Paintings in Proust

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Overview

A captivating, colorful examination of the ways in which Proust incorporated artists and the visual arts in his work.A la recherche du temps perdu by Marcel Proust is one of the most profoundly visual works in Western literature. Not only are there frequent references to specific works of art, notably during the narrator's visits to Venice and in his evaluations of the style of the imaginary painter Elstir, but certain characters are also evoked by comparison to particular paintings. Bloch's appearance as a boy is likened to the portrait of Mohammed II by Gentile Bellini; Odette de Crécy strikes Swann by her resemblance to a figure in a Botticelli fresco. Even the lesser figure of a certain Mme. Blattin becomes the subject of Proustian mischief by being described as "exactly the portrait of Savonarola by Fra Bartolomeo." Eric Karpeles has identified and located the many paintings to which Proust makes reference; in other cases, where only a painter's name is mentioned to indicate a certain style or appearance, Karpeles has chosen a representative work to illustrate the impression that Proust sought to evoke.
With some 200 paintings beautifully reproduced in full color and texts drawn from the Moncrieff/Kilmartin/Enright translation, as well as concise commentaries on the novel's evolving story, this book is an essential addition to the libraries of Proustians everywhere. The book also includes an authoritative introduction examining the various ways in which Proust used paintings and the arts to extend his descriptive vocabulary, and a comprehensive index of artists and paintings mentioned in the novel.
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Editorial Reviews

Rochester Post-Bulletin

An indispensable companion for readers of Proust…. Precisely what’s been needed for about 90 years.

Art in America
“A visually stunning and surprisingly accessible book that brings out subtle facets of Proust’s masterpiece, as well as the artworks he cites…Karpeles comes close to encapsulating Proust’s vision…Paintings in Proust could serve effectively as either a concise preface or a meaningful afterword to the monumental novel. What’s more, it can be appreciated entirely on its own.”
Daily Telegraph
Fortunately you do not need to have read a page of Proust to appreciate this beautiful book.
Irish Times
An intelligent and passionate introduction from a painter who deeply understands Proust, a collection of sumptuous reproductions of paintings from the Middle Ages to the early 20th century, and a window into Proust's sharp, eccentric wit.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780500238547
  • Publisher: Thames & Hudson
  • Publication date: 10/27/2008
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 532,713
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Eric Karpeles is a painter who was educated at Haverford College,
Oxford University, and The New School. He lives in California.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 16, 2013

    Outstanding. A labor of love.

    For those that want to understand the references to paintings and other art works in "In Search Of Lost Time" will be enhanced immeasurably by having this book beside you. You may even want to go and see some of the works of art after viewing this book (with the text from the book printed opposite them). The footnotes or descriptions at the end of the book are particularly helpful.

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  • Posted April 18, 2009

    A simple idea, beautifully produced

    Readers of Proust's "In Search of Lost Time" will know the importance of art to the narrator and his world, so the novel is peppered with references to artists and paintings from the 13th century to the 20th century. What Eric Karpeles has done in this book is to assemble reproductions of most of the art works mentioned in the novel and show them alongside the passage of the novel where they are mentioned. Not only is this a great reference for Proust enthusiasts, it is also a very well-produced collection of reproductions of great paintings which can be appreciated by any art lover.

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