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In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way Vol 1 by…
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In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way Vol 1 (original 1913; edition 1996)

by Marcel Proust

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7,371106477 (4.26)1 / 462
Member:bgeek
Title:In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way Vol 1
Authors:Marcel Proust
Info:Vintage (1996), Edition: 1St Edition, Paperback, 544 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
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Swann's Way by Marcel Proust (1913)

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English (87)  French (6)  Dutch (5)  Italian (2)  Spanish (2)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (1)  German (1)  Swedish (1)  All (106)
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
Not going to lie, this was a challenge to read and it took me 4 months. "A Love of Swann's" was the biggest chore as it was just energy draining to read about Swann's fanatical jealousy of Odette's imagined (or not) other lovers for two hundred pages. For a few weeks I only managed a page a day. The comparative lightness of the introductory "Combray" and the charm of the childhood crush in the concluding "Place-names: The Name" sections were a relief in comparison.

Trivia
An observation from mid-read:
I'm very keen on ASMR* these days, so re-reading the madeleine passage now, it seems very ASMRish to me: "I carried to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had let soften a piece of madeleine. But at the very instant when the mouthful of tea mixed with cake-crumbs touched my palate, I quivered, attentive to the extraordinary thing that was happening in me. A delicious pleasure had invaded me, isolated me, without my having any notion as to its cause. It had immediately made the vicissitudes of life unimportant to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory, acting in the same way that love acts, by filling me with a precious essence: or rather this essence was not in me, it was me." - pg. 49 in the Lydia Davis translation.

Previously the only literature that has had any ASMR association is a passage from Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf: ""'K . . . R . . .' said the nursemaid, and Septimus heard her say “Kay Arr” close to his ear, deeply, softly, like a mellow organ, but with a roughness in her voice like a grasshopper’s, which rasped his spine deliciously and sent running up into his brain waves of sound which, concussing, broke. A marvellous discovery indeed—that the human voice in certain atmospheric conditions (for one must be scientific, above all scientific) can quicken trees into life!"

*Autonomic Sensory Meridian Response = a pleasurable tingling sensation in the head that radiates down the spine and sometimes further throughout the body. Very few people have this and the apocryphal story is that those who have it will never physically meet any other person that does have it (I can personally vouch for this). With the advent of the internet, experiencers have made connections esp. through cult videos on YouTube where ASMRtists speak softly and perform friction sounds which are the most likely to trigger the response. Painting videos by Bob Ross are also well known to trigger the response due to his gentle, pleasant manner of speaking. ( )
  alanteder | Feb 25, 2017 |
Simon Vance was very good narrating this French classic but Proust's writing style meant that I found it quite difficult to keep my attention on this audiobook. I found that listening while reading the text on my Kindle worked best to focus my attention and increased my enjoyment of the book compared to either solely listening or reading. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jan 19, 2017 |
Proust's lush descriptions and long sentences were not my predilection but I found many of his ideas thought-provoking. Overall the characters and plot were interesting enough that I will continue to the next book in the series. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jan 19, 2017 |
I read the first part, Combray, which was reasonably enjoyable. But then the part about Swanns love became more and more annoying and I gave up, restarting at the last part which unfortunately continued with the endless philosophies about love, this time as experienced by the young author. Reading the afterword in the Dutch translation tells you more or less what you may learn from the novel, but then in a few pages only! If you love the authors style, you may enjoy entire 500 pages. For me, the authors style doesn't really add to the content of the story. I prefer Flaubert. ( )
  stef7sa | Jan 5, 2017 |
The opening book of In Search of Lost Time is Swann's Way. It in turn is divided into three sections, the first being Combray. We enter the world of the narrator as a young boy when he is trying to sleep while being interrupted by his thoughts. It is these thoughts, described as "reflections on what I had just read" that engage us on the first page of this first section of the first of many volumes. The young boy gradually returns to sleep only to find himself dreaming of the origins of woman from the rib of the first man. It may be that this is one way to view the beginnings of Proust's long tale as the origin of the story of one man's life from the imagination of our narrator as he remembers the events of his life as a young boy at the village of Combray in the house of his Aunt Leonie with his parents.

Why is it that reading generates in the imagination of the young boy such strong reflections that they interrupt his sleep? One way to answer this is to look first at the mind from which the imagination emanates. It is a mind described thusly,
"And wasn't my mind also like another crib in the depths of which I felt I remained ensconced . . . When I saw an external object, my awareness that I was seeing it would remain between me and it, lining it with a thin spiritual border that prevented me from ever directly touching its substance; it would volatize in some way before I could make contact with it, just as an incandescent body brought near a wet object never touches its moisture because it is always preceded by a zone of evaporation." (p 85)

Marcel's mind (for Marcel is his name) is invigorated by his reading "from inside to outside, toward the discovery of the truth," reading that aroused his emotions as he experienced the dramatic events in the book. It is these emotions that bring with them an intensity that makes Marcel feel more alive than any other activity. He relates,
"And once the novelist has put us in that state, in which, as in all purely internal states, every emotion is multiplied tenfold, in which his book will disturb us as might a dream but a dream more lucid than those we have while sleeping and whose memory will last longer, then see how he provokes us within one hour all possible happiness and all possible unhappiness just a few of which we would spend years of our lives coming to know and the most intense of which would never be revealed to us because the slowness with which they occur prevents us from perceiving them" (p 87)

It is not only reading that defines young Marcel, but also his relationships with people around him, not only his mother and aunt, but others including the faithful servant Francoise, the wealthy Jewish neighbor Swann, also Legrandin and Bloch who are introduced to him at Combray. Bloch is interesting in part because he introduces Marcel to the writing of Bergotte. It is Bergotte who above all others entrances the young boy.
"In the first few days, like a melody with which one will become infatuated but which one cannot yet make out, what I was to love so much in his style was not apparent to me. I could no put down the novel of his that I was reading, but thought I was interested only in the subject, as during that first period of love when you go to meet a woman every day at some gathering, some entertainment, thinking you are drawn to it by its pleasures. Then I noticed the rare, almost archaic expressions he liked to use at certain moments, when a hidden wave of harmony, an inner prelude, would heighten his style; and it was also at theses moments that he would speak of the "vain dream of life," the "inexhaustible torrent of beautiful appearance," the "moving effigies that forever ennoble the venerable and charming facades of our cathedrals," that he expressed an entire philosophy, new to me, through marvelous images" (pp 95-96)

Reading Bergotte yields a "joy" within Marcel that allowed him to experience "a deeper, vaster, more unified region" of himself. It is through such experiences of reading and the resulting flights of imagination that the reader is introduced to the book that to be read and understood must yield similar emotions for the reader. Yet it is not only reading that thrills Marcel in Proust's story but also, as can be seen from the description of Bergotte's novel, music and its even stronger impact on his imagination. ( )
  jwhenderson | Dec 23, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 87 (next | show all)
Maarten 't Hart bespreekt de nieuwe vertaling van Swanns kant van Marcel Proust. De NRC meldde dat het een slordige vertaling zou zijn. Maarten 't Hart is het daar niet mee eens. Zij is soepeler dan de vroegere vertaling en daardoor prettiger leesbaar.
 
Toch is Swanns kant op een aanwinst, want de lezer heeft nu meer te kiezen: het idioom van De Haan en Hofstede is eigentijdser dan dat van hun voorgangers. Ze schrijven ‘kletspraatjes’ waar Thérèse Cornips, met haar voorkeur voor het schilderachtige, ‘palavers’ schrijft. Proust lezen is al zo’n onalledaagse ervaring (door die lange zinnen, maar ook doordat het verhaal zich in hoge Parijse kringen rond 1900 afspeelt) dat zijn taalgebruik, althans op plaatsen waar het niet gemarkeerd is door een eigenzinnige woordkeus, beter niet te barok vertaald kan worden.
 
Dat gebeurt wel vaker, dat lezers die hartstochtelijk van Proust houden, zich over een vertaling opwinden; op zichzelf is daar niets mis mee. Maar formuleringen die me de wenkbrauwen deden fronsen werden me vervolgens door mijn ergernis voorgespiegeld als onzorgvuldigheden – en dat terwijl de vertalers nu juist uiterst accuraat, daarvan ben ik inmiddels wel overtuigd, te werk zijn gegaan. Verder komen kleine foutjes in elke tekst voor, het is kinderachtig voor een criticus om daar zelfs maar over te beginnen.
 
Ik ben klaar om me te laten bedwelmen door de rest van de cyclus. Ik ben klaar om meer tijd te nemen dit eerste deel te herlezen om Proust dieper te doorgronden, zelfs in zijn meest slaapverwekkende proza, slaap is per slot van rekening ook een vorm van bedwelming. Je suis un proustien.
added by Jozefus | editTzum, Johannes van der Sluis (Jun 15, 2015)
 
Wie graag een iets zwieriger, archaïscher Proust leest, kan misschien het beste voor Cornips kiezen. Wie een voorkeur heeft voor een frissere, scherpere, strakkere stijl, is beter thuis bij De Haan en Hofstede. Maar uiteraard kunnen de vertalingen goed naast elkaar bestaan, en hoeft niemand een definitieve keuze te maken. Als de nieuwe vertaling één ding duidelijk maakt, is het wel dat we ons gelukkig mogen prijzen met twee ijzersterke vertalingen van Prousts meesterwerk.
added by Jozefus | editHP/De Tijd, Dries Muus (May 21, 2015)
 

» Add other authors (105 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Proust, Marcelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Compagnon, AntoineEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Conte, RafaelForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davis, LydiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Enright, D. J.Translation revisionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fernandez, RamonForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Galantière, LewisIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ginzburg, NataliaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Guidall, GeorgeNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Howard, RichardIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kilmartin, TerenceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raboni, GiovanniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Salinas, PedroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scott Moncrieff, C. K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tuomikoski, InkeriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
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First words
Longtemps je me suis couché de bonne heure (Du côté de chez Swann)
Ma mère, quand il fut question d’avoir pour la première fois M. de Norpois à dîner, ayant exprimé le regret que le Professeur Cottard fût en voyage et qu’elle-même eût entièrement cessé de fréquenter Swann, car l’un et l’autre eussent sans doute intéressé l’ancien Ambassadeur, mon père répondit qu’un convive éminent, un savant illustre, comme Cottard, ne pouvait jamais mal faire dans un dîner, mais que Swann, avec son ostentation, avec sa manière de crier sur les toits ses moindres relations, était un vulgaire esbrouffeur que le Marquis de Norpois eût sans doute trouvé selon son expression, «puant». (A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleur)

Le pépiement matinal des oiseaux semblait insipide à Françoise. (Le côté de Guermantes)
On sait que bien avant d’aller ce jour-là (le jour où avait lieu la soirée de la princesse de Guermantes) rendre au duc et à la duchesse la visite que je viens de raconter, j’avais épié leur retour et fait, pendant la durée de mon guet, une découverte, concernant particulièrement M. de Charlus, mais si importante en elle-même que j’ai jusqu’ici, jusqu’au moment de pouvoir lui donner la place et l’étendue voulues, différé de la rapporter. (Sodome et Gomorrhe)
Dès le matin, la tête encore tournée contre le mur, et avant d’avoir vu, au-dessus des grands rideaux de la fenêtre, de quelle nuance était la raie du jour, je savais déjà le temps qu’il faisait. (La prisonnière)
Quotations
"I do feel that it's really absurd that a man of his intelligence should let himself be made to suffer by a creature of that kind, who isn't even interesting, for they tell me she's an absolute idiot!" she concluded with the wisdom invariably shewn by people who, not being in love themselves, feel that a clever man ought to be unhappy only about such persons as are worth his while; which is rather like being astonished that anyone should condescend to die of cholera at the bidding of so insignificant a creature as the common bacillus.
Last words
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Disambiguation notice
Swann's Way is the first volume of Proust's monumental Remembrance of Things Past. However, at least one publisher issued Swann's Way itself (and other volumes of Remembrance of Things Past) as multivolume works. Thus, you can have Swann's Way, Part One which is part 1 of part 1 of Remembrance of Things Past. Thus if you use "Part 1" as part of your book title make sure you distinguish between Part 1 of Remembrance of Things Past and Part 1 of Swann's Way.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0142437964, Paperback)

Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time is one of the most entertaining reading experiences in any language and arguably the finest novel of the twentieth century. But since its original prewar translation there has been no completely new version in English. Now, Penguin Classics brings Proust’s masterpiece to new audiences throughout the world, beginning with Lydia Davis’s internationally acclaimed translation of the first volume, Swann’s Way.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:36 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Presents the first book of Proust's monumental work "Remembrance of Things Past", introducing such themes as the destructive force of obsessive love, the allure and the consequences of transgressive sex, and the selective eye that shapes memories.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 12 descriptions

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