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In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way Vol 1 by…

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

by Marcel Proust

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Title:In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way Vol 1
Authors:Marcel Proust
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Swann's Way by Marcel Proust (1913)


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English (72)  French (4)  Dutch (3)  Spanish (2)  Italian (2)  Norwegian (1)  Portuguese (1)  All languages (85)
Showing 1-5 of 72 (next | show all)
(There are no "spoilers," I promise.)

"A sleeping man holds in a circle around him the sequence of the hours, the order of the years and worlds" — bedrooms; "the immobility of things" — habit — the magic lantern — weather; barometers — "Bathilde! Come and stop your husband from drinking cognac!" — the consolation of Mama's goodnight kiss — M. Swann — "our social personality is a creation of the minds of others" — "like good poets forced by the tyranny of rhyme to find their most beautiful lines" — "Since we tear the band off the newspaper so feverishly ever morning, they ought to change things and put into the newspaper, oh, I don't know, perhaps ... Pascal's Pensées!" — Françoise's "imperious" code — "that gesture" of Swann's "so like his father" — photographs and the "mechanical mode of representation" — George Sand — the Celtic belief of lost souls — the madeleine and tisane: "the truth I am seeking is not in the drink, but in me" — "the immense edifice of memory" — "a sort of twilight of flowers" — where everybody knows your name — "What, Françoise, more asparagus! Why, you've got a regular mania for asparagus this year." — the church at Combray — "it was always to the steeple that we had to return, always the steeple that dominated everything" — M. Legrandin, "the epitome of the superior man" — "in which Art allowed me a presentment of what it was," or actors' names — the lady in pink — Giotto's Virtues and Vices — the "different states of mind which my consciousness would simultaneously unfold while I read" — Bloch, barometers, Berma, and Bergotte's "mirrors of truth which were his books" — the etymological corruption of saints' names — Léonine's "little routine" — M. Vinteuil — "It was in the Month of Mary that I remember beginning to be fond of hawthorns" — "theatre in bed" — asparagus and chamber pots — Françoise's paradoxical pity — alter egos — the Méséglise way (the way by Swann's) and the Guermantes way — "blushing bodies undone by breath" — Gilberte among the pink hawthorns — "There's certainly a lot of music-making going on in that establishment" — the weather — Françoise's loyalty — "Zut, Zut, Zut, Zut" — landscapes; desire — sadism; voyeurism — the Vivonne — water lilies; neurasthenics — names; colors — "these dreams warned me that since I wanted to be a writer someday, it was time to find out what I was meant to write about" — Mme. de Guermantes — the depths of impressions — the two steeples of Martinville joined by Vieuxvicq's — "the smell of invisible, enduring lilacs"

Swann in Love
Mme. Verdurin's salon — Odette — "the bouquet of artificial pansies" — Dr. Cottard — "It's precisely the andante that completely paralyzes me" — the bronzes on the Beauvais couch — Vinteuil's "phrase or harmony ... that had opened his soul so much wider" — "a pure work of music contains none of the logical relationships whose alteration in language reveals madness" — Swann's connections — "a last chrysanthemum" — tea; cigarette cases; hearts — love and aesthetics — "searching for Eurydice" — straightening the cattleyas — "the little phrase had the power to open up within him the space it needed" — fashionable society — the Comte de Forcheville and Brichot — Cottard's "puns" — Dumas's Francillon and a Japanese salas — the effect of forbidden names on the little clan — "sonata-snake" — les cadeaux — "a painful need to master her entirely" — the bedroom light is on — "this strange phase of love" — jealousy; knowledge; letters — walking through the Bois imagining Chatou — "the Faubourg Saint-Germain's Noli me tangere" — the romance of railway timetables and the consolation of maps — Odette makes orangeade — Wagner — "the need to hear, and to understand, music" — preparations for absence — "his love was no longer operable" — M. de Charlus — influence — "Delightful—I'm turning into a real neurotic" — "We do not tremble except for ourselves, except for those we love" — Balzac's tigers — the staircase at the Marquise de Saint-Euverte's and "an empty milk can on a doormat" — men's monocles — the Princess des Laumes — "the phrases of Chopin with their sinuous and excessively long necks" — love; cholera — La Pérouse and the rue de La Pérouse — violins; "this body of sound" — an anonymous letter; suspicions — Théodore Barrière's Les Filles de Marbre — "Reality is therefore something that has no relation to possibilities, any more than the stab of a knife in our body has any relation to the gradual motions of the clouds overhead" — on the island in the Bois — "For what we believe to be our love, or our jealousy, is not one single passion, continuous and indivisible. They are composed of an infinity of successive loves, of different jealousies, which are ephemeral but by their uninterrupted multitude give the impression of continuity..." — brothel banter — Machard's portrait — Napoleon III and Forcheville "in the twilight of a dream" — retrospective presages

Place-Names: The Name
the bedroom at Balbec's Grand-Hôtel de la Plage — "the beauty of landscapes" — Gothic steeples and sea storms — place-names: "proper names like the names people have" — "the countries we long for occupy a far larger place in our actual life ... than the country in which we happen to be" — Gilberte in the Champs-Élysées — "we no longer love anyone else when we are in love" — imaginary letters — Bergotte on Racine — the name Swann — Mme. Blatin and Les Débats — the beauties in the allée des Acacias — Mme. Swann — "a veritable fever for the dead leaves" of the Bois de Boulogne — automobiles; changes in fashion; the passing of time — "The reality I had known no longer existed" ( )
  proustitute | Jul 17, 2014 |
Reading the first volume of Proust’s mammoth In Search of Lost Time is akin to undergoing an initiation ceremony: the air is rife with rumours of what is to come; you are conscious only of your naivety and ignorance; there is nothing that can be done to prepare yourself for the experience; once you’ve done it, you can’t help but swagger… just a little.

I feel very happy that the first of the six volumes is now under my belt. It’s not an easy read but this is not because it is boring or badly written. In fact, its the fact that it’s so well written that makes it a challenge. I guess undergraduates listening to Einstein or Feynman lecture would have experienced the same thing. You know you’re in the presence of genius, and you know that, unless you keep up, you’re only going to affirm how different genius is from your own puny stature.

This volume opens the novel with the narrator’s (dare I say author’s?) childhood. He is, like us all, beset by common insecurities about himself, his family and his surroundings. Yet, at the same time, his reserved introspection gives him the ability to observe. The novel is crammed full of his observations from individual flowers to the great themes of life love and death. His scrutiny is remarkably indiscriminate.

If there is a story, it revolves around uncle Swann and what seems to be his doomed love for a woman whose physical reputation far outweighs her moral reputation on the scales of their provincial French community. In observing this, which covers hundreds and hundreds of pages, I found a clash between the supposed youth of the narrator and the events taking place. How on earth was this young man supposed to have been party to such intimate details? Is this a fault in the novel’s construction or is this an intentional part of the time warp involved in reading Proust?

Just as the narrator reaches the peak of his criticism of the hapless Swann, and as the volume is drawing to a close, the youngster falls into the same trap himself. I’ve heard others say that this frustrated them, that it showed a level of hypocrisy. Far from it. Having got about halfway through volume two, I now know that this is Proust outlining the inevitable in us all: those behaviours we find so repellent in others are usually those we are most susceptible to.

The prose is beautiful and is some of the most evocative writing that I think I’ve ever read. It wasn’t only this style that was unique at the time; to allow observation, and not plot, to drive the novel was a revolution in literature. Today, those of us who avoid the fast food literary diet of airport novels probably take this style for granted in much of contemporary writing. But slap this in front of anyone who prefers Picoult to Proust and you’d better make sure you know the basics of resuscitation. ( )
  arukiyomi | Jun 14, 2014 |
Not to be outdone by my other half, I set out to read Proust's 7-volume work, In Search of Lost Time, beginning with Swann's Way. It is unlike anything I've read before, and I enjoyed it although I am hard pressed to describe why.

Swann's Way describes the childhood of a character named Marcel, who is modeled on the author, and yet not the author. The story is told in three parts which cover Marcel's early childhood, the back story of Charles Swann, a major character, and Marcel's youthful infatuation with Swann's daughter, Gilberte. The narrative voice shifts between the child Marcel, an omniscient narrator, and an older, wiser Marcel. The pacing is slow and very, very descriptive; Proust paints his scenes in infinitesimal detail and gives similar treatment to discussion of thoughts and emotions. It takes considerable concentration, and I found it best to approach this book in 10-15 page segments.

There's a side story that fascinates me as well, which is the relationship between Charles Swann and Charles Ephrussi, an important character in Edmund de Waal's memoir, The Hare with Amber Eyes. The Telegraph describes this in Edmund de Waal on Proust: The writer behind the hare. These insights add to the reading experience and motivate me to continue with this series. ( )
  lauralkeet | May 9, 2014 |
Rileggere la Ricerca vuol dire arrivare a un posto di villeggiatura conosciuto in passato e in cui, ammirati dalla bellezza dei luoghi e dall'amabilità delle persone, ci eravamo ripromessi di tornare in un prossimo futuro: si rinnovano i ricordi nel trovare i posti e le persone che ci erano rimasti cari, e altri e altre ne scopriamo e si ha la sensazione di non riuscire a coglierne completamente lo spirito e a goderne in pieno, prenotando già la prossima vacanza. Così è la Recerche, una miniera dentro cui si continua a scendere e a portare alla luce preziosi che, questa è la sensazione, non si esauriranno mai. ( )
  gfonte | Mar 15, 2014 |
I'm conflicted. I started off thinking that the writing was lovely and evocative, although the young narrator perhaps provides detail that one might politely call "a little excessive" about such things as bedtime routines and the importance of the narrator receiving a goodnight kiss from his mother. Within a few percentage points (I read this on the kindle, so instead of seeing the pages of the book move from the "unread" side to the "read" side, I only had the agonizingly slow movement of the percentages as feedback - flip, no change, flip, flip, flip, no change, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip ... ah, finally!), where was I? Oh right, within a few percentage points I was hoping to never hear about the layout of the French town of Combray, church spires, walks, weather, hawthorn bushes, or the narrator's damned mother again. I was moderately enlivened for a while by the story of his great-aunt Leonie's invalid behavior. She entertainingly always managed to be too ill to do the things she didn't want to, but healthy enough to manage the things she did.

By this time, we've been introduced to M. Swann through his interactions with the narrator's family, although Swann's wife and daughter are off-limits as the wife is not one to be introduced to polite company, and therefore neither is the daughter. Eventually we start into the meat of it, talking about M. Swann. And we are with him for what seems like a million years as he is enchanted by Odette, a woman of dubious moral character. Much is made of who is associating with whom, who is going to the theater, the opera, riding home in carriages together, having dinner at whose house, etc. We are spared no detail of Swann's thoughts about Odette and how he spends seemingly every waking moment. The last section returns to our child narrator and his love for (or really, fixation on) Gilberte Swann. Once I discovered that Gilberte had red hair, I couldn't stop thinking of the narrator as a Parisian Charlie Brown, obsessed with his little red-haired girl. Definitely not the mood Proust was going for.

I will say, though, that as frustrated as I was with this book at times (and boy was I - telling myself "I'll read 2 percent of this thing today if it kills me"), I'm glad I made it through. The last page threw the whole thing into a more positive light and gave me more to think about, as well as the motivation to continue on with the next volume. I just wish that change in perspective had taken place a little earlier.

Recommended for: fans of Ingmar Bergman, Francophiles, people who like to be honest when they say, "I read that."

Quote: "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." ( )
1 vote ursula | Feb 15, 2014 |
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» 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
Salinas, PedroTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scott Moncrieff, C. K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tuomikoski, InkeriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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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)
"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.
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:59 -0400)

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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.

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