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Sodom and Gomorrah by Marcel Proust
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Sodom and Gomorrah (1922)

by Marcel Proust

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: In Search of Lost Time (4)

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English (17)  Swedish (2)  French (1)  Spanish (1)  Dutch (1)  All (22)
Showing 1-5 of 17 (next | show all)
I've been reading this for about a month and have definitely decided it's not the best way for me to approach Proust. The other volumes I made my primary reading and loved them. This one I was distracted by travel and other books and read it slowly in chunks. I did not connect to it as well.

That being said, there is still a lot that happens in this volume that is interesting. The narrator finally gets to a party hosted by the Guermantes family, the apex of noble society in Paris. What he finds isn't really very exciting. There is more discussion of the Dreyfus case, especially surprising that the Price de Guermantes has changed his mind and is now a Dreyfus supporter. This party is contrasted with a later party in Balbec with our old favorites, the Verdurins. Here the vibe is "lower class", but the conversation is more interesting and artistic. Well, at least by a few characters.

In this volume, the narrator's eyes are opened to homosexuality and he starts seeing it all around him. He suspects his love interest, Albertine, of harboring desire for her friend Andree and starts watching her closely, always looking for signs. His other focus is the Baron de Charlus, who he realizes is gay and then starts noticing all of his interactions with men, especially with a violinist named Morel. Some of this is pretty humorous and also rather dark.

Also running through this volume is a lot of discussion about word origins and language. This didn't work very well for me, probably because of the translation, but some of it was really brilliant - especially the Balbec hotel attendant who always uses incorrect words or pronunciations. The translation here was excellent and very amusing.

So overall, this is a good continuation of the book and ends on quite a cliff hanger, but I didn't connect with it as deeply as I have previous volumes. I've learned my lesson and will wait for the next volume until I'm ready to make it my main book.

This was the last volume that Proust oversaw in publication before his death, so I'm interested to see if I notice a difference in subsequent volumes. ( )
  japaul22 | Sep 2, 2017 |
"Sodom and Gomarrah" is Marcel's fourth volume in his epic series "In Search of Lost Time." It certainly isn't one of the better installments.... I grow tired of the narrator, who seems so self-absorbed and uninteresting that I can't understand why he gets invited to all these society parties or why Albertine has anything at all to do with him. I particularly enjoyed when Bloch had a break from and actually agreed with Bloch's assessment of our narrator's character.

In this volume, it seems our narrator discovers that there are a lot of gay people in the world and seems rather obsessed by it. This all ties in with his enormous jealousy regarding any time Albertine spends away from him.

I actually enjoyed the portions of the story involving Albertine, but they actually make up so very little of this book. The digressions about the changing world in French social circles at this period weren't so interesting this time around. Proust continues to be the wordiest man alive... he can turn a sentence like "She opened a door" into a five page essay.

Sadly, my interest in the series seems to diminish with each volume... and this started out so well. I hope things get better in the final three books. ( )
  amerynth | Oct 17, 2015 |
Yeah this is one of the greatest novels of all time, but I’m getting pretty fed up of the long drawn out prose about nothing much in particular and endless social gatherings that tell us (again!) how disenchanted the narrator has now become of everyone he was, at one time 4 billion pages ago, oh so very enchanted with.

This one is supposed to have some kind of focus on “inversion” of homosexuality as it’s popularly called these days. It’s not really. It’s about endless social gatherings that tell us (again!) how disenchanted the narrator has now become of everyone he was, at one time 4 billion pages ago, oh so very enchanted with. Oops… I think I’ve repeated myself there.

Yes, Charlus gets involved with pretty much every pretty boy he lays his eyes on, but, apart from that, most of the “inversion” happens in the mind of the narrator and revolves around whether Albertine is toying not only with him but also her female companions. His jealousy is fairly neurotic as there’s virtually nothing he has to base this on.

There were sections I enjoyed, notably on sleep and how it seems to warp our experience of time. It got me thinking that Proust might have been far more successful if he’d just written a series of treatises on various topics: hawthorns, the landscape of the sea, sleep, jealousy, Madeleines, etc. At least we wouldn’t have had to wade through the literary morass of ‘endless social gatherings’ to get to the next island of genius. After all, when people discuss Proust, it’s these sublime descriptions they refer to, not his ability to render conversation into prose.

The narrator returns to Balbec and deepens his relationship with Albertine which really comes to the fore and sets the scene for the next volume. I quite enjoyed watching the effect of Albertine on the narrator and remembering back to phases in various relationships I’ve had over the years. Despite this, personally, I couldn’t wait to get to the end of this volume. The 660 plus pages seemed to take forever and I was very relieved to know that the last three are shorter… sometimes much shorter. I think I’m beginning to have my fill of Proust! ( )
  arukiyomi | Sep 13, 2014 |
While I found some moments that were entertaining or interesting such as the narrators return to the subject of sleep and memory, mostly this section was an aggravation brought on by the game playing and jealousies of Marcel. ( )
  Kristelh | May 30, 2014 |
bookshelves: autumn-2013
Read on November 16, 2013


Desperate to avoid the tortures of love, Marcel tries to make himself unavailable to Albertine. Meanwhile, the Baron de Charlus suffers heartbreak. Stars James Wilby.

"I wonder if the guts of an aristocrat would stink like the guts of a peasant."

2* Swann's Way
2.5* Within a Budding Grove
3* The Guermantes Way
3.5* Sodom and Gomorrah ( )
  mimal | Jan 1, 2014 |
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» Add other authors (48 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Proust, Marcelprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Berges, ConsueloTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Enright, D. J.Translation revisionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kilmartin, Terencesecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kilmartin, TerenceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Moncrieff , C. K. Scottsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raboni, GiovanniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Scott Moncrieff, C. K.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tuomikoski, InkeriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0143039318, Paperback)

Sodom and Gomorrah—now in a superb translation by John Sturrock—takes up the theme of homosexual love, male and female, and dwells on how destructive sexual jealousy can be for those who suffer it. Proust’s novel is also an unforgiving analysis of both the decadent high society of Paris and the rise of a philistine bourgeoisie that is on the way to supplanting it. Characters who had lesser roles in earlier volumes now reappear in a different light and take center stage, notably Albertine, with whom the narrator believes he is in love, and the insanely haughty Baron de Charlus.

First time in Penguin Classics
A Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition with French flaps and luxurious design
The first completely new translation of Proust's novel since the 1920s

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:28 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

The fourth installment of Marcel Proust's autobiographical novel, in which the narrator witnesses an encounter between the Baron de Charlus and the tailor Jupien, opening his eyes to a world hitherto hidden from him. Meanwhile, his love for Albertine is poisoned by the suspicion that she is attracted to her own sex.… (more)

» see all 6 descriptions

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