SWANN'S WAY

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Overview

CONTENTS

OVERTURE
COMBRAY
SWANN IN LOVE
PLACE-NAMES: THE NAME





OVERTURE


For a long time I used to go to bed early. Sometimes, when I had put out
my candle, my eyes would close so quickly that I had not even time to
say "I'm going to sleep." And half an hour later the thought that it was
time to go to sleep would awaken me; I would try to put away the book
which, I imagined, was still in my hands, and to blow out the light; I
had been thinking all the time, while I was asleep, of what I had just
been reading, but my thoughts had run into a channel of their own,
until I myself seemed actually to have become the subject of my book:
a church, a quartet, the rivalry between Fran├žois I and Charles V. This
impression would persist for some moments after I was awake; it did not
disturb my mind, but it lay like scales upon my eyes and prevented them
from registering the fact that the candle was no longer burning. Then
it would begin to seem unintelligible, as the thoughts of a former
existence must be to a reincarnate spirit; the subject of my book would
separate itself from me, leaving me free to choose whether I would form
part of it or no; and at the same time my sight would return and I
would be astonished to find myself in a state of darkness, pleasant and
restful enough for the eyes, and even more, perhaps, for my mind, to
which it appeared incomprehensible, without a cause, a matter dark
indeed.

I would ask myself what o'clock it could be; I could hear the whistling
of trains, which, now nearer and now farther off, punctuating the
distance like the note of a bird in a forest, shewed me in perspective
the deserted countryside through which a traveller would be hurrying
towards the nearest station: the path that he followed being fixed for
ever in his memory by the general excitement due to being in a strange
place, to doing unusual things, to the last words of conversation, to
farewells exchanged beneath an unfamiliar lamp which echoed still in his
ears amid the silence of the night; and to the delightful prospect of
being once again at home.

I would lay my cheeks gently against the comfortable cheeks of my
pillow, as plump and blooming as the cheeks of babyhood. Or I would
strike a match to look at my watch. Nearly midnight. The hour when an
invalid, who has been obliged to start on a journey and to sleep in a
strange hotel, awakens in a moment of illness and sees with glad relief
a streak of daylight shewing under his bedroom door. Oh, joy of joys!
it is morning. The servants will be about in a minute: he can ring,
and some one will come to look after him. The thought of being made
comfortable gives him strength to endure his pain. He is certain he
heard footsteps: they come nearer, and then die away. The ray of light
beneath his door is extinguished. It is midnight; some one has turned
out the gas; the last servant has gone to bed, and he must lie all night
in agony with no one to bring him any help.

I would fall asleep, and often I would be awake again for short snatches
only, just long enough to hear the regular creaking of the wainscot, or
to open my eyes to settle the shifting kaleidoscope of the darkness,
to savour, in an instantaneous flash of perception, the sleep which lay
heavy upon the furniture, the room, the whole surroundings of which I
formed but an insignificant part and whose unconsciousness I should very
soon return to share. Or, perhaps, while I was asleep I had returned
without the least effort to an earlier stage in my life, now for ever
outgrown; and had come under the thrall of one of my childish terrors,
such as that old terror of my great-uncle's pulling my curls, which was
effectually dispelled on the day--the dawn of a new era to me--on which
they were finally cropped from my head. I had forgotten that event
during my sleep; I remembered it again immediately I had succeeded in
making myself wake up to escape my great-uncle's fingers; still, as a
measure of precaution, I would bury the whole of my head in the pillow
before returning to the world of dreams.

Sometimes, too, just as Eve was created from a rib of Adam, so a woman
would come into existence while I was sleeping, conceived from some
strain in the position of my limbs. Formed by the appetite that I was
on the point of gratifying, she it was, I imagined, who offered me that
gratification. My body, conscious that its own warmth was permeating
hers, would strive to become one with her, and I would awake.
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Product Details

  • BN ID: 2940012375490
  • Publisher: SAP
  • Publication date: 3/29/2011
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 486 KB

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 42 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(23)

4 Star

(6)

3 Star

(3)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(6)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 14, 2011

    First Volume of an unprecedented achievement in literature

    Proust was a master architect of sentences and characters. He rips down the veneer of French civilization and offers a revelation in insight on human behavior. When Virginia Woolf first read this novel, she nearly gave up the profession of writing because she felt no author could ever produce a better work than Proust had achieved in Swann's Way. Upon reading this book, my passion for literature was revivified and made anew--though it is challenging at parts, it offers great rewards. To anyone that loves reading, this is an imperative literary journey.

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2008

    Proust's prose

    I'm in gratuate school for history, 95% of the reading I do is non-fiction, most people would find my reading boring, dull and/or very dry. I take a break by reading fiction, mostly the classics. When I want to relax I read Proust, I find his prose mesmerizing. If he wrote ten pages on flipping and egg I would read it. To me the story is secondary. If you enjoy the pleasure of reading the written word this is it.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2012

    Not happy.

    The formatting is distracting. I will be dumping this for one that is easier to read.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Swann's Way (Davis Translation)

    Proust's work is now available in a translation that is not dull or coy. This translation is better than the Moncrieff -Kilmartin translation. Read this book and find out why Nabokov called Proust wisdom in literature.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 6, 2014

    N

    My teacher said this is an amazing book with great details and it feels like your in a dream i dont have a dought that im not going to mind spending money on this book : )

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2013

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2013

    love the swan's wa

    always a pleasure

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 4, 2011

    Great book.

    Full of enchantment and beauty.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 19, 2011

    The ebook is not the Davis translation.

    It's a good thing it was only a buck.

    0 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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    Posted August 3, 2009

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    Posted February 23, 2010

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    Posted April 3, 2009

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 42 Customer Reviews

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