The 14-Minute Marcel Proust: A Very Short Guide to the Greatest Novel Ever Written

Overview

Today it's called 'In Search of Lost Time'. An earlier generation knew it as 'Remembrance of Things Past'. Under whatever title, and whichever translator, Proust's gargantuan novel has challenged American readers for nearly ninety years.Over the course of twelve months, Stephen Fall tackled the recent and lovely Penguin/Viking editions, blogging on the internet as he read. He devotes a short chapter to each of the novel's seven books, introducing it with a two-minute plot synopsis--thus the fourteen minutes of ...
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The 14-Minute Marcel Proust: A Very Short Guide to the Greatest Novel Ever Written

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Overview

Today it's called 'In Search of Lost Time'. An earlier generation knew it as 'Remembrance of Things Past'. Under whatever title, and whichever translator, Proust's gargantuan novel has challenged American readers for nearly ninety years.Over the course of twelve months, Stephen Fall tackled the recent and lovely Penguin/Viking editions, blogging on the internet as he read. He devotes a short chapter to each of the novel's seven books, introducing it with a two-minute plot synopsis--thus the fourteen minutes of the title. More than that, he ruminates on one or more of its highlights, compares the Penguin/Viking translations with the classic ones based on the work of C. K. Scott Moncrieff, and (gotcha!) points to errors in the text or translation. Three concluding chapters discuss Albertine, the great love of the narrator's life; Proust's service in the French army; and the 'dueling madeleines', which give a snapshot of each translator's version of a notable Proustian passage. About 12,500 words.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781452836997
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
  • Publication date: 9/9/2010
  • Pages: 64
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.13 (d)

Meet the Author

I set out to read Swann's Way more than once before a pal challenged me to read the whole of Proust's gargantuan novel with him. Every Wednesday, on his way to the law office where he worked as a low-level attorney, he'd stop by my room (it had a kitchen but wasn't really an apartment). We'd drink coffee, smoke, and talk about what we'd read during the week. Egging each other on in this fashion, we finished the book before the year was out.

Ten years later, I read the novel again--and aloud--to my wife over the course of two winters. That was the handsome two-volume Random House edition of the novel, entitled Remembrance of Things Past, the first six books rendered into English by Charles Scott Moncrieff and the seventh by Frederick Blossom. When Terence Kilmartin's reworking came out in the 1990s, I acquired that, too, but only read pieces of it--notably book seven, The Past Recaptured, greatly improved over the rather lame Fred Blossom translation. Otherwise, Remembrance of Things Past was still hobbled by the post-Victorian prose of Scott Moncrieff, or so it seemed to me.

Then came the new Penguin editions, the first four volumes of which have now been published in the United States by Viking. After reading a rave review of volume two--In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower--I realized that I would have to read it. On second thought, I decided to start from the beginning with the new Swann's Way. It was a good decision. Lydia Davis did a wonderful job with the first volume, and by the time I'd lulled Little Marcel to sleep (on page 43 in her translation), I knew that I was once again in for the long haul. So I set out to acquire a complete set of hardcover books--not so easy, as matters turned out! I read them in sequence, and I blogged about them on the internet as I read. This little book came out of that blog.
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