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Time Regained by Marcel Proust

Time Regained (1927)

by Marcel Proust

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: In Search of Lost Time (Book 7)

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English (8)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (11)
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bookshelves: currently-reading, fradio, radio-4x, published-1927, wwi, glbt, bdsm, autumn-2013, france
Read on November 18, 2013

Paris is ravaged by the Great War. Marcel despairs at his own failures, but the simplest of discoveries awakens astonishing possibilities. Stars James Wilby.

Spank Me!

Goodness but he tied (handcuffed) everything up well, and at the end of this vast opus we are left with the certain knowledge that Marcel will, at last, sit down and start writing a book; he will start with a bell, a kiss, dipped madeleines, and the sweep of Swann's Way.

That's if folks - a circular epic that pulls every emotion known to man across the red hot coals of time.

2* Swann's Way
2.5* Within a Budding Grove
3* The Guermantes Way
3.5* Sodom and Gomorrah
4* The Prisoner and The Fugitive
4* Time Regained ( )
  mimal | Jan 1, 2014 |
More than a commentary on Swann’s jealousy or M. Charlus’s homosexuality or the frivolity of the Guermantes’ sorties, Marcel Proust’s monumental work In Search of Lost Time paints the unsuccessful reconstruction of a forgone world and a lost existence from fickle memories, which like morning mists would fade with the rising sun. The narrator Marcel, longing for a past that didn’t exist but must be created, sought to experience Bergson’s continuous time rather than the fragmented and still-framed instantaneous moments by attempting to blur the boundaries between Cambray and Paris, childhood and adolescence, and Swann and himself and integrate here and there, before and after, and him and me through memory fragments of previous objects, people and sensations. As in a neural network or a mind-map, the madeleine linked his aunt to his mother, who in turn was linked to Albertine through jealousy, which also connected Marcel with Saint Loop and Swann, who, as with his (Marcel’s) grandmother, linked his childhood and adolescence. And through recollection, Marcel would try to relive the buried years and resurrect his grandmother and Albertine.

But even during the narrative, Marcel realized memory’s willfulness and the variation in hues, shapes, pitch and timbre between the actual object and its mental reconstruction. When he encountered an old friend, the facial features were so different from his recollection and reconstruction, for better or for worse pregnant with all the emotions, preoccupation, biases, that he could not match face with voice.

Because recollected sensation can never equate with the actual experience and time, like a patient thief, steals memories a morsel at a time until one day the owner would realize he was ruined, Marcel ultimately would fail to recapture and assemble stolen sensations and decayed seconds and in the end, must create new moments, new sensations and ultimately a new biography, through the synergy between past experiences and creative imagination. From those deceased hours and decayed memories sprouted In Search of Lost Time, not only Proust’s novel but also that of the narrator.

Whether we savor Marcel’s frailness, Swann’s infatuation, Charlus’s pompousness, Franscoise’s independent-mindedness, the sorties’ frivolousness or the social revelation of the Dreyfuss Affair, we can enjoy Proust’s classic without resorting to Marxist or Freudian or Feminist critique. And the sentences, like the serpentine Amazon, seemed to flow unceasingly into the distant horizon carrying with it the sparkling sunlight. Although ascending the novel’s three thousand pages appears precipitous, the effort will be well worth the while and, at the end of the adventure, the reader can rest on the crisp apex and savor time’s transience and memory’s playfulness as if they were alpine zephyrs. ( )
  Leonard_Seet | Oct 3, 2012 |
The final, shining volume of "In Search of Lost Time;" partly about the war, partly (and most importantly) about a meditation and a rediscovery of the progress of time in our lives, about memory, the many and varied encounters we have with the characters that form the story of our lives, and ultimately about finding the inspiration to give meaning to all of this, to record it all as a literary masterpiece, in a way turning "In Search of Lost Time" into an astonishingly beautiful and delicate story about its own creation and reason of being. ( )
  jorgearanda | Mar 14, 2011 |
I once read a review on Proust’s work that authoritatively informed me that by reading "In Search of Lost Time" it would make me a more perceptive reader and a better writer. Having just finished the series, I can’t vouch for that yet but I can say that it was the most challenging, enriching, and comprehensive narrative I’ve ever read. Proust was a master of words. There must be a million ways to express the pain of losing a loved one, the fear and anxiety of knowing you have been cheated on, the pride and joy of success, and the melancholy of contemplating death. And Proust used them all. The pain was palpable, but throughout the series, as he ruminated about his life and the lives of his many friends and acquaintances, his neurotic rambling was often astoundingly humorous.

Volume VII, the conclusion of "In Search of Lost Time", brings the reader full circle. Twenty years have past since Marcel entered society. He suffered love that didn’t last, and friendships that he came to feel “only existed in his mind”. He never married nor had children. He had always intended to write that great novel and accumulated pages upon pages of material but was always so easily distracted. And even though he was a part of the highest circles of society, after he lost Albertine, he moved back to Combray (where he spent his childhood) and became a recluse. Now suffering poor health and depression he fears he will never fulfill his life’s goal and become a successful writer. He realizes all those years of idle play going to “barbarian festivals called dinner parties” was just wasted or “Lost Time”.

In many ways "Time Regained" was my favorite of the series. After a prolonged absence from society Marcel attends a reception at the Guermantes’. Proust uses this “dinner party” scene (over 250 pages) to bring together all the primary characters of the series. It’s a colossal reunion. Marcel gets to see who survived World War I and who triumphed in society. The setting is the same, but everything has changed. Many of the revered are now white haired and wrinkled, feeble and obsolete. Marcel is forced to face the harsh reality that he too is aging, running out of time. But while at the dinner party Marcel makes a miraculous discovery. He begins to have a vivid recollection of forgotten incidents from his past and has the joyous revelation that he could still produce his opus, or at least he will try, and perhaps if his health holds out, he will succeed. The conclusion of "In Search of Lost Time, Time Regained" is a precious culmination of Marcel’s visual perceptions of all the society people and his philosophical reflections of growing old, the regrets of lost time, and the hope of regaining one last chance to find meaning in life.

Ironically, Proust died before the last three volumes of "In Search of Lost Time" were ever published. ( )
  LadyLo | Mar 1, 2010 |
What is there to say about this book. It wasn't as good as the earlier parts of the work, but that is easily attributable to the posthumous publication and lack of final editing. Still though an amazing work.

The shocking thing that you discover - or at least that I discovered - in this book is how little of the narrator's life is actually portrayed in the text. The text is so nuanced and subtle that I often was left with the impression that I completely knew the character, but that just isn't the case. We see in the part that the narrator has suddenly gotten old...hard to say how old...in his 50's I think. And retrospectively, we see that he may have been older in the past several books than we thought.

In passing he mentions having fought duels and his military service. These things don't jive with the picture of the narrator that I had in my mind, but that is because we cannot really know the narrator based on the brief - though lengthy in text - encounters that we've had with him. Each part of the larger work only really describes a moment or an afternoon or a summer in the entire life of the character.

I am sad that I am finished and have no more Proust to look forward to. ( )
  zip_000 | Feb 2, 2010 |
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» Add other authors (77 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Proust, Marcelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Berges, ConsueloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Enright, D. J.Translation revisionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kilmartin, JoannaRevision of guidesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kilmartin, TerenceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mayor, AndreasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suni, AnnikkiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Jag skulle knappast ha någon anledning att uppehålla mig vid denna vistelse i närheten av Combray - en tid då jag kanske mindra än någon annan gång i mitt liv tänkte på Cpmbray - om det inte just av den orsaken åtminstone provisoriskt hade bekräftat vissa tankar som först hade kommit för mig i trakten kring Guermantes, och även andra tankar som sysselsatt mig i trakten kring Méséglise.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375753125, Paperback)

Time Regained, the final volume of In Search of Lost Time, begins in the bleak and uncertain years of World War I. Years later, after the war’s end, Proust’s narrator returns to Paris and reflects on time, reality, jealousy, artistic creation, and the raw material of literature—his past life. This Modern Library edition also includes the indispensable Guide to Proust, compiled by Terence Kilmartin and revised by Joanna Kilmartin.

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

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:54:24 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The final installment of French writer Marcel Proust's autobiographical novel, in which the narrator returns to Paris after World War I and reflects upon his life thus far. Includes a guide to all of "In Search of Lost Time" containing character, person, place, and theme indexes.… (more)

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