Finally finished Volume 1. Probably didn’t take that long to read but I put it down halfway through Swann in Love and didn’t pick it up again for over a year. If I’m ever going to finish the whole thing I need to avoid doing that again. 3 years ago
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I got a copy several years ago, but the binding wasn’t very good and the first volume fell apart before I could finish it, and I think I only have a couple volumes now (with the cheap binding). I think I might also have a copy of Swann’s Way lurking somewhere too. . .
I’m thinking about getting all the volumes (with better binding!) so that I can commit to reading everything. The volumes don’t all appear to be available on Kindle, so I think I’ll visit the bookstore at some point and buy myself a nice sturdy copy of the full set. 3 years ago
I’ve just finished Combray and begun Swann in Love. Might have to stay up all night if Part 2 is really good. 4 years ago
I’m going to try to finish off all the other books I’ve started, including Don Quixote, before I start this mammoth book. Hopefully this summer, I’ll be able to get stuck in. 5 years ago
I can’t claim any great literary sensibility or technique. I’m not even sure if I can actually tell other people of the essences of what made this book so great. Yet without a doubt in my eyes this book is a wonder, as its each passages and phrases ring with poignant descriptions and profound thoughts. As I went through it page by page I was almost overwhelmed by the world Proust created, the characters always living and thinking beings instead of being some two dimensional backdrops created to drag the plotline along. Some of the passages and situations resonated with me so much that I found it hard to read on to next page, staring at it and reading it again and again like with a favorite painting in a museum. It isn’t often that a writing inspires me so much as to create a ‘holy moment’ (waking life anyone?) outside of the book’s boundries.
Of course, this was a deeply personal experience, so your mileage may differ. But I have no hesitation in recommending this work to anyone who enjoys reading, to at least encounter it once in his/her life. 5 years ago
I have at last finished Combray and am about to move on to Swann in Love. I’ve been taking a little breather, but tonight will plunge back in. 6 years ago
I read Swann’s Way about a year ago and I am about 200 pages through Within a Budding Grove. I’m also reading Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret who lived with him/worked for him during the last years of his life while he was writing In Search of Lost Time. 6 years ago
I have finished the “Overture” to the first volume. It’s a drop in the bucket. It took me a long time to get through this small chapter. Doesn’t bode well for finishing the whole work before I die, does it?
However, now that I’m reading “Combray” it’s going a little faster.
I think I’m getting hooked.
Still wishing for a better translation. 6 years ago
Proust is so wonderful that reading him ruins, absolutely ruins, reading lesser writers.
This should buck you up when knee deep in “the captive” and “the fugitive:” Proust wrote “Swann’s Way” and “Time Regained” FIRST- then he sat down and wrote the middle books. Before his death he intended to cut about 300 pages of the rambling and repetetive “the captive.” Knowing that should make it easier to skim over the reptetitions without feeling bad. 6 years ago
I am reading How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton. It’s inspiring me to finally tackle Proust. I’ve wanted to do it for years, but was intimidated by both the size of the task and the aimlessness of the narrative. I’ve read selected passages and found them wondrous, but hadn’t made the commitment to really get into it as a reader.
I want to know which translation people love the best and would like to hear from anyone with an opinion on this. I do not mind switching translations in mid-stream if something is better. In fact it might be interesting. I have the Moncrieff and Kilmartin translation, but already wonder about it, since the title seems to me carelessly translated. It should be “In Search of Lost Time,” since that’s what it means in French, very plainly, even to someone with elementary French like mine.
About the title, de Botton argues, “Though Proust never liked it, and referred to it variously as “unfortunate” (1914), “misleading” (1915), and “ugly” (1917), In Search of Lost Time had the advantage of pointing directly enough to a central theme of the novel: a search for the causes behind the dissipation and loss of time. Far from a memoir tracing the passage of a more lyrical age, it was a practical, universally applicable story about how to stop wasting time and start to appreciate life.”
When I read that paragraph I had a sensation like the one you get when you’re at the optomitrist’s office, and he’s trying new lenses in that big metal mask that’s pressed up against your face, and the eye chart is just one degree of blurry or another, and then quite suddenly, CLICK! and you can see everything quite clearly. I realized that I’d understood this was an important theme of the book, but that knowing had been obscured by the “memoir…of a more lyrical age” image and thought of the book only as a deeply honest and highly detailed memoir.
This is amazing to me because I think I have a personality similar in some way to Proust’s, and I’ve been preoccupied with this question about time, and life, for a long time.
So I’m hoping Proust WILL change my life. At the moment I’m really enjoying de Botton. I have also started reading Swann’s Way, but for awhile I will be taking it slowly, because my time for reading is so limited at the moment. I’m going on vacation in August, and hope to make some real headway then.
Thanks for your time reading this, and I’ll continue to share my thoughts if you’re interested. 6 years ago
Finished Swann’s Way, reading Kafka on the Shore before continuing with book 2. 7 years ago
started the new translation of Swann’s Way this week, about 125 pages in. :) 7 years ago