dovere (non fanno ridere), donne che fanno le eccentriche a tutti i costi credendo così di farsi notare, principesse di spirito popolano che per dimostrarsi d'ampie vedute trattano gli inferiori come simpatici animaletti bisognosi di attenzioni. Facendo un paragone con la cultura popolare italiana mi è venuto in mente l'episodio di Fantozzi in cui i dipendenti della megaditta vengono invitati a cena a casa della Contessa Serbelloni Mazzanti Viendalmare e lei continua a chiamarli "inferiori". E, diciamocelo, questa Guermantes è davvero antipatica, una gatta morta.Il mazzo di asparagi di Elstir-Manet che i Guermantes non hanno compratoSODOMA E GOMORRAMa che simpatico questo Proust. Esordisce con una descrizione piuttosto allegra dell'omosessualità maschile, ma quando viene ipotizzata quella femminile allora è scandalo e fastidio.Però, amico Proust, un filo d'azione potresti anche mettercela. Un colpo di scena, che so. Guarda, accetto anche due lacrimucce in stile "C'è posta per te", ma andiamo avanti. Interessante la digressione sull'etimologia di alcuni termini, ma ora basta con queste conversazioni superficiali da salotto. Mi sento come l'invitata che non conosce nessuno, non condivide i gusti degli altri e se ne sta in un angolo sbocconcellando un pasticcino e sorridendo ebete, cercando una scusa per potersi allontanare presto dal party più noioso della storia.LA PRIGIONIERATitolo esaustivo. Il nostro eroe è sempre più disturbato e ritiene che infilarsi Albertine in casa sia un miglioramento. La fanciulla ci sta perché si fa mantenere mica male e tanto lo frega come vuole. Continuano le ansie per le supposte relazioni omosessuali di Albertine.Secondo me di lesbico Albertine non ha nulla, ma questo Christian Grey d'antan semplicemente non vuole che lei abbia relazioni con esseri umani diversi da lui e Francoise. E diciamocelo: anche Francoise ci mette del suo per abusare psicologicamente di Albertine. Poi abbiamo i Verdurin, che con tutti i difetti non riusciamo però ad abbandonare. Sono come dei parenti alla lontana, quelli strani che devi sopportare a matrimoni e funerali. ALBERTINE SCOMPARSAE dopo l'omosessualità allegra del tomo precedente, esordiamo con una simpatica accusa di corruzione di minore. No, fermi tutti! (view spoiler)[Albertine è morta?!? Così, in 4 righe? Ma non vale! Non è possibile! (hide spoiler)] E adesso?E adesso nulla, il chiodo è sempre lo stesso: Albertine è lesbica? Ha mai fatto sesso con altre ragazze? Se sì, come/cosa ha fatto? Qualcuno dia un abbonamento Pornhub a quest'uomo!Muore giovane chi è caro agli dei.IL TEMPO RITROVATONon riesco a crederci, sono alla fine. Guerra e sadomaso.No, ma dai, adesso parte il pippone malinconico. In effetti, a poche (relativamente parlando) pagine dalla fine la necessità di congedarsi e fare il punto della situazione è sentita. Ritorna la madeleine iniziale, ancora più carica di significato ora che sappiamo tutta la storia. 6 mesi, 2000 pagine, tanti personaggi peculiari che sono diventati una sorta di famiglia letteraria: il treno è in ritardo? Ottimo, approfittiamone per andare a vedere cosa fanno questi eccentrici francesi.Ebbene, sono arrivata alla fine. Troppo presto, non ero pronta. E adesso? Con chi li passo i prossimi 6 mesi, ora che non ho più la compagnia di questi vanesi, superficiali francesi?http://www.marcelproust.it/["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>

  • Travelling Sunny
    2018-12-01 12:05

    In another LIST book (1Q84) it was said that unless you have the opportunity to be in jail or have to hide out for a long time, you can't read the whole of In Search of Lost Time. Volume 1. Swann’s Way (★★★★☆)Volume 2. Within a Budding Grove (★★★☆☆)Volume 3. The Guermantes Way (★★☆☆☆)Volume 4. Cities of the Plain (★★★★★)Volume 5. The Captive (★★★★★)Volume 6. The Fugitive (★★★★☆)Volume 7. Time Regained (★★★★★)

  • Avis Black
    2018-12-05 18:13

    I read the whole damn thing, for which I feel like demanding a medal. A famous quote about this work goes, "I may be thicker skinned than most, but I just can't understand why anyone should take thirty pages to describe how he tosses about in bed because he can't get to sleep. I clutched my head."I heartily agree. Nor do I like dinner parties that take longer to read about than they took to occur. The main problem with Proust (and his admirers) is that they are convinced that the French aristocracy, with all their trivial concerns and all their trivial conversations, were actually interesting. In reality, they were very dull and conventional people. One of Proust's friends actually said that to him, but Proust was too status-struck to listen.The only character in the books I liked was Charles Morel, because he screwed everyone over and treated them like dirt. By the time I finished, I thought they deserved him.

  • Mari Mann
    2018-11-19 18:07

    There are some writers that have made such a unique contribution to literature and to art that they are considered among the best, if not the best, and not just in their own country, but in the world. Such a writer was Marcel Proust. He has been called the greatest novelist of the 20th century, and the novel, A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, compared to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling. But Michelangelo was known as “The Divine”, while Proust was called a hypochondriac, a dilettante, a homosexual and a mama’s boy. All of these things were true, to a certain extent, and when the first volume of In Search of Lost Time (Swann’s Way) was published in 1913, Proust’s friends were shocked that he had produced such a masterpiece. As Marcel himself said, there was not just one Proust, but many, and his many selves were often paradoxical and antithetical to each other. He used the ways of a hypochondriac to make people, mostly his mother, give him special treatment, yet he had his first asthma attack at age nine and struggled with ill health until his death at age 51. He was a social-climbing dilettante yet spent the last ten years of his life as a virtual recluse, shielded from the outside world by the cork-lined walls of his bedroom. He was a homosexual who wrote and spoke as if he deplored homosexuality. And he was a mama’s boy who used the love and anguish of that relationship as a springboard for the novel’s deep and enduring truths about all forms of love and devotion and life and art. But do we really need to know anything about the writer to understand, or even appreciate, the work itself? Remembrance of Things Past, or as it is more accurately titled now, In Search of Lost Time, is often described as a semi-autobiographical work, so can’t we just read the books to know the man? No, in answer to both questions, but…yes. Although Proust only peripherally identifies the “Narrator” in Lost Time as himself, the book closely parallels his life, possibly a better phrase would be reflects his life (as some key things are reversed, as if seen in a mirror). And at the risk of sounding dramatic, Proust gave this life- mentally & physically- to the service of writing these volumes. He gave the novel his life and in return, it gave him immortality. Proust was aware of this “bargain with the devil” he’d made, and when he wrote fin at the end of the novel, he told his housekeeper/companion “Now I can die”…and shortly afterward, he did. Knowing something of the life of this man can help illuminate the world of Lost Time, as a reading of Lost Time illuminates not just Marcel’s life but all lives, our own included. That’s one of the reasons why this work is regarded as one of the world’s best, and why it is as relevant to us now as it was then and as it will continue to be in the future In Search of Lost Time actually consists of seven volumes, the first being Swann’s Way. When these volumes were being translated into English, the translator changed the title, A la recherché du Temps Perdu, to a line from Shakespeare, “Remembrance of Things Past”. This is not only a bad interpretation of In Search of Lost Time , it’s not even what the novel is about. Marcel hated it. He didn’t much care for Swann’s Way either, which in French is Du cote de chez Swann, but what could he do? He was only the author. So what is the novel about? And if it’s so great, why do so many people start reading it but give up before they even reach the famous madeleine scene? Is it because of Proust’s famously long sentences (the Proust Society of America says his longest is 958 words & may be the longest sentence in all of literature)? Or because, as one critic complained after the publication of Swann’s Way, that Proust takes fifteen pages to tell how he turns over in bed at night? Yes. But when the long sentences and the seemingly random and rambling passages begin to coalesce into a whole, and the invisible web of past, present and future becomes visible and clear, then the magnitude of this work and the joy of reading it shines through.But what is it about? It's about life, from one life to all lives.

  • Jason
    2018-11-20 15:07

    Initially published in French between 1913 and 1927, Marcel Proust’s seven-part work In Search of Lost Time (also called Remembrance of Things Past) has undergone a befuddling series of translations. The “Moncrieff–Kilmartin–Enright” version, made available for this Modern Library publication, is essentially the original C. K. Scott Moncrieff translation with further revisions by Terence Kilmartin in 1984 (based on the 1954 definitive French text) and D. J. Enright in 1992.As I finish each volume, I will rate and review it individually. All seven volumes of In Search of Lost Time can be found on my À-la-recherche-du-temps-perdu shelf. They are also listed here:________________________________________          In Search of Lost Time1. Swann’s Way – my review (★★★★★)2. Within a Budding Grove – my review (★★★★☆)3. The Guermantes Way – my review (currently reading)4. Sodom and Gomorrah – my review (☆☆☆☆☆)5. The Captive¹ – my review (☆☆☆☆☆)6. The Fugitive¹ – my review (☆☆☆☆☆)7. Time Regained² – my review (☆☆☆☆☆)________________________________________¹In the Modern Library edition, The Captive and The Fugitive are combined into a single volume, but I will rate/review them separately.²The Kilmartin–Enright revision of Time Regained is based on an English translation by Andreas Mayor, as Scott Moncrieff died in 1930.

  • Sandra
    2018-12-03 13:55

    11/2/2010 Oggi ho terminato di leggere "Dalla parte di Swann"."Ma quando di un antico passato non sussiste niente, dopo la morte degli esseri, dopo la distruzione delle cose, soli, più fragili ma più intensi, più immateriali, più persistenti, più fedeli, l'odore e il sapore restano ancora a lungo, come anime, a ricordare, ad attendere, a sperare, sulla rovina di tutto il resto, a reggere, senza piegarsi, sulla loro gocciolina quasi impalpabile, l'immenso edificio del ricordo".Il ricordo rimane vivo e sconfigge anche la morte.9/7/2010 Oggi ho terminato la lettura di “all’ombra delle fanciulle in fiore”.“E il timore di un avvenire in cui saremo privati della vista e della compagnia di coloro che amiamo e dai quali ci viene oggi la gioia più cara, si accresce se pensiamo che al dolore di una simile privazione si aggiungerà non sentirla come dolore, restarvi indifferente..; sarebbe dunque una vera morte di noi stessi, morte seguita da resurrezione, ma di un io diverso, all’amore del quale non possono giungere le parti dell’antico io condannato a morire. Sono queste che provano sgomento e oppongono un rifiuto, con ribellioni in cui si deve vedere un modo segreto, parziale, tangibile, reale della resistenza alla morte, della lunga, disperata e quotidiana resistenza alla morte frammentaria e continua che si insedia in noi per tutta la durata della nostra vita…”li 11/10/2010 ho terminato di leggere "i Guermantes"."Un uomo, che sia diventato sordo del tutto, non può nemmeno far scaldare accanto a sè un bollitore pieno di latte senza dover spiare con gli occhi nel recipiente scoperchiato il riflesso bianco, iperboreo, simile a quello di una tempesta di neve, che è il segno premonitore al quale sarà bene ubbidire togliendo, come il Signore arresta le onde, la spina elettrica, infatti quella specie di uovo ascendente e convulso del latte che bolle sta salendo, sollevandosi irregolarmente, gonfia, arrotonda qualche vela semicapovolta che la panna aveva increspato e ne lancia nella tempesta una di madreperla che l'interruzione di corrente, se l'uragano elettrico è scongiurato in tempo, farà girare su se stessa e getterà alla deriva mutata in petali di magnolia."Anche l'attività quotidiana più semplice come il bollire il latte è poesia nella penna di Proust.13/1/2011: ho terminato la lettura di Sodoma e Gomorra." In qualsiasi momento la consideriamo, la nostra anima nella sua totalità ha un valore quasi soltanto fittizio, nonstante il cospicuo bilancio delle sue ricchezze, poichè ora le une ora le altre sono indisponibili, sia che si tratti di ricchezze effettive o immaginarie, e nel mio caso, per esempio, quella dell'antico nome di Guermantes o quelle, tanto più gravi, del vero ricordo della nonna. Perchè ai turbamenti della memoria sono legate le intermittenze del cuore. E' probabile sia l'esistenza del nostro corpo, simile per noi a un vaso in cui sarebbe rinchiusa la nostra spiritualità, a farci supporre che tutti i nostri beni interiori, le nostre gioie passate, tutti i nostri dolori siano perennemente in nostro possesso. Forse è altrettanto inesatto credere che essi svaniscano o ritornino. In tutti i casi, se restano in noi, la maggior parte del tempo risiedono in una zona sconosciuta dove non ci sono di alcuna utilità, e dove anche i più usuali sono soffocati dai ricordi di altro ordine e che escludono ogni simultaneità con essi nella nostra coscienza. Ma se riusciamo a riafferrare l'insieme di sensazioni in cui sono custoditi, essi hanno, a loro volta, il medesimo potere di espellere tutto ciò che è incompatibile con essi, di installare in noi soltanto l'io che li ha vissuti".19/3/2011: ho terminato la lettura de "la prigioniera". Per me credo sia il volume della Recherche che più mi ha affascinato."Ciò che ci lega alle persone sono le mille radici, quei fili innumerevoli che sono i ricordi della serata di ieri, le speranze del mattino di domani, quella trama continua di abitudini da cui non riusciamo a liberarci. Così come esistono avari che accumulano per generosità, noi siamo dei prodighi che scialano per avarizia, e sacrifichiamo la nostra vita non tanto a un essere quanto a tutto ciò che egli ha saputo legare a sè delle nostre ore, dei nostri giorni, delle cose al cui confronto la vita ancora da vivere, la vita relativamente futura, ci sembra più remota, più distaccata, meno intima, meno nostra."17/5/2011: ho terminato di leggere "la fuggitiva"."Ogni donna sente che, più il suo potere su un uomo è grande, il solo modo di andarsene è fuggire.Fuggitiva perchè regina.E' così.Certo, esiste una distanza immensa tra la noia che solo un istante prima essa ci ispirava e quel furioso bisogno di averla presso di sè per il fatto che se ne è andata.""La vera vita, la vita finalmente scoperta e messa in luce, di conseguenza la sola vita realmente vissuta, è la letteratura, vita che, in un certo senso, dimora in ogni momento in tutti gli uomini così come nell'artista. Ma essi non la vedono perchè non cercano di portarla alla luce".Il mio viaggio con Proust è terminato. Cinque stelle non rappresentano il valore di quest'opera monumentale, le ho messe simbolicamente: le mie stelle sono dieci, cento, mille...

  • Brent Hayward
    2018-11-22 14:15

    The year of reading Proust. Amen. This was monumental, a life event, like having a child or losing a friend or seeing a wonder of the world. Proust himself, I imagine, must have been rather annoying, but this subtle and (of course) incredibly long rail was unforgettable.

  • Jimmy
    2018-11-19 12:01

    Andre Gide, who worked for the famous Gallimard press in the early 20th century, rejected Proust's manuscript for Swann's Way, which was the first installment of the epic Remembrance of Things Past. I often wonder whether or not he ever regretted this decision, but, then again, Gide had his reasons. As an avowed homosexual, he reproached Proust for the repressed homosexuality that was an obvious reality of the work. In example, the girl Albertine, who young Marcel pines for in the early stages of the work, was in actuality, Albert, based on one of Proust's lovers. Gide's criticisms weren't terribly inappropriate though. Through reading Proust's biography, one gets the impression that he was a shameless hypocrite. Then again, this also brings to light the question of whether Proust was less of a novelist than he was a philosopher/cultural critic/journalist/etc. It's funny because at one point in the work he references the literary critic Saint Beauve, who had a theory that the reader should be aware of every tiny detail of the writer's life in order to fully grasp the essence of their work. Remembrance is full of little tidbits like these; he also mentions the German literary critic August Wolf, who was famous for his theory that Homer was actually a sort of pseudonym for the various authors that had worked on the Odyssey and the Iliad.Honestly, Proust is an overwhelming subject in the space of a review. Piles of books have been written on the man, as well as his works, so I'm not even going to attempt any of that. What I will do is offer my opinion of his work.First of all, it's insane how what is Proustian plays into this analysis. In itself, my memory of Proust's work can be adequately evoked by a series of sensations that remind me of his work. For Proust, a lime tea soaked madeliene cookie (or tea cake) sparks the memory of an entire life time. This is essentially what is Proustian; any one of our given senses is capable of evoking a broad expanse of psychological memory. So when I am driving through, say, the desert in Southern Nevada, in the springtime, I am instantly reminded of the two or three months that I spent reading Proust. Of course, this is also clearly just another mysterious psychological quirk inherent in human memory, but it still stands as the inspiration for Proust's passionate reflections.The eponymous character of Swann's Way is an exemplification of the Belle Epoque renaissance man. This is Proust's idol in the early chapters of his masterpiece, a person who is aware of cultural fashions, yet at the same time displays a sense of weariness about how this particular brand of social prestige can actually benefit people. Proust was notorious for his scathing parodies of the characters that frequented the salons of his cultural reality. In other words, Proust enjoyed poking fun at his contemporaries. After three thousand pages of eloquent prose (Allain de Botton once pointed out the fact the the longest sentence contained within Remembrance of Things Past can actually be wrapped around an entire wine bottle (he shows a typographical example of this by presenting the sentence in a circular form, literally)) I am at a loss in attempting to point out the more significant parts of the work, but I do remember bits and pieces.Much of the scenes are contained within the confined space of the literary salons of Paris. These people discuss painting, classical music, literature, philosophy, the theater, etc. It's akin to Dickens in the way that Proust portrays each character. They are all presented as hyperbolic parodies of themselves. The Dreyfus affair acts as a political centerpiece for Proust's opinions; he once referred to himself as the most stalwart Dreyfusard (which is incorrect because the novelist Emile Zola was far more dedicated that he was, essentially facing exile for his fervent views on the subject, and the author who penned a letter of complaint to the president of France at the time). Proust goes on (and on) like this throughout the entirety of the work. It's the story of a neurotic consumptive who aspired to become a great writer (I have nothing but faith in the fact that he accomplished this). It's a story of heartbreak, disappointment, lost love, and failed relationships. It's an historically contained account of the intellectual milieau of late 19th century Paris. It is, in general, a sweeping autobiography written by one of the most curious characters that the entire canon of western literature has ever had to offer. In short, it's life as told through the lens of a effete, bourgeois, dandyish genius. The end is of course the most profound point in the story, as well as the most melancholy. At one of the very last social gatherings Marcel attends he can't help but notice how terribly everyone has aged. Oddly enough, it just now seems more apparent than ever. Proust muses on how literature has the profound ability to freeze moments of history in time. This rings true for him because he is the perfect example of what Freud would refer to as a man who replaced love and sex with research. Also, he is the perfect example of what Modernism would later become obsessed with, which is time, and the inherent difficulties that its philosophical significance carries. Given his fragile, physical state of being, it seems all too appropriate that his life goal was to offer us this intellectual insight into one of the richest moments of European history, that is, as opposed to actually living it."The idea of Time was of value to me for yet another reason: it was a spur, it told me that it was time to begin if I wished to attain to what I had sometimes perceived in the course of my life, in brief lightning-flashes, on the Guermantes way and in my drives in the carriage of Mme de Villeparisis, at those moments of perception which had made me think that life was worth living. How much more worth living did it appear to me now, now that I seemed to see that this life that at every moment we distort can be restored to its true pristine shape, that a life, in short, can be realised within the confines of a book!"

  • Malini Sridharan
    2018-12-07 15:16

    This book is good reading if you have huge chunks of captive free time (like my 50 minute train commute).If you cannot dedicate at least 1.5 hrs a day, 4-5 days a week to reading, it is probably not worth starting. At that pace, I finished the novel in about 4 months with a week break between each volume and a few days of desperate magazine huffing in the middle of Guermantes Way. I read half in the modern library classics edition and half in the newer penguin translation. I had an easier time with Moncrieff (modern lib). However, Moncrieff's style of translation doesn't really seem to fit with the temporal setting of the book as well as the newer translator's versions. In Moncrieff, it seemed suprising that girls played tennis and were willing to show their ankles. So I guess it is kind of draw which translation to go for.Proust's insights read kind of like well stated prose poems from a high school girl's journal at times. I guess maybe all but Time Regained and parts of Swann's Way were like a super complicated YA novel. There is definitely a lot to get out of the book, it is just strange to try to describe something that is so long and has such a mystique of awesomeness and impossibility built around it. It's pretty amazing all the references to this book floating around in modern lit-- I missed all but the madelines until I read it. So yeah, it was real, it was fun, it was real fun.

  • Lee
    2018-11-15 12:05

    Swann's WayThe gateway to a full-on Proust habit. About varieties of love: eros (carnal), agape (unconditional/motherly), societal (admiration), divine (mystical/aesthetic). That last one isn't old-fashioned denominational GOD LOVE, but more like a recognition of the wonder of existence/beauty, often tinged with a wistfulness, or melancholy, since the instance of divine love is experienced without warning or reason and then only remembered/recaptured with decreasing intensity thereafter. Importantly, this sort of divine love requires one to have an innate capacity to experience moments of incapacitating/life-elevating beauty. The narrator has it, Swann does too, others also suggest an experience of rapture. (Others not so much -- I'm looking at you, Odette). Everyone knows the famous madeleine, but the other similar motifs/vehicles of ecstatic beauty come to the reader in passages just as good/memorable/beautiful about pink hawthorns and a phrase in a sonata. Not the stuff of visceral plot-driven fiction, alas. No plot. It's also about the experience of TIME, of course, and the book's length and approach exercise the reader's memory and reinforce a sense that time in the novel has really passed, in part because it's been days since you'd read a passage or image referred to later on. Sometimes felt suffused with chrysanthemum dust. Best when discussing solo apprehension of the divine. Slowest when about carnal superficial love and attendant tilt-a-whirl adolescent worries (like what little I've read of Balzac, Stendhal), and related highly calibrated societal sensitivities. Words I'd use to describe the prose and approach would include mixolydian, serpentine, rapturous, velveteen. At times like a psychedelic Stendhal, sort of. Good call by the translators to name the first volume Swann's Way instead of Meseglise Way, the true name of the path but not nearly as catchy a title! 4.5 stars rounded up for canonical status and the sense that it must be re-read to really appreciate once the whole thing's been completed. It's clear now that I'm 250 pages into the second volume that the prose in the first volume is softer, sort of prissier, redolent of youth in the country, more innocent than it is at least later on when it offers plenty of writer-related talk and brothels. A good time of year to read this stuff -- something about it matches the light in September (ie, it's "radiant" or "luminous"), although that might also have to do with the beautifully formatted Modern Library paperbacks. Within A Budding GroveNow just past his adolescent years, our nameless little narrator friend spends time at the Balbec beach and basks in the ambit of some fine young lasses after chatting with a kindly ambassador and a famous (albeit brutishly dressed and mannered!) writer he admires. The bits with Bergotte, the great writer, were fun -- I love great writers as imagined by great writers (the only other one I can think of is Arnheim in Musil's The Man Without Qualities, Vol. 1). I'm having trouble recapturing all that's covered in this one, particularly early on, since I somehow started it about six weeks ago. Good to see Swann and Odette years later, comparatively settled down, to feel like I'd experienced their most passionate episodes and now know them well, can see the world through their eyes and appreciate changes in character. Little narrator dude alludes to time spent in a brothel, just chatting of course, and in general seems a lot less wispily enthralled by pink hawthorns. Once he travels to the beach, he recognizes young yearning ladies but has a low estimation of his ill self and sort of holds his tail between his legs and talks not of sharing in their yearning but appreciating young ladies for how interesting they might be, something which at first seemed indicative of the author/narrator's sexuality but also nicely setup a change of tune (from bashful whistle to let's get it on) after hundreds of pages. Narrator hangs with some male folks his age, particularly Saint-Loup, who really stands out at first, erect as a silver bishop on the swirly shifting societal chess board, a kind kindred aristocratic kid for Marcel to marvel at and befriend. For the most part, over 730 pages, all that really happens (ie, in terms of a concentrated burst of action) is he tries to mack on a hot little lady who's asked him to come sit by her bedside after pressing on his hand, giving him meaningful looks, and speaking "the language of affection" with him, and so when he leans in to kiss her . . . I won't give it away since it's a relatively pleasurable payoff on page 701. This long second installment seems a little more solid as narrator comes into his own, essentially sides with writing over an ambassadorial career, and then develops his eye for beauty in art, nature, and pale little dark-haired ladies wired to please, all near the sea with its sets of waves as liquidy and luminously lapidary as the prose, as always. A cathedral is associated with rocky cliffs along the sea while talking to a cool painter guy who sees everything's intricacy and serves as role model and ambassador to the girls. Something continually of interest is the lack of Christian religious significance/influence and the suggestion that a sort of mystical artistic perception (all elements of life are embued with beauty!) transform the world into a cathedral. The end's very much about the first stirrings of adolescent eros, whose innocence is underscored by the hysterical tilt-a-whirl romance between Swann and Odette in the "Swann in Love" section of Swann's Way. This one ends with the recognition of his reserve of passion within, sort of how the first one ended with recognition of his reserve of divine love/artistic perception. It's not so much a "five star" book in itself -- some stretches really dragged and others soared -- but the overall project (its themes, characters, settings, execution, insight, and particularly its language of course) is without a doubt at least seven stars. Monumental without being monstrous at all. The Guermantes WayFive stars for the project, four stars for the bulk of this installment, although it leaps beyond stars every once in a while, which keeps me reading/rating it five stars. It's tough to pull off hundreds of pages of shallow conversations in super-rich salons of bygone Paris, but MP does it. Scenes of conversations among sometimes insufficiently characterized artistocratic characters is exactly the sort of stereotype old-timey canonical novels come up against when derided by those who've never read them. Questions readers tend to ask are: 1) what the heck are they talking about and 2) who the heck's talking anyway? Within those scenes are nuggets, morsels, scrumptious bon mots for the attentive reader to savor, but I often found myself fighting upstream through these long passages to get to the good stuff for me in Proust: Marcel rehashing things solo, self-analyzing, taking off on essayistic benders. Like in The Magic Mountain, another major modernist touchstone, where Hans gets caught in a blizzard and the novel hits an eighteen-star peak, in this one, at the beginning of section two, more than midway through, I think, the self-contained ~30 pages about Marcel's granny are about as good as it gets in lit. The sort of thing that's so good, so affecting, so smoothly rendered, so poignant, as they say, that the light of proceedings streaming fore and aft is refracted through its prism (I hope you're picturing the cover of "The Dark Side of Moon") -- like these ~30 pages of serious meaningfulness focus and color the narrator's grayscale social ambitions, emotional longings, and disillusionment with it all. Sodom and GomorrahLet's say three stars for interminable party scenes and seven stars for solo Marcel going on about grandma and dreams and seeing an airplane for the first time (maybe my favorite page/paragraph so far -- the end of 581 and most of 582). Oh place names reduced to their historical tribal derivation and places reduced to fancy homes where one is always welcome. That's sort of like the opposite of the madeline-induced association -- instead of something small mysteriously opening up rich far-reaching memories, experience transforms the wide-open endless mysteries of a girl on the beach, the name of a town along a train route, and the lofty aristocratic salons of Paris to something lesser/known if not quite quotidian. Oh Marcel, you lover of mystery, you mystic (pink hawthorns, Vinteuil's little phrase, Elstir's radiant sea cliffs), always flipping/flopping between incantations of adoration and indifference (whatever it takes to win the girl). Mostly didn't like how narrator condescends to his characters but toward the end I saw the point that he'd been disillusioned by, first, Parisian aristocratic circles and then Balbec's fancy/pretentious untitled folks. Spoiler: everyone's an invert. Loved the opening essay on inverts. (I love the word invert.) Albertine waltzing with a female friend in a mutally arousing way, with tah-tahs touching -- shocking! I don't have too much to say about how Marcel handles inversion. I suppose it's outdated but also, as a reader, I couldn't help being like dude the reason you're flipping and flopping about marrying Albertine and worried about her lady lovin' is that you, the author, clearly want to press your chest to the chest of someone named Albert. Didn't quite buy narrator's freakout about Albertine toward the end -- seemed histrionic/forced -- but loved the cliffhanger. In general, glad this one's over and glad I made it through. The prose pulls you through even if the characters don't seem as loved by the author as much as the artists Bergotte and Elstir, or revered friends like Saint-Loup. M. de Charlus (extraordinarily well characterized after hundreds of pages devoted to the book's most variable prickly invert supreme) and Morel (at this point, not much more than a cutout quarry of a handsome virtuoso violinist) are not the most charming folks. Nevertheless, dog-eared dozens of pages, especially toward the end, of Proust-y excellence. Flowing insight wins the day and makes the dual whirlpools of not always so scintillating chitchat worthwhile. Five stars for In Search of Lost Time so far -- four stars for this volume. The Captive and the FugitiveThe longest book I've ever read, longer than those with many more pages. I don't mean the complete Search -- I'm referring to this volume, a mere 936 pages that took me forever. If I'm honest with this impression, I should admit that I find Proust sort of stupefying most of the time. I can only read 15 pages at a time without dosing off or reaching for my phone. But every once in a while there's an image or insight that makes it all worthwhile. I mean, the book is regularly studded with the best of things I look for in books, my copy is regularly dogeared, but this installment is dense and nutso. For the most part, Marcel is with Albertine but doesn't want to be with her ("The Captive"), but once she's gone ("The Fugitive") he's obsessed with her again, madly in love, until he learns of her sudden spoiler alert. Most of the musing seems to be about whether Albertine is getting it on with women. The finest section, up there with the description of the grandmother's death, describes Albertine asleep. It's not riveting but it's surely real good and maybe even the best ever. Other bits take off, especially about music and Venice but they're not as clear as the bit about Albertine sleeping. When Proust's prose clarifies an image, be it a little phrase in a concerto, pink hawthorns, an airplane rising into the sky, or his lover asleep, he's the best. For me, when he brings the aristocracy on stage, he doesn't totally falter at all but I fall asleep. Memorable bits in this include asking Andree if he can watch as she gets it on with another woman -- or at least gently caresses a woman's arm. Also, the revelation about M. de Charlus and Odette, and about St. Loup at the end. In general, like in Stendhal's "The Red and the Black," this depicts (more in summary than in scene) the tilt-a-whirl game-playing dynamics of the ending of an intense relationship. The gist is: say or do exactly the opposite of what you really want to say or do -- insincere concealment is essential to successful manipulation of a lover. As a non-reader, I hate that shit so much, but on the page, it's less frustrating/childish, although Marcel is starting to seem more and more to me like a manipulative obsessive sociopath. I mean, he can't seem to look at a young lady without wondering if she's a lesbian. In the end, it seems like he wrote 900+ pages of this volume so he could embed this bit of straightforward editorializing: "Personally, I found it absolutely immaterial from a moral point of view whether one took one's pleasure with a man or woman, and only too natural and human that one should take it where one could find it" (p 934). The violinist signs his letters to male lovers "Bobette" -- similarly I don't think I've ever really totally believed that Albertine (who at one points wants her "pot broken," a euphemism for buggery) is not actually an Albert -- Gilberte is a thinly veiled Gilbert and Andree is really an Andre. Also, Marcel at one point says he'll get the commoner Albertine a yacht and a Rolls Royce -- the class stuff maybe makes me less a full-on lover of this? The prose is fantastic at times, the insight impeccable, but everything's so high-falutin and a bit unbelievable, especially the society stuff. More later -- it's hard to summarize since I've already forgotten so much, which seems like part of the point of Mr. Proust's massive project -- over time Marcel forgets Albertine; I've forgotten the first pages by the time I've reached the end. One more volume to go in the fall, before I read it all again 10 years from now. Also, the bare thigh on the cover of this one has maybe been photoshopped to the point of seeming unhealthily thin? Time RegainedTo say I've read the complete seven-volume novel now is truth and lie since it'll take a few more trips down the pair of "ways" and "transversals" before I can really call this "read." Maybe my favorite volume for the fifty-page stretch where M. explicitly addresses the work to come. Some of the best writing about writing I've read. Otherwise, threads are tied up -- plus there's literal tying up (bondage), pedophilia (only a mention), WWI in Paris, zeppelins and airplane fighters at night (the prose takes off during the wartime sections). Toward the end everything is degraded by age, war, perversion -- entropy uber alles. The shortest and most accessible volume -- I'd maybe even suggest that intrepid readers might want to try reading this first before Swann's Way? Every fifth page dogeared. Proust, by this volume, has perfected his epigrammatic skills, for sure. Now at the end I have a better grasp on everyone in the world of Paris, Combray, Balbec and I'll appreciate it more next time through -- a volume a year every year forever. In this one, there was some satisfaction that M's stated intentions regarding solitude and society, and the moments of perception that make life worth living, jibed with my impressions of the novel -- it worked for me exactly as M. states he hoped it would. I experienced what had been experienced as the language sharpened as M. emphasized an impression's importance -- the maybe-too-famous madeleine, the pink hawthorns in bloom, the little phrase in the sonata, the aeroplane climbing the sky, his grandmother's death, Albertine asleep, slipping on uneven paving stones, sitting in a library room conceiving this cathedral dress of an Arabian Nights-like masterpiece -- ie, all these memorable solo ecstastic moments of sensory intensity rendered in riveting and superclear language, compared to long scenes in society of always perceptive yet oft-soporific calibrations of character. Loved that the church at Combray was ruined during the war; the image of old Odette; Charlus ultimately a depraved exaggeration of what he'd been; the tragic dissolution of Saint-Loup and the flat-bottom of his daughter's nose, same as her mother and grandmother's; M. the narrator dissolving into Marcel the author. As with most of these volumes, there were stretches were I was like will I really give this four stars? But then Proustian expository overdrive would kick in and save the day. Again, this was really just an introduction to a text I'm sure I'll return to throughout life thanks to its wisdom and insight, its structure and exemplary language, its world and its riches.

  • gufo_bufo
    2018-11-23 13:53

    Dopo averlo letto in una traduzione non molto soddisfacente, tento una rilettura in lingua, e provo la stessa sensazione di quando io, miope da sempre, esco dal negozio dell'ottico indossando un nuovo paio di occhiali con la gradazione aggiornata, e alzo lo sguardo verso gli alberi, e mi accorgo che quelle chiome che prima percepivo come macchie verdi sono in realtà composte di foglie. Ecco, è una rilettura lentissima, in cui mi godo ogni singola parola-foglia, invece di sorbire questa densissima prosa frase per frase - ritmo che già non sarebbe agile né scorrevole, data la lunghezza media dei periodi proustiani. Mi godo il piacere di scoprire quanto bene lo ricordassi dalla prima lettura; il piacere di imparare parole nuove; il piacere un po' maligno di vedere che i punti in cui la traduzione mi aveva lasciato scontenta o dubbiosa nella lingua originale scorrono che è una meraviglia. Mi durerà un anno, 'sto libro, ma sarà un anno speso bene.

  • Mitchel
    2018-11-21 12:13

    Every page of this book is packed with gorgeous, poetic writing and jaw-dropping, often hilarious psychological observation. Proust does not prop himself up with over-complex structures, is not confusing, is not gratuitously strange. He understood life preternaturally well and wrote about it preternaturally well. This is the novel of all novels. But read cautiously: Proust will dissect your most intimate thoughts and motivations, and he will be as accurate as a sniper. "All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last."

  • Mimi
    2018-12-05 13:18

    This is a physically beautiful collection of seven books that I own, that I know I will never read. Got as far as page 50 in the first volume before I realized the whole series is about Proust waxing poetics about himself--it's actually not that terrible or terribly boring. He has a nice way with words, but he's not for me, especially now that I don't have to read gigantic classics anymore.That's not the problem though. The problem is I can't seem to let go of these books, and I really should. They deserve a nice loving home and someone who loves Proust. But...they're just so beautiful and beautifully made too. Smooth paper (there's almost a buttery feel to each page), solid print, feels good in the hand, lovely design overall. I just love having these books sitting on my shelf, looking so posed and smart. Really classes up my entire library.

  • trovateOrtensia
    2018-11-28 10:54

    Leggendo le lettere di Cristina Campo a Gianfranco Draghi, m'imbatto in questa frase. E qui mi piace trascriverla:"Che potenza doveva avere la madeleine di Proust... ma tutto dipende dalle labbra che bevono."

  • gufo_bufo
    2018-11-27 10:14

    21 ottobre 2010. Ho finito oggi "Dalla parte di Swann", ci ho messo solo un mesetto: c'è proprio tutto quello che mi aspettavo, la prosa lenta limacciosa e fluviale, l'analisi minuziosa di stati emotivi e di coscienza che neanche Sant'Agostino nelle Confessioni, tutto il mondo inizio Novecento, le citazioni artistiche che mi hanno portato a pratiche compulsive come quella di stampare da internet le riproduzioni delle opere citate per metterle in mezzo al libro, così la mia edizione economica BUR diventa un libro riccamente illustrato. L'edizione BUR ha un certo bisogno di essere migliorata, perché ha un sacco di errori di stampa (spero di poter mettere tra questi "un'altro") e una traduzione assai disinvolta nell'uso dei relativi e generosa di anacoluti. Non è sano provare il bisogno di fare l'analisi logica a un periodo di venti righe; e se mi trovo a pensare "chissà com'era in francese", vuol dire che la traduzione non è il massimo.Non so se sarà l'amore di una vita o un'infatuazione passeggera (Swann dice di Odette: "E pensare che ho buttato via degli anni, che ho desiderato morire, che il mio più grande amore l'ho avuto per una donna che non mi piaceva, che non era il mio genere!"), non so neanche se riuscirò a leggerlo tutto o se finirà tra i libri abbandonati, ma certo è un libro che su uno snob lascia il segno.17 novembre 2010. Finito "All'ombra delle fanciulle in fiore". Continua a piacermi. Reggerò?Diverso il discorso per la traduttrice, che ostinatamente usa il pronome "gli" riferendosi a donne, e mi mette pulci nell'orecchio: quando parla di "una rilegatura di marocchino sul frontespizio della quale era inserita una placchetta di 'cuoio' dove era inciso a mezzo rilievo un ramo di miosotis", non avrà confuso cuir e cuivre, cuoio e rame?15 dicembre 2010. Finito "I Guermantes", comincio ad accusare un po' la stanchezza. Però trovo frasi come questa: "Le raffinate pietanze che ci venivano servite davano piacere alla mia immaginazione come alla mia golosità; a volte persisteva in esse un frammento della natura dalla quale erano state estratte, acquasantiera rugosa dell'ostrica nella quale permane qualche goccia di acqua salata, tralcio nodoso, pampino ingiallito d'un grappolo d'uva, incommestibile, poetico e lontano come un paesaggio, e che evocavano via via, durante il pranzo, sieste sotto una vigna, o gite sul mare". Quell'acquasantiera rugosa mi riempie di invidia.7 gennaio 2011. Finito "Sodoma e Gomorra". Grande letteratura, che mi conferma nel desiderio di prendere a scudisciate i responsabili di una traduzione sciatta e di un editing inesistente. A parte il contenuto, l'oggetto-libro è deplorevole.27 gennaio 2011. Finito "La Prigioniera". Dio, che infelicità l'amore chez Proust, così autoreferenziale, segnato dall'impossibilità di conoscere l'altro e insieme dalla necessità di sentire nell'altro il mistero, altalenante tra la sofferenza della gelosia e la noia in assenza di gelosia, con quell'Io accampato al centro della scena che gode a contemplare Albertine addormentata perché solo allora è solo "immagine di ciò che precisamente era mio, e non dell'ignoto". Un amore a cui non interessa tanto dell'altro, impegnato com'è a registrare i propri moti e le proprie emozioni, a contemplarsi l'ombelico. Un amore che ama solo se stesso, e magari non è neanche ricambiato.Pensierino da femminista: fossi stata io al posto di Albertine, non avrei aspettato la fine del quinto volume per andarmene. Ho sofferto di claustrofobia per le ultime 450 pagine.17 febbraio 2011. Finito "La Fuggitiva": che non parla tanto di Albertine, fatta morire subito dopo la sua partenza, quanto dell'oblio da parte di Marcel, fino alla confessione finale: "Il mio amore per Albertine non era stato che una forma passeggera della mia devozione alla giovinezza". Carissima, rassegnati e riposa in pace: non ti ha mai amato.Veramente innamorate sono invece le pagine dedicate a Venezia, da leggere e rileggere senza saziarsi mai di oro e zaffiri, luce e acqua, marmo e vetro, Carpaccio e Fortuny. Ho cominciato a leggere "Dalla parte di Swann" a settembre in Normandia, con un devoto pellegrinaggio a Combray e a Balbec; ora è urgente tornare a Venezia per riguardarla con questi occhi.14 marzo 2011. Finito l'ultimo volume. Indimenticabile la sfilata dei personaggi invecchiati, irrigiditi, morenti, sul palcoscenico della matinée Guermantes, parata mortuaria che raccoglie fili narrativi e sottolinea il disegno fermo, preciso, architettonicamente progettato. Anche se queste lenti per guardarsi dentro non sono fatte per i miei occhi, ho già voglia di ricominciare a leggerlo da capo.

  • Hossain Salahuddin
    2018-12-04 11:02

    “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”French novelist Marcel Proust (1871-1922) is probably the greatest and most influential novelist of last 100 years in any language. Proust spent the last 14 years of his life, lying on a narrow bed, writing an unusually long novel titled 'À la recherché du temps perdu' or 'In search of lost time'. Since the publication of the first of the 7 volumes in 1913, 'In search of lost time' has been hailed as a masterpiece, and is consistently chosen by the critics and the public as the greatest novel of the twentieth century.'In search of lost time' (also known by the previous title 'Remembrance of things past') contains over three thousand pages, a million and a half words, and more than four hundred individual characters. It is the longest novel in world literature and undoubtedly a daunting task to begin. However, as the reader gets drawn into it, the daunting bit finally comes to an end. One needs to be aware that, in order to enjoy Proust’s work in full, the more one knows about his life is the better. This is the case with all writers to some extent, but with Proust it is so to an unparalleled degree. In search of lost time is all about the narrator’s past, the experience he has had, often in the minutest detail; the many people he has known, their characters, appearance and habits. In an almost autobiographical way, the life of the narrator of the novel almost mirrors that of Marcel Proust.Proust’s biographers have a great time identifying the models for his characters amongst the people who knew him. Despite this autobiographical overtone, none of the characters are modelled on any one person. For example, the beautiful Albertine, whom the narrator loves, grew out of the many girls Proust knew and loved in his early years in Paris. They are an amalgam of several people, several physical traits, personal characteristics and situations, and it is this reworking of memory that is the subject of the novel 'In Search of lost time'. To some extent, all writers recaptured memory before Proust, and all writers have certainly done it since, however, no one has done it with such charm, wit, intelligence and perception, and no writer has produced work which had such profound effect upon his readers.In writing 'In search of lost time', what interested Proust was the human relationships in real life situations. His privileged birth and his connections led him into the society of the rich and idle, what was considered by some to be the top of french society. The imaginary world Proust created from this unique experience is the centrepiece of 'In Search of lost time'. In addition, Proust effortlessly incorporated many radical and world-shattering ideas into his novel. There are many distinct philosophical themes throughout 'In Search of lost time', however, two of the major recurring themes are time and involuntary memory. The taste of a madeleine dipped in tea makes the narrator to recall his childhood visit to Combray, a fictional country town. In this novel, Proust shows us that although time conquers everything, time also can be defeated through art and thus past can be recaptured and relived.In this monumental novel Proust also points out the causes behind the loss of time and encourages his readers to stop wasting time and begin appreciating their lives. In Proust’s view, human beings, most of the time, walk past fascinating kinds of experiences without really looking at them, studying them - and that’s what Proust wants his readers to do. He wants his readers to take their time to appreciate how rich and interesting the world is. The advantage of taking Proust’s suggestion of not going too fast is that the world suddenly becomes more interesting in the process.Proust’s last years were so plagued by bouts of asthma and his determination to finish what he has began, that it would seem to most people, that this hermit, who slept by day and worked at night, led a dismal existence. His walls were lined with cork to keep out the noise of the day time world. He could hardly go out without getting attacks of breathlessness. His friends could only see him if they met on unsociable midnight hours. He never found anyone to love or be loved by on a stable basis.However, his work was his life, through it Proust lived, and that the world is a richer and more humane place because of his remarkable work 'In search of lost time', is without doubt. Anyone who reads this towering work of literature will never be quite the same again. A peculiar warmth and humour pervades this vast novel. Proust asks so many philosophical questions, examines so many corners of human lives and mercilessly uncovers hypocrisy and evil, as well as charm and intelligence, but he does so with wit and sensitivity, and above all generosity of spirit. After putting down 'In search of lost time', readers would know that Marcel Proust’s life was as rich and full as any life can be and the world literature is the better for it.Proust, Marcel. In search of lost time, New York : Everyman's Library, 2001.

  • Rosalba
    2018-11-16 14:00

    Meraviglioso. Non è un tomo, non è l’Everest da scalare, è un viaggio nella memoria, una rievocazione del passato, un percorso fatto di sensazioni e emozioni, il viaggio della vita, da assaporare con la lentezza che lo caratterizza. Non manca nulla in questo capolavoro, tutti i sentimenti sono rappresentati e perciò il lettore non può non ritrovarsi e non condividere le molteplici riflessioni di Marcel Proust sull’infanzia, sull’amore, l’amicizia, l’arte, la letteratura. Unico inconveniente è stato dover maneggiare un unico volume di circa tremila pagine, un po’ faticoso, ma ne è valsa la pena. E’ pieno di post-it e sottolineature a matita (perderò mai quel vizio?) perché in ogni pagina c’è un paragrafo, una frase su cui soffermarsi e riflettere. Lo terrò in lettura perché questo non è un libro da tenere chiuso e riposto nella libreria, è un libro da tenere a portata di mano, sul comodino o sul tavolino accanto alla poltrona, per poterlo aprire in ogni momento in cui c’è la necessità di uscire dalla nostra frenetica quotidianità, per immergersi in un’atmosfera fatta di lentezza, di passato e di ricordi. Così sia.

  • Margaret
    2018-11-27 13:16

    I am somehow to my last In Search of Lost Time review. I'm not sure how this has happened, as it doesn't seem like almost a year ago that I was first ordering Swann's Way and reading the first few pages. I was reading about sleep, falling asleep, and reading about mint tea before violent episodes of flu. Now, almost a year later, I have a set of creased, abused, fallen down from bus seats, fallen out of hands onto driveways editions of Proust, some of which with the marked dates of where the readings for each Proust 2013 week ended. I’ve brought In Search of Lost Time along with me to all sorts of places, and it’s been an adventure when people ask what I’m reading and I say Proust. I was very interesting at parties for a while. From the churches of Combray and the tea and madeleines to the unrecognizable faces of past friends, the journey the Narrator goes on is an incredible one. He grows up, falls in and out of love, different types of love, and writes almost page long sentences because Proust is an amazing literary mind and his translators have preserved his distinct style. It was a year long commitment to read In Search of Last Time and this upcoming Sunday when I’m not sitting down with the Proust reading of the week I’m reminiscing about reading times past.

  • Bert
    2018-12-02 16:01

    In my 20's I attempted Proust Swanns Way, I recall actually throwing the book across my room in frustration. I did not understand how it could be possible to read scentences that never end on themes that seemed so trivial. I came back to Proust in my 40's and ended up spending the best three months of my life consuming his Masterpiece. Maybe I had to grow up and live more before sitting with the monumental task of entering a world so carefully and wisely crafted. I don't believe just anyone at any age could appreciatte what Proust accomplished here but I wish the whole world could, we may be better people for having gone along on the ride that is only Proust. I can now just sit and explore something as common as a flower for hours on end and walk away with a new understanding of life itself thanks to Proust. The mundane and our routines and inner chatter is all there is and it is life and it is beautiful, and I thank Proust (and Woolf) for making me aware and ,I hope, a little bit wiser.

  • Peter
    2018-11-18 17:04

    Im ersten Band befindlich: Unterwegs zu Swann Ich bin hin und weg. Erst auf Seite 271 und trotzdem schon so viel.......Unterwegs zu Swann ausgelesen. Jeden Tag nur ca. 30 Seiten gelesen um ja nur gar nichts zu überlesen. Diese Lektüre hat mein "Lesen" verändert. Werde sogleich mit dem zweiten Band beginnen: Im Schatten junger Mädchenblüte.Bei der Lektüre mittlerweile auf Seite 200. Mittlerweile habe ich aufgehört bemerkenswerte Stellen zu notieren - es gibt einfach zuviele.20.1.2012 Mittlerweile fast den zweiten Band beendet. Ich wollte diesen Band nicht in den Urlaub mitnehmen aus Angst vor: Gepäckverlust, Sand, Meerwasser, Sonnenöl.... Darum hat sich die Lektüre etwas verzögert. Dies hat aber meinem Lesevergnügen nicht geschadet. Es kündet sich jetzt auch bereits die Affäre Dreyfus an und darum werde ich von Louis Begley "Der Fall Dreyfus" nach Beendigung des zweiten Bandes, zwischenlesen. 31.01.2012 Ich habe soeben "Im Schatten junger Mädchenblüte" beendet. Ein unglaubliches, sprachliches Paralleluniversum hat sich fuer mich aufgetan. Ein Konstrukt von unglaublicher Schönheit und "Neuheit". Ich werde keine Pause einlegen und sofort mit dem dritten Band "Guermantes" beginnen.Den Begley werde ich begleitend lesen.11.02.2012 Dieses Proustunviersum fühlt sich mittlerweile vollkommen vertraut an. Man kann das Buch zur Seite legen und drei Tage nicht lesen und wenn man es zur Hand nimmt ist es wie wenn man vor einer Stunde noch darin gelesen hätte.06.04.2012 Soeben Bd. 3 "Guermantes" beendet. Für die Lektüre doch länger gebraucht als ursprünglich gedacht. Aber das lag vorwiegend daran, dass ich nur bei bester "Leseverfassung"weitergelesen habe um nur ja nichts von der Gottesgabe zu "verschütten". 1.5.2012 Nach einer Lesepause mit Band 4 "Sodom und Gomorrha" begonnen. 30.5.2012 Erst auf Seite 293 zuwenig "gute Lesezeit" vorgefunden. Aber einfach nur wunderschön. Kann man ohne Proust zu lesen richtig leben?28.06.2012 Soeben Sodom und Gomorrha beendet. Sehr, sehr interessant wie Proust die einzelnen Szenen miteinander verknüpft, den Faden scheinbar verliert und in einer großen Erzählschleife wieder dort landet wo er hinwollte. Ich erwische mich dabei immer wieder zurückzublättern um die Lektüre des Vortages zu wiederholen. Ich werden eine kurze Proust Pause einlegen um dann mit "Die Gefangene" fortzusetzen. Danach trennt mich nur noch ein Band von "Die wiedergefundene Zeit.15.7.2012 Mit der Lektüre von "Die Gefangene" begonnen. 19.8.2012 Leider erst auf Seite 262 da ich nur wenig qualitätsvolle Lesezeit vorgefunden habe - und Proust lese ich nur in "Bestverfassung". Dieser Text gleicht in seiner Größe einem Meer ohne Ufer. Ich möchte mittlerweile auch keine Ufer mehr sehen und immer so lesend dahintreiben.07.09.2012 Die Gefangene beendet. Das Buch steigert sich in der zweiten Hälfte in ein bis dato von mir nie gelesenes Furioso.Einfach großartig. Wie nach einem Fieberschub brauche ich jetzt Regenerationszeit. Ich werde meine Proustlektüre in zwei bis drei Wochen mit "Die Flüchtige" fortsetzen. 14.10.2012 Es ist Sonntag, schönes Herbstwetter und mit großer Vorfreude beginne ich die Lektüre.04.11.2012 Mittlerweile auf Seite 304 - mitten im großen Abgesang an die Liebe, das Erinnern und das Sterben. Ich komme nicht nach, Zitate für mich aufzuschreiben - sehr oft lese ich Abschnitte nicht um des Verständnisses willen nochmals, sondern weil sie so schön sind.12.11.2012 Die Flüchtige beendet. Das nahende Ende wirft seinen Schatten bis in diesen vorletzten Band. Faszinierend finde ich darüberhinaus, die drei Versionen des Villeparisi-Norpois Diner. Ich habe das Gefühl ein wenig Einblick in den Zauberkasten des Marcel Prousts zu erhalten. Fast liebevoll betrachte ich den letzten Band und freue mich darauf, dieses "gute" Jahr 2012 mit "Die wiedergefundene Zeit" würdevoll zu beschließen.1.12.2012 (Samstag 6 Uhr) Soeben mit der Lektüre begonnen. 29.12.2012 (Samstag 6 Uhr 37)Lektüre beendet. Mein großartigstes, faszinierendstes Leseabenteuer findet nach 14 Monaten sein würdiges Ende. Unglaubliches durfte ich erleben, eine Zeitreise der ganz besonderen Art. Dieses Werk zu beschreiben ist mir nicht möglich ich kann nur mein Staunen beschreiben - nicht einmal das kann ich. So unendlich schön ist dieser Text, so klug so weise. Ich habe die Ich-habe-es-noch-nicht-gelesen Leser für die zukünftigen Lesefreuden bei guten Büchern beneidet. Hier ist es anders - ich kann diese Bücher immer zur Hand nehmen, einige Seiten lesen, und in die Welt von Proust eintauchen und darin versinken. Seine Sprache schärft mir die Gedanken und macht mich stärker. So wird mich Proust auf meinem weiteren Lebensweg begleiten - ich Glücklicher.Noch etwas:Die Buchankündigung zu Anne Carson "Albertine. 59 Liebesübungen" beschreibt dieses Gefühl nach der Lektüre ganz treffend: » Wer von Ihnen je Proust gelesen hat, weiß, wovon ich spreche, wenn ich sage, dass man sich nach der Lektüre der Recherche in einer Nachproust-Wüste befindet … weil einem nichts mehr lesenswert erscheint, und das Einzige, was du dir wünschst, ist, dass dieser Proust noch mal von vorn anfängt, aber natürlich kann er das nicht mehr, und so liest du planlos alles über Proust, Kritisches wie Biografisches, aber das ist nicht dasselbe, und so gibst du es irgendwann wieder dran und stellst fest, dass du schon ’ne ganze Weile in einem Proust-Entzug lebst, und das Leben geht weiter, nur eben etwas grauer.«

  • Josh
    2018-11-24 11:10

    I know it: nobody needs another review of In Search of Lost Time. But with a book this big, it doesn't feel sufficient to slap a star rating on it and say DONE!There's really only one question with regard to this monster, right? Is it worth it?Um, probably? What can I tell you? There's a huge temptation to compose a readymade reflection, something pithy and easily deployed at dinner parties. Yet what a disservice to the book! The dreariest response a novelist can receive is a simple "It's great!" It's almost as dismissive as "It sucks," but has the additional superficial gloss of someone saying it's great only to be kind, or from a want of genuine attention to the thing just read. Plus the pithy review is a disservice to oneself. The opinion calcifies, it becomes the thing you always say about the book, the thing you'll always feel. So anyway I won't bore you with a recap; this here's what I felt. There were times when I counted pages the way one counts minutes in the eternal afternoon of a dusty classroom. And there were times when I was so engrossed that closing the book was like waking from a dream. At times I was appalled -- by the overt sexism, by the narrator's machinations and manipulations -- or annoyed by the preoccupation with all things lovely, the knee-jerk dismissal of anything "ugly." At times I admired his frankness, his ability to admit his own nastiness. Getting his dismal jollies on darling Albertine by rubbing against her while she sleeps, knowing it's despicable the way he tries to keep her to himself, he confesses, "for my pleasure in having Albertine to live with me was much less a positive pleasure than the pleasure of having withdrawn from the world, where everyone was free to enjoy her in turn, the blossoming girl who, if she did not bring me any great joy, was at least withholding joy from others." Or this, where he owns that jealousy is his strongest desire: "Ambition and fame would have left me unmoved. Even more was I incapable of feeling hatred. And yet to love carnally was none the less, for me, to enjoy a triumph over countless rivals. I can never repeat it often enough: it was more than anything else an appeasement." And, of course, there are those famous observations: "It's the terrible deception of love that it begins by engaging us in play not with a woman of the outside world but with a doll inside our brain...."; or, "In matters of crime, where there is danger to the culprit, it is self-interest that dictates confessions; where the offense incurs no penalty, it is self-esteem." These gems show up about every third page.But so what, right? Really, is it worth it?Sure. Why not? On reaching the end, I feel both melancholy and jubilant. Melancholy because I've spent the past two months reading only this novel, and jubilant because, well, I've spent the past two months reading only this novel.One recommendation: if you do it, do it all at once. Otherwise it'll take ten years. Crack open Swann's Way a week before Thanksgiving or whenever your part of the country gets bitter cold and you'll be fixed for diversion through whatever holiday hell's in store for you. Stick to it and by late January you'll hit those last pages feeling like Rocky charging up those chilly Philly steps.Another recommendation: don't go into a La Madeleine and ask for the "I'm reading Proust" discount. You're just embarrassing yourself.Yet another recommendation: if you're reviewing it and your review is in English, calling it "À la recherche du temps perdu" is plain pretentious. You've already got cred for reading the damn thing. You don't go around saying you've read "Cien años de soledad" do you? But for real now, enough stalling: is it worth it? Well, it held my attention over the course of two months and 1.5 million words. And I can rarely sit still for a 90-second Vimeo.

  • Ben
    2018-11-25 11:51

    “How much more worth living did [life] appear to me now, now that I seemed to see that this life that we live in half-darkness can be illumined, this life that at every moment we distort can be restored to its true pristine shape, that a life, in short, can be realized within the confines of a book! How happy would he be, I thought, the man who had the power to write such a book! What a task awaited him!”I wrote reviews of each of the seven volumes of Proust’s classic, À la recherche du temps perdu, with a combined review of The Captive andThe Fugitive simply because the Modern Library published the two works together as one volume, and understandably so as the themes and plot between the two works extensively interweaved. So why, having written reviews of each of these, do I decide to write one on the whole seven-volume work? Well, part of it may be a sort of masochistic tendency. I spend my workweeks reading, researching and writing on topics that bore me only to spend my “free time” researching, reading and writing about topics that do interest me, such as art, literature and film. Perhaps part of it is that I feel a bit cheated out of that one book that I read that wasn’t counted toward my Goodreads reading goal (see beginning of paragraph). But more than either of these reasons, I feel that I want to write a review of the entire 3,000-4,000 page work (depending on the source) because it is one work and it is often listed on works of great literature as such and it is a work that has made a great impact on me. There are many wonderful things to be said of each individual volume, but to really appreciate the work, it must be taken as a whole, for so many of the ideas are like pieces in a grand jigsaw puzzle (an analogy that I have made often in my reviews of the various volumes, and which took on greater meaning for me after recently rewatching one of my favorite films, Citizen Kane, twice for the first time in nearly a decade): you may piece together a scene of the beach at Balbec, scenes depicting jealous lovers, pictures of the Guermantes Way or of the Verdurin salon, and these images might be lovely or interesting in their own ways, but they take on a greater depth and richer complexity when viewed as a whole, much like a great work of art, that you have to step back to really appreciate. Another main reason that I wanted to write a review ofÀ la recherche du temps perdu is because there were a few ideas about the whole work that I feel I didn’t adequately address in any of my other reflections on these seven volumes, mainly some thoughts on inconsistencies in the work and on the idea of preserving pieces of the past through art, or “realiz[ing life] within the confines of a book.” Translated originally by C.K. Scott Moncrieff as Remembrance of Things Past, taken from Shakespeare’s Sonnet 30, it was allegedly not a title that Proust fancied, and years later (well after Proust’s death) the work was translated by D.J. Enright in his revised translation of C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin as In Search of Lost Time. At one point in Time Regained, the last of these seven volumes, Proust writes: “In long books of this kind there are parts which there has been time only to sketch, parts which, because of the very amplitude of the architect’s plan, will no doubt ever be completed. How many cathedrals remain unfinished!” On one hand, there is a beginning, a middle and an end to Proust’s classic, but on the other hand, the work was never finished. Proust added to it over the years to include more details on the narrator’s relationship with Albertine and on the First World War. Much like Balzac, it is likely that even had he lived another ten or twenty years, Proust may have ironed out some of the minor inconsistencies pointed out in the end notes to the Modern Library translations of these volumes, but new inconsistencies might have arisen as Proust added detail to or otherwise amended the manuscript as a whole. For these reasons, I find a few minor details an excusable hiccup in an otherwise extraordinary work of art. If there are any blemishes in this cathedral or this dress (a much more modest comparison that Proust later makes), it only adds to the character of the work and reminds us that even the seemingly perfect have their imperfections, which can be easily overlooked and if noticed easily forgiven in comparison with the far greater merits of the work. Now as for the longevity of art compared to the brevity of life and the ability of art to preserve, at least for some time, the truths in life that we discover and our rich memories of our former selves. This is a subject with which Shakespeare is concerned in many of his sonnets (Sonnet 18 for just one example; Virginia Woolf would also deal with this later on in The Lighthouse). Time decays, but art preserves (at least for a much longer duration). In the following passage, Proust deals with the manner in which time causes our bodies to decay and also the manner in which works of art may also deteriorate with the passing of time: “[The Duke de Guermantes] was no more than a ruin now, a magnificent ruin—or perhaps not even a ruin but a beautiful and romantic natural object, a rock in a tempest. Lashed on all sides by the surrounding waves—waves of suffering, of wrath at being made to suffer, of the rising tide of death—his face like a crumbling block of marble, preserved the style and the poise which I had always admired; it might have been one of those antique heads, eaten away and hopelessly damaged, which you are proud nevertheless to have as an ornament for your study.” But whereas in life we may experience this decay over the course of 80 years or so (as in the case with the Duke), it may take hundreds or even thousands of years for marble busts to crumble. Proust’s narrator (likely a reflection of the author’s own fears) worries about the longevity of his art more than once near the end of Time Regained, notably when the author writes: “No doubt my books too, like my fleshly being, would in the end one day die. But death is a thing that we must resign ourselves to. We accept the thought that in ten years we ourselves, in a hundred years our books, will have ceased to exist. Eternal duration is promised no more to men’s works than to men.”But, just as some people live longer than others, so too some great works are nearly eternal in comparison with their counterparts. We know little of what occurred before our earliest knowledge of written history, around 3,200 BC, but we do know that the earth and humans existed long before that, for at least tens of thousands of years, and perhaps if they did have art or writing abilities, this has just been lost to pre-ancient history. As for our “ancients,” the Greeks and early Romans, we can still say that some of their art is still surviving more than 2,000 years later. Other works of art have disappeared in a much shorter time, some were rediscovered and others perished. And though only less than a century has passed since the last work of Proust was published in his lifetime, I think it is safe to say that his art will live for centuries yet, at least, for he discovered seminal truths in life and his work will stand the test of time. Before wrapping this up, one other thing that I admire Proust for is the respect that he shows his readers. He does not treat them as receptacles to be filled, but as active participants in the reading and discovery process (if we can take the narrator’s views for Proust’s own, which I think would be a fair assumption, particularly in this case):“I thought more modestly of my book and it would be inaccurate even to say that I thought of those who would read it as ‘my’ readers. For it seemed to me that they would not be ‘my’ readers but the readers of their own selves, my book being merely a sort of magnifying glass like those which the optician at Combray used to offer his customers—it would be my book, but with its help I would furnish them with the means of reading what lay inside themselves.” This makes the reader feel more valued. And in giving the reader a lens through which s/he may look deep inside themselves, I think Proust succeeds, for he speaks of nearly universal things like love, jealousy, violent tendencies (sadism and masochism), snobbery, idealization, disappointment with reality, and so on. If not all, we can certainly recognize some of these things within our own selves. Virginia Woolf fawned over Proust’s writing style. Graham Greene called Proust the “greatest novelist of the 20th century.” And Walter Benjamin and W. Somerset Maugham were also quite taken by Proust’s masterpiece. And there is good reason for Proust to be so highly revered. His novel may seem long at the start of the journey, and may at time seem a bit windy, but in the end it all fits together so beautifully and the trip is well worth it, even if we take the much longer scenic route at times. I started reading Proust on New Year’s Day 2014 and finished on June 1st. In five months, we’ve been through the bitter cold days of winter, the rebirth of spring, and we have even started to experience some of the extreme heat that summer is pushing in ahead of itself. I’ve flown halfway across country and back again with this novel in hand (on one of those grand ‘aeroplanes’ that the narrator of Proust’s novel so rightly marveled at). I’ve read him at home, in coffee shops, on a farm, in the city, at night and during the day. And in his many pages he has shown me sides of life that I’ve never seen before and sides of myself that I haven’t taken the time to look at in many years. It was a long journey, but one that will not soon be forgotten.