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Author: Marcel Proust
ISBN13: 978-0679424765
Title: In Search of Lost Time, Volume 6: Time Regained, A Guide to Proust (v. 6)
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Language: English
Category: World Literature
Publisher: Modern Library; Revised, Subsequent edition (May 18, 1993)
Pages: 768

In Search of Lost Time, Volume 6: Time Regained, A Guide to Proust (v. 6) by Marcel Proust

War-time Paris reminds Charlus of the Orient of Decamps: VI 140. DECAZES, Duc, minister and favourite of Louis XVIII. Other author's books: Time Regained & a Guide to Proust. Letters to His Neighbor. The Guermantes Way. The Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust. Letters to the Lady Upstairs.

Other author's books: Time Regained & a Guide to Proust.

Only 14 left in stock (more on the way). I read the Shattuck book referenced above and Howard Moss' The Magic Lantern of Marcel Proust after completing the book. But Roger Shattuck puts the case best for listening to Proust, "The best way to discover and respond to Proust's expressive voice, as well as the deliberate pacing of his narrative, is to hear the prose, to read it out loud.

Home Marcel Proust Time Regained & a Guide to Proust. Marcel Proust was born in the Parisian suburb of Auteuil on July 10, 1871. His father, Adrien Proust, was a doctor celebrated for his work in epidemiology; his mother, Jeanne Weil, was a stockbrokers daughter of Jewish descent. He lived as a child in the family home on Boulevard Malesherbes in Paris, but spent vacations with his aunt and uncle in the town of Illiers near Chartres, where the Prousts had lived for generations and which became the model for the Combray of his great novel. In 1919 the second volume, Within a Budding Grove, won the Goncourt Prize, bringing Proust great and instantaneous fame. Two subsequent sections-The Guermantes Way (1920–21) and Sodom and Gomorrah (1921)-appeared in his lifetime.

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Marcel Proust was born in the Parisian suburb of Auteuil on July 10, 1871. His father, Adrien Proust, was a doctor celebrated for his work in epidemiology; his mother, Jeanne Weil, was a stockbroker’s daughter of Jewish descent. In recent years it was officially renamed Illiers-Combray. If we mean to try to understand this self it is only in our inmost depths, by endeavoring to reconstruct it there, that the quest can be achieved. He appears to have begun work on his long masterpiece sometime around 1908, and the first volume, Swann’s Way, was published in 1913.

1. Time is a central concern for Proust, appearing first in the title and last as the final word of the novel. What is his vision of the past? Does he have a vision of the present? The future? Can the Narrator be said to be living in the past? Is he like the White Queen in Through the Looking-Glass , with 'jam tomorrow and jam yesterday - but never jam today'? 2. The renowned translator of Proust, C. K. Scott Moncrieff, originally grouped the opening section of In Search of Lost Time under the title 'The Overture,' which includes two famous passages, the good night kiss and the evocative taste of the madeleine. Does this seem apt? If so, how might this fifty-odd page beginning prefigure what will transpire later? What would you expect to follow, given that an overture usually introduces the main themes of a musical work? What does it suggest about Proust's conception of literature and music? 3. The episode of the good night kiss strikes some readers as odd or contradictory: the Narrator's need for a kiss seems almost infantile, while his power of observation seems extraordinarily precocious. Considering that he is sent to bed at eight o'clock, how old do you think the Narrator is? Is it significant that his father suggests the Narrator be given the kiss he craves, whereas his mother is reluctant, saying 'We mustn't let the child get into the habit . . .'? Is the fact that the Narrator succeeds in getting the kiss he wants a good thing or a bad thing? Why? 4. 'The whole of Proust's world comes out of a teacup,' observed Samuel Beckett. Indeed the episode of the madeleine dipped in tea is the first (and most famous) of numerous instances of 'involuntary memory' in the novel. A recognized psychological phenomenon triggered by smells, tastes, or sounds, involuntary memory vividly reproduces emotions, sensations, or images from the past. Why do you think readers and critics universally consider this scene to be pivotal? What does the Narrator think about the experience of involuntary memory? What might its function be in the scheme of In Search of Lost Time ? 5. Another emblematic theme involves the recurring 'little phrase' of music by Vinteuil that catches the ear of Swann at the Verdurin's salon and steals into his life. How do Vinteuil's compositions stir both Swann and the Narrator? In Proust's scheme of things, is music a higher art than painting or writing because it can produce involuntary memories? How does involuntary memory affect writing and painting? Is it unrelated to art except as a necessary catalyst? 6. In 'Combray' we are introduced to the Narrator's family, their household, and their country home. Since Paris is the true heart of upper-class France, why do you think Proust chose to begin In Search of Lost Time elsewhere? What do we learn from the Narrator's description of his family's life and habits? Is the household dominated by men or by women? Does the Narrator's account seem accurate, or is it colored by his own ideas and preoccupations? 7. A madeleine dipped into a cup of tea first impelled Proust into the 'remembrance of things past.' Though Proust was a gourmet in his youth, in the final years of his life he subsisted mainly on fillets of sole, chicken, fried potatoes, ice cream, cakes, fruit, and iced beer. Consider how food and culinary happenings - from meals at the restaurant in the Grand Hotel in Balbec to dinners at La Raspelière and the Guermantes's in Paris - form an integral part of the work. 8. Swann's Way and the Guermantes Way are presented as mutually exclusive choices for promenades, with Swann's Way given primacy of place at the novel's outset. Where, metaphorically speaking, does Swann's Way seem to lead? What are the aesthetic signposts and milestones the Narrator points out? What does the landscape around Combray represent? 9. 'I want my work to be a sort of cathedral in literature,' Proust once said. In his description of the area around Combray - and in many other places in the novel - the Narrator describes churches, and particularly steeples. Indeed, Howard Moss cites the steeple as one of Proust's most important symbols. In religious architecture, the steeple represents man's aspiration toward God, and by inference toward Art, the Proustian religion. What else might it suggest? Does it have a counterpart in nature? 10. Proust and the Narrator share an appreciation of gardens and flowers - Proust himself was eager to visit Monet's celebrated garden - and in a sense, all Combray can be seen as a garden. What associations does this evoke? How does the Narrator respond to natural beauty? What do flowers mean to him? How do we know? 11. Proust's work is filled with 'doubling' - the most obvious being the identification of the author with a fictional self of the same name but with somewhat different characteristics. Is Swann a double of the Narrator? What qualities do they share? In what ways do they seem different? What is the importance of the fact that Swann is a Jew? 12. Louis Auchincloss questions the use of a fictional first person named 'Marcel,' who is but isn't Proust. Marcel claims that he is neither a snob nor a homosexual, yet he is obsessed with both. Would Proust have strengthened Marcel's viewpoint by making it that of the young social climber that he himself so clearly was? Did he enhance or detract from Marcel's credibility by casting him as one of the few heterosexuals in the book? Does it matter that Marcel regards 'inversion' as a dangerous vice? Did Proust? 13. 'Swann in Love' might be thought of as a dress rehearsal for the Narrator's own performance, and Swann's passion for Odette establishes a model for various other love relationships that appear later in the book. Proust believed that all emotions and behavior obey certain psychological laws. E. M. Forster maintained that 'Proust's general theory of human intercourse is that the fonder we are of people the less we understand them - the theory of the complete pessimist.' Do you agree? How does Swann's love affair reflect this? What conclusions does the Narrator draw from his perception of Swann's experience? In what way does this differ from Swann's own view? 14. The Balbec sequence of Within a Budding Grove gathers a group of the novel's principal characters, many for the first time: Robert de Saint-Loup, the Baron de Charlus, and Albertine, to name three of the most important. Others begin to emerge in their true significance, like Elstir the painter. Why do you think Proust chose to bring them together in Balbec? In what ways does Balbec echo or amplify Combray? Is the little 'society' of Balbec a preview in microcosm of Paris? 15. While writing In Search of Lost Time Proust often rummaged through his vast photographic collection of Belle Époque luminaries as a means of stimulating his memory. 'You could see that his thoughts were following a kind of underground track, as if he were organizing everything into images before putting them into words,' recalled his maid Céleste Albaret. Indeed, the Baron de Charlus, in Within a Budding Grove , speaks of the special importance of photographs in preserving an unsullied moment of time past, before it has been altered by the present. Discuss how Proust used photographs in the story - just as he exploited the technology of trains, cars, and airplanes - as symbols of passing time. 16. In his landmark essay on Proust, Edmund Wilson praises the broad Dickensian humor and extravagant satire that animate vast sections of In Search of Lost Time , yet he goes on to call it 'one of the gloomiest books ever written.' Can you reconcile Wilson's remarks? 17. Critic Barbara Bucknall maintains that 'no Proustian lover really cares at all for his beloved's feelings.' Is this true? Would the Narrator agree? Would the
Reviews: 7
Three days ago I finished reading Proust's In Search of Lost Time. Today I will begin my second reading. That's the best recommendation I can give. In a lifetime of reading I have never read a book twice in a row outside of an academic requirement. This rereading is not motivated by a sense of "that was good, hit restart and do it again." There is a "secret" in Proust's book that, when revealed, invites rereading. Its not a secret, I just don't want to try to explain here when it is in the books I reference below. According to one source I read, it is not uncommon for those who finish Proust's book to want to immediately reread.
This review is about how I completed my first reading, not a summary of the book. More than most books, first time readers of In Search of Lost Time need a plan to have a reasonable prospect for success. In this review I will share the questions I asked and decisions I made. The fact that I finished the book should indicate the decisions I made were right for me and my circumstance. I hope what I write will allow others to weigh my decisions and apply them to their own circumstance.
In order to judge how your circumstances differ from mine, a bit about mine. I'm in my early sixties and retired. I was able to plan on an hour of quiet time per day for Proust. I'm a lifelong reader with wide-ranging tastes. I tried reading In Search of Lost Time several times and never got past page 50. But Proust's book remained on my Bucket Reading list. I read on my iPad using the Kindle App. I listened to the Audiobook and read simultaneously. My first reading took five months reading one hour a day on most days.
First decision, what is the book about and does it interest me? There is a lot of well intentioned but misguided and potentially misleading info about Proust's book. Seek opinions from whomever you like. But I also strongly recommend seeking professional advice. I have two books to recommend. Not to buy and read entirely (at least not yet), but to read the introduction. If you have an e-reader, download these free samples and read them. These books are Proust's Way: A Field Guide to In Search of Lost Time by Roger Shattuck and Marcel Proust's Search for Lost Time: A Reader's Guide to The Remembrance of Things Past by Patrick Alexander. These books address such questions as Proust's style and the length of the book.
Next decision, which translation should I read? None ideally. Read it in French. That wasn't an option for me. In my opinion the translation question is way over emphasized. This isn't Homer, Virgil, Dante etc. Proust's book was written One Hundred years ago. All modern English translations are suitable for first time readers. I used the Public Domain C.K.Scott Montcrieff translation for all but the last volume (which Moncrieff left unfinished at his death). I chose Moncrieff's translation because it was what the Audiobook used. I was well satisfied. I have purchased the Modern Library version where I will post this review, but my second reading will also use Montcrieff's translation. In comparing Modern Library's (MKE) translation to Montcrieff the first sentence of the second paragraph starts: "I would ask myself what O'Clock it could be;" (Moncrieff) vs "I would ask myself what time it could be;" (MKE). If that kind of difference makes a difference to you, buy one of the expensive copyrighted translations.
Next decision, what edition should I use? One with the fewest footnotes, endnotes, summaries, appendices etc. Proust wrote In Search of Lost Time to be a self-contained story. There are hundred's of character's (but less than 20 main characters) lots of references to paintings, music, plays, and books. Character's names and titles (for the aristocracy) are mind-boggling. Proust understand's your concern and accommodates his readers. Names, places artwork etc that are important to the story are repeated over and over. Historical events are discussed by characters to understand what you need to know for the story. When such things are in past volumes, the circumstance of their location in the story are recalled to refresh the reader's memory. Stopping to look up such things in appendices or footnotes interrupts the narrative flow. Narrative flow is important and one of the aesthetically pleasing aspects of the book. If you really want to know about a referenced art-work or historical event, make a note and look it up on Wikipedia after the day's reading.
Next decision, what supplementary materials should I read to prepare for reading Proust? None. Oh, I did read Alain de Botton's How Proust Can Change Your Life, great book, but not a deciding factor to read Proust for me. Summaries are counterproductive. Proust generates and maintains suspense by deliberately pacing disclosure of even minor details. Again citing Shattuck: "One must read Proust as carefully as a detective story in which any detail may become a clue to everything else." In Search of Lost Time is enjoyed best one page at a time without any knowledge of what the next page will bring. Guides and notes I addressed above. Biographies of Proust are particularly counterproductive. Despite everything you read to the contrary, In Search of Lost Time is not Proust's Autobiography. The more you focus on Proust, the harder it will be to understand the "big picture" of Proust's book. AFTER completing In Search of Lost Time is the time to review reference books. I read the Shattuck book referenced above and Howard Moss' The Magic Lantern of Marcel Proust after completing the book.
Next decision, listen to the Audiobook while reading? I learned some time ago that listening while reading gave me a tremendous advantage in accessing challenging literature. But Roger Shattuck puts the case best for listening to Proust, "The best way to discover and respond to Proust's expressive voice, as well as the deliberate pacing of his narrative, is to hear the prose, to read it out loud." Correct pronunciation of names, titles, places, ect. is important to me for comprehension. So I let the Audio Narrator do that for me (Naxos Production with Neville Jason narrating). Shattuck also states: "Without an auditory sense of the text, even in its most reflective and interior passages, the visual field of unrelieved print tends to become oppressive. Translations cannot convey the original texture, yet on this score the available versions perform remarkably well. They all bear reading aloud." The Audio made the notoriously long sentences seem completely natural to me. There are several Audio versions of at least the first volume (Swann's Way). The only Complete Unabridged AudioBook of In Search of Lost Time in English as of the date of this review is Naxos Production, Neville Jason narrator. The text narrated is the Moncrieff translation for the first six volumes and Jason and another gentleman collaborated on a translation for the seventh volume (which I didn't use because there was no published text. I made do with reading the last volume and was fine with it because I knew how to read the text and pronounce names by then.
- Next decision, just listen to the Audiobook or an Abridged version? Having listened and read, I can't imagine listening to this book without reading. It just does not seem well-suited to casual listening, at least to me. At 153 hours, Naxos claims their Audiobook of Proust's book is the longest recorded to date. That's lots of time to listen to other books. As for abridged versions, As a matter of preference I don't read them. Your milage may vary.
Next decision, other techniques? I don't normally highlight novels, but I highlighted a lot in Proust's book. Electronic highlighting. This was a learned process as I went along. First I highlighted shifts in time and place (which are easy to loose track of). The narrator may be standing on a platform waiting to board a train, something makes him start thinking and we are off on a 20 page digression, its good to be able to flip back and see that we are still standing on the train platform. In a different color I highlighted names and titles of new characters and place names. I highlighted interesting or funny passages in a third color and seemingly important passages in a fourth color. Was it distracting? No, it became second nature.
A few closing thoughts on my first reading. For three and a quarter volumes I soldiered on. It was beautifully written and often very funny but I didn't have the "fire in my belly." Shattuck and others note that many give up after a few pages, or one to two volumes. You can't even begin to understand the plot after the first two volumes (at least unaided as I recommend). Then the book "clicked" for me. It requires persistence. I'm really glad I stuck with it.
If you are looking to buy the Kindle version "Proust 6-pack", check out the pricing of the individual Kindle volumes before doing so. At the time of this review, the first volume costs $12.99, while successive volumes cost $2.99 each, a total of about $27.95. Strangely, the 6-pack costs $49.99.
Note: the rating refers to the e-book release; the superb work by Proust deserves all 5 stars.

I purchased this 6 book collection, and it turns out there is no easy way to move from book to book inside the collection.

At the Kindle Home screen you see a single element, which is the six volume book; at the table of contents of any of the 6 books you are reading you only see contents for that book, not for the whole collection.
The only practical way to move to another book is to GO-TO Cover, move down a few pages, and then click on the Collection Table of Contents in order to jump to the book you want to (or bookmark that page of course).

You would expect the Kindle to have a single table of contents which lists each volume and each chapter.

Please Amazon, this is the most expensive e-book I purchased so far, can't you come up with a more user-friendly solution?

Another issue of this multivolume book I don't enjoy is the way the locations and percentages are shown in relation to the whole collection.
At the very least I would like to have an option to display the location or page number and percentage in relation to the current book.
A long slog. But well worth it. Actually one looooong novel spread over 7 books and it would have been longer had Proust lived longer. Beautifully told and nuanced view of fin-de-siecle Paris and France in general and of the mind and spirit of the narrator. I knew of it but wasn't quite prepared for the virulent anti-semitism permeating all levels of French society ( witness the Dreyfus Affaire ). It was truly the end of old aristocratic Europe and how WWI swept all that away. A great variety of sexual permutations on display: how much was known and "done" but never talked about, at least publicly ! The meditations on art and music are arresting. It took me a little over 10 months of assiduous reading to plow through it all. Now that I have, I will after a break ( there are other books after all ) ... I will read it again !
This is a beautiful set, but I think it is a softcover edition of Random House's hardback set that came out several years ago. The translation is not in any way updated or changed. I now have 7 copies of one of my favorite books. My only quibble is the blurb on the box which is the same as on the Amazon description. I think comments on books should be written by people who liked the books and have something interesting to say. Or at least something more than cute little metaphors about the prose being snow and slick ice. I wish they'd left the blurb off and gone with just a picture. And on that score, if the box had said a Proust "6-pack" like the ad said (and when I ordered it, I wasn't sure it wouldn't), I would not have kept it. It is a beautiful set and at half price, is absolutely worth it. As for the novel itself, I don't have anything to say. For almost 100 years people have been discussing and praising it. I loved it.