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Proust: The Search by Benjamin Taylor

Proust: The Search

by Benjamin Taylor

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Interesting approach on Proust. But the French quotes are so full of errors, it is a real shame!!
( )
  AMessier | Jan 8, 2017 |
Deanna Tiao from Yale University Press reached out to me for a review of the following book.

Benjamin Taylor's Proust: The Search is a part of the Jewish Lives series from Yale University Press. This biographical account details Proust's journey as a writer and his penultimate work In Search of Lost Time. I have to admit that until I read this book the only thing I knew about Proust was that he was a wordy writer and Steve Carell's character from Little Miss Sunshine was obsessed with him. He was most certainly a flawed man who had to contend with poor health, prejudices against his sexuality, and preoccupation with his chosen craft. The majority of his time was either spent wooing young men or feverishly writing. It seems he was quite feverish in his wooing as well although all of his romances were of short duration. He was passionate, intelligent, and ambitious. While this book is a part of the Jewish Lives series, Proust was not in fact religious. His mother was Jewish and because of that he would often speak up for the Jewish people but as often as not he would stay mute when others would decry the faith...except in reference to Alfred Dreyfus. During the course of the Dreyfus Affair, as it later came to be called, Proust was very interested in the proceedings and outspoken in his beliefs that a miscarriage of justice had occurred. Up until this point, he had been mainly concerned with other writer's and their works but after this he began to reflect on human nature and the changes that occur over time. I've decided to give In Search of Lost Time a shot and I've added it to my TRL. Taylor has certainly hyped it up and only time will tell if it lives up to it. (haha joke about time haha) Fans of biographies will most certainly enjoy this and if you've never really given Proust much thought then a read of this book might just change your mind. 8/10 ( )
  AliceaP | Aug 2, 2016 |
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"...A noteworthy biography of a great writer. This title will attract readers interested in French literature, civilization, and history."
added by KoobieKitten | editLibrary Journal (Oct 15, 2015)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0300164165, Hardcover)

“Taylor’s endeavor is not to explain the life by the novel or the novel by the life but to show how different events, different emotional upheavals, fired Proust’s imagination and, albeit sometimes completely transformed, appeared in his work. The result is a very subtle, thought-provoking book.”—Anka Muhlstein, author of Balzac’s Omelette and Monsieur Proust’s Library
Marcel Proust came into his own as a novelist comparatively late in life, yet only Shakespeare, Balzac, Dickens, Tolstoy, and Dostoyevsky were his equals when it came to creating characters as memorably human. As biographer Benjamin Taylor suggests, Proust was a literary lightweight before writing his multivolume masterwork In Search of Lost Time, but following a series of momentous historical and personal events, he became—against all expectations—one of the greatest writers of his, and indeed any, era.
This insightful, beautifully written biography examines Proust’s artistic struggles—the “search” of the subtitle—and stunning metamorphosis in the context of his times. Taylor provides an in-depth study of the author’s life while exploring how Proust’s personal correspondence and published works were greatly informed by his mother’s Judaism, his homosexuality, and such dramatic events as the Dreyfus Affair and, above all, World War I. As Taylor writes in his prologue, “Proust’s Search is the most encyclopedic of novels, encompassing the essentials of human nature. . . . His account, running from the early years of the Third Republic to the aftermath of World War I, becomes the inclusive story of all lives, a colossal mimesis. To read the entire Search is to find oneself transfigured and victorious at journey’s end, at home in time and in eternity too.”

(retrieved from Amazon Tue, 04 Aug 2015 17:41:25 -0400)

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