Marcel Proust's seven-volume masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time (A la recherche du temps perdu), has inspired many superlatives, among them "the greatest novel ever written" and "the greatest novel of the first half of the twentieth century." Swann's Way, the first volume of the Recherche and the most widely read and taught of all the volumes, is ...
Marcel Proust's seven-volume masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time (A la recherche du temps perdu), has inspired many superlatives, among them "the greatest novel ever written" and "the greatest novel of the first half of the twentieth century." Swann's Way, the first volume of the Recherche and the most widely read and taught of all the volumes, is the ideal introduction to Proust's inventive genius. This Norton Critical Edition is based on C. K. Scott Moncrieff's translation, which introduced the English-speaking world to Proust and was published during the author's lifetime. It is accompanied by Susanna Lee's introduction, note on the text, and explanatory annotations. Marcel Proust was forty-two years old when Swann's Way was published, but its foundational ideas and general shape had been evolving for decades. "Contexts" includes a 1912 reader's report of the manuscript that exemplifies publishers' complicated reactions to Proust's new form of writing. Also included are three important post-publication reviews of the novel, by Elie-Joseph Bois, Lucien Daudet, and Paul Souday, as well as Andre Arnyvelde's 1913 interview with Proust. The fourteen critical essays and interpretations of Swann's Way in this volume speak to the novel's many facets-from the musical to the artistic to its representations of Judaism and homosexuality. Contributors include Gerard Genette, whose "Metonymy in Proust" appears here in English translation for the first time, along with Gilles Deleuze, Roger Shattuck, Claudia Brodsky, Julia Kristeva, Margaret E. Gray, and Alain de Botton, among others. The edition also includes a Chronology of Proust's Life and Work, a Selected Chronology of French Literature from 1870 to 1929, and a Selected Bibliography.
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Publishers Weekly, 2003-07-14 Relax: it's fantastic. There's no question that Davis's American English is thinner and more literal than C.K. Scott Montcrieff's archaically inflected turns of phrase and idioms, at least as revised by Terence Kilmartin and later by D.J. Enright. The removal of some of the familiar layers of the past in this all-new translation gives one a feeling similar to that of encountering an old master painting that has just been cleaned: the colors seem sharper and momentarily disorienting. Yet many readers will find it exhilarating, allowing the text to shed slight airs that were not quite Proust's and making many of the jokes much more immediate (as when he implies that sense-organ atrophy in the bourgeois is a defense mechanism and the result of hardening unarticulated feelings). As accomplished translator and novelist Davis (The End of the Story) notes in her foreword, she has followed Proust's sentence structure as closely as possible "in its every aspect," including punctuation, word order and word choice. To take just one case, where Montcrieff/Kilmartin describe Mlle. Vinteuil finding it pleasant to metaphorically "sojourn" in sadism, Davis has the much more definitive "emigrate." Proust's psychological inquiry generally feels much sharper, giving a much more palpable sense of Freud and Bergson-and of the young Marcel's willful (if not malefic) manipulations of those around him. For first-timers who don't have French and are allergic to the slightest whiff of euphemism, this is the best means for traveling the way by Swann's. BOMC, Reader's Subscription and Insightout Book Club; 4-city translator tour. (Sept. 15) Forecast: Look for a fall blitz of Proustiana, reviving everything from the Montcrieff to Alain de Bouton's How Proust Can Change Your Life. Copyright restrictions will keep the last three of the six planned volumes out of American editions until 2019, 2020 and 2022, respectively, but devoted readers will seek them out via British booksellers-and have probably already begun to do so, since they were published there last year. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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