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Time Regained (1927)

by Marcel Proust

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: In Search of Lost Time (7)

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2,030246,521 (4.49)1 / 194
"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 Bibliothè que de la Plé iade in 1989).… (more)
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» See also 194 mentions

English (20)  Dutch (1)  Spanish (1)  Swedish (1)  Finnish (1)  All languages (24)
Showing 1-5 of 20 (next | show all)
Wow. I finished it. And then a sigh of relief, mixed with sadness, and with satisfaction, as upon the end of a magnificent feast. Sigh. It took me about a year to read the whole series, starting soon after the coronavirus pandemic hit and shut everything down, and now finishing just as we are gradually opening up again.

That was my reaction on reaching the final line of Proust’s masterwork, and no doubt the reaction of most others.

The seventh and final volume has its own new developments, along with some revisiting of earlier episodes, such as M’s discussion with Gilberte about that day when they first saw each other in Combray.

There are some vivid scenes of wartime Paris in 1916, and wild sexual nightlife beyond anything hinted at earlier, involving, of course, Charlus.

Later, when M returns to Paris after the war, after a longer absence, he sees his old society friends - the ones that are still alive - and we get their updated status. The one misstep I see is the new marriage of Mme. Verduran - I just don’t buy it.

M himself, the narrator, does seem older in personality, somewhat wiser, more measured and more likeable.

The highlight of this volume is M’s flash of inspiration about the book he must write, inspired by additional incidents of “involuntary memory”, and reflections on the madeleine episode from the very first volume.

Proust more or less directly states the intention and themes of the book, although of course it is not something to be summed up in a sentence or two, or three; I will need to reread it to more fully understand. Yet it is great to hear Proust talk about what the book is going to be, and how it will be something that has never been done before.

And looking at the full seven-volume work, the themes of deep time, of memory (both voluntary and involuntary), of moving our consciousness in time and outside of time, and of art, are all there, deeply embedded in the narrator and all his thoughts, experiences, and the people he knows.

I still question Proust’s intentions on some of the other themes, and two in particular. First, the enormous amount of the work that is spent at dinner parties and similar society events, reciting the meaningless small talk and wry glances passed back and forth. Why does Proust spend so much time and energy on these scenes?

And secondly, the recurring theme of jealous, suspicious love, and specifically the love of men for younger, poorer and more vivacious women (sometimes men). The kind of love that makes the man suffer and lose sleep, distracts him from any other productive life. What is Proust trying to say by going into such psychological depth relating how these men experience such loves?

But the great distinction of Proust is the texture and flow of his sentences, those long rivers stuffed with subclause upon subclause. You have to be in the right mood, and correctly attuned to the rhythm of his prose, to really enter into the work. Some days my mind was flowing along with Proust’s sentences, like a raft handling every little bend in the river; on other days it was a struggle, and I had to reread every sentence multiple times before getting a partial understanding of what it was saying.

The most difficult part of the whole work, for me, was that first few pages of Swann’s Way. Pages with no plot, no clear characters, nothing that really happens, and full of difficult thoughts expressed in roundabout phrasings. But was that difficulty because of Proust’s writing there, because he hadn’t yet mastered his true style? Or was it me, because I was new to Proust, and new to the Moncrieffian prose of the English translation. Before I start delving into the secondary literature, I think I might just open Swann’s Way again, to check on this. ( )
  viscount | May 22, 2021 |
turns out the *real* time was inside us the whole time
  theodoram | Apr 7, 2020 |
Time Regained opens with Marcel visiting Combray, the village of his childhood which figured prominently in the first volume of In Search of Lost Time. He has reconnected with his first love, Gilberte, who is now married to one of Marcel’s best friends. Soon, World War I is upon them and the narrative shifts to the impact of war on the village, on Paris, and on the society in which Marcel circulates. Much later (in the novel as well as in Marcel’s life), he attends a party and encounters many people he doesn’t recognize. This is not because he doesn’t know them, but because Marcel has been absent and everyone has aged considerably. And besides aging, some have fallen in the social hierarchy while others have made astonishing moves up the ladder.

Analysis of society, and the motivations of individuals, is a central theme throughout the work. In this volume, Marcel also reflects on how memories of the same event can vary widely from person to person, and how decisions or actions that seem inconsequential can have long-term effects:
But the truth, even more, is that life is perpetually weaving fresh threads which link one individual and one event to another, and that these threads are crossed and recrossed, doubled and redoubled to thicken the web, so that between any slightest point of our past and all the others a rich network of memories gives us an almost infinite variety of communicating paths to choose from.

And finally, as Proust closes a circle by connecting back to the first pages of In Search of Lost Time, I began to grasp the genius of this work. I say “began” because I sense that more insight can be gained by re-reading Proust from time to time. Will I do so? Only time will tell. For now I am perfectly happy to have read it once ( )
1 vote lauralkeet | Mar 25, 2020 |
Well it took 5 years, but I finished them all, and what a finale. I loved this book the best of them all, it circled back to where we began and yet allowed us to become older and possibly wiser along the way. There was always more plot than I noticed. We have the return of the madeleine. The feel of the book is quite different to the others, possibly because it's post-humous and thus perhaps unfinished, also because it is set in the fragmentary, uncertain world of the Great War and post-war period. The big set piece of attending his first event after time in the sanatorium and seeing all his old set aged and grotesque felt like how I've aged during the reading of Proust.

It is as ever witty and entertaining and with Albertine gone there is less of the creepy controlling behaviour that made the previous few volumes so difficult in places. So it becomes more philosophical and profound and left me feeling both satisfied and relieved to have finished, but also like i needed to go back to the start and read it all again. I've bought the graphic novels to read as a reward.

I'd also recommend the Backlisted podcast which was the deadline I needed to push through the last 2 books relatively quickly, and was a brilliantly entertaining evening. https://www.backlisted.fm/episodes/108-marcel-proust-la-recherche-du-temps-perdu ( )
  AlisonSakai | Feb 22, 2020 |
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» Add other authors (135 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Proust, Marcelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Õnnepalu, TõnuTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Berges, ConsueloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Cornips, ThérèseTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Enright, D. J.Translation revisionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kilmartin, JoannaRevision of guidesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kilmartin, TerenceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mayor, AndreasTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raboni, GiovanniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Suni, AnnikkiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vallquist, GunnelTranslatorsecondary 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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"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 Bibliothè que de la Plé iade in 1989).

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Penguin Australia

An edition of this book was published by Penguin Australia.

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