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How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain De…
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How Proust Can Change Your Life (original 1997; edition 2006)

by Alain De Botton (Author)

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3,199523,628 (3.68)89
The starting point of How Proust can change your Life is that a great novel can be nothing less than life-transforming. This is an unusual claim: our education system, while stressing that novels are highly worthwhile, rarely investigates why this is so. How Proust can change your Life takes Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time as the basis for a sustained investigation into the power and significance of literature. Proust's novel, almost a byword for obscurity and irrelevance, emerges as an invaluable source of insight into the workings of love, society, art and the meaning of existence.The book reveals Proust's thoughts on how to revive a relationship, choose a good doctor, enjoy a holiday, make friends and respond to insult. A vivid portrait of the eccentric yet deeply sympathetic author is built up out of extracts from his letters, essays and fiction and is combined with a commentary on the power of literature to change our lives. A self-help book like few others.… (more)
Member:Poet3
Title:How Proust Can Change Your Life
Authors:Alain De Botton (Author)
Info:Picador (2006), Edition: 1st, 216 pages
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How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton (1997)

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English (46)  French (3)  German (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
slow down and observe life as Proust did
  ritaer | Jul 22, 2021 |
Wow, I was Proustified!

Alain de Botton wrote Proust's short biography through the template of a self-help book. Well, In Search of Lost Time is well-known for its life-changing reading experience (despite the fact that it has 4000-pages). Even a writer like Virginia Woolf was insecure after reading Proust!

Although there are some insights that become an eye-opener for me, there are parts in this book that made me lose interest in finishing it. Probably because I can't relate to some themes explored in this book. ( )
  bellacrl | Jan 19, 2021 |
This is the second time I read this one. I liked it the first time and have read quite a bit of his stuff based on this one. He even has inspired me to attempt Proust (as part of my 2015 reading resolutions). What he does do is to use Proust to explore the big questions about love, friendship, time and death. I particularly like the section on his taking 30 pages to describe going to sleep. You might say, stop it already and get to the point, but, de Botton points out, that is the point. We have the tendency to think that the typical space used to describe something includes all there is to say about it. Proust's 30 pages force you to question that belief and de Botton gives you bit sized morsels of ideas to ponder. I'm glad I rediscovered it all these years later. ( )
  Colleen5096 | Oct 29, 2020 |
I was expecting more. It's just OK. Lots of information about Proust and his life, some of his writing re-purposed into self-help advice. Mainly for the Proust-curious who want a light intro to his life and work. ( )
  milacoocoonis | Aug 17, 2020 |
The author has been criticized for some of his philosophical and metaphysical work (both video and written), but I think this book is not one of the more high-profile targets.
I was interested in reading it after some years ago reading all of In Search of Lost Time. He draws quite a bit from Proust's letters and essays separate from his novels, which I think helped me to understand why certain themes were so prominent. For me, the best chapter was the one entitled "How to Open Your Eyes" which makes sense of the painstaking descriptions of scene, his fascination with artists and art critics such as Ruskin, and his attraction to portrayals of the most mundane but telling details to illuminate an aspect of character. He describes the main characters in In Search of Lost Time in broad strokes and does a pretty good job of explaining what led the author to put them through their trials and triumphs by connecting their stories to the esthetic and moral obsessions he had. You begin to understand what made Proust such a fussy eccentric to some extent by following the arguments he makes through to their conclusions. If friendship and honesty are fundamentally conflicting ideals, how does a person function in society?
I enjoyed reading this and thinking about those books of Proust I read. I am not certain whether this would be a really good introduction to Proust for someone coming to them for the first time, though, because he doesn't really address the extreme bulkiness of the series of books and say whether it was necessary or desirable. I actually don't recall whether he says anything about incidents in the last few books so it would be hard to know for certain whether he's actually read past Swann's Way and The Guermantes Way himself. But clearly it would have been a less inspiring title to have this be called "How the First Two Books of Proust's Can Change Your Life."
( )
  rmagahiz | Jul 9, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 46 (next | show all)
One doesn't usually think of Marcel Proust as the author of a great self-help book. Unless of course what you admire most about ''Remembrance of Things Past'' is its usefulness for killing huge amounts of time.

Alain de Botton, a novelist, doesn't take quite such a crassly utilitarian view in his delightfully original work of literary criticism, ''How Proust Can Change Your Life: Not a Novel.'' But he does come close in places. For instance, in Chapter 3, called ''How to Take Your Time,'' he points out that one reaction to the great length of Proust's famous novel was the ''All-England Summarize Proust Competition,'' once presented by the Monty Python troupe in the belief, as Mr. de Botton puts it, that ''what had originally taken seven volumes to express could reasonably be condensed into 15 seconds or less, without too great a loss of integrity or meaning, if only an appropriate candidate could be found.'' . . .
 
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The starting point of How Proust can change your Life is that a great novel can be nothing less than life-transforming. This is an unusual claim: our education system, while stressing that novels are highly worthwhile, rarely investigates why this is so. How Proust can change your Life takes Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time as the basis for a sustained investigation into the power and significance of literature. Proust's novel, almost a byword for obscurity and irrelevance, emerges as an invaluable source of insight into the workings of love, society, art and the meaning of existence.The book reveals Proust's thoughts on how to revive a relationship, choose a good doctor, enjoy a holiday, make friends and respond to insult. A vivid portrait of the eccentric yet deeply sympathetic author is built up out of extracts from his letters, essays and fiction and is combined with a commentary on the power of literature to change our lives. A self-help book like few others.

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