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Swann's Way

(À la recherche du temps perdu #1)

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4.13  ·  Rating details ·  46,020 ratings  ·  3,533 reviews
Swann's Way tells two related stories, the first of which revolves around Marcel, a younger version of the narrator, and his experiences in, and memories of, the French town Combray. Inspired by the "gusts of memory" that rise up within him as he dips a Madeleine into hot tea, the narrator discusses his fear of going to bed at night. He is a creature of habit and dislikes ...more
Paperback, The Modern Library Classics, 615 pages
Published June 23rd 1998 by The Modern Library New York (first published November 14th 1913)
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Leanne Kidd For me, it has been the opposite experience. I LOVE this book so much that I can't wait to get home and read!
What can happen, if you allow it, is you …more
For me, it has been the opposite experience. I LOVE this book so much that I can't wait to get home and read!
What can happen, if you allow it, is you get lulled into a kind of meditation, lost with him in his thought world. And once you emerge, if you have paid close attention without having expectations of how and what should happen next, you will feel like you have been on a journey with a dear friend.
Advice, only read this book when you have uninterrupted, quiet time. Allow yourself to get gently lost with no time or particular place to go to (that is, do not try to predict the way you want a story theme to unfold). Notice how one thought can lead into another, and another, and then he often returns so as to not leave us hanging. I feel that he is reflecting on the way our minds naturally wander. Go with him. Be there.
You may find that it is the best book you have ever read.
Also, the interpretation is important. I am currently reading the version of Swann's Way interpreted into (American) English by Lydia Davis. Excellent! (less)
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) French is closer to Spanish than it is to English, linguistically, so I'd go with Spanish. I'm listening to the English audiobook and thinking I shoul…moreFrench is closer to Spanish than it is to English, linguistically, so I'd go with Spanish. I'm listening to the English audiobook and thinking I should have tried either French or Spanish.(less)

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s.penkevich
Jun 21, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: You
Recommended to s.penkevich by: Proustitute
Shelves: love, french
'reality will take shape in the memory alone...

For 100 years now, Swann’s Way, the first volume of Marcel Proust’s masterpiece, has engaged and enchanted readers. Within moments of turning back the cover and dropping your eyes into the trenches of text, the reader is sent to soaring heights of rapture while clinging to Proust prose, leaving no room for doubt that this is well-deserving of it’s honor among the timeless classics. In swirling passages of poetic ecstasy, the whole of his life and m
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
685. Du Côté de Chez Swann = Swann's Way (À La Recherche du Temps Perdu = In Search of Lost Time #1), Marcel Proust

Writing about this series of novels should be a separate book in itself. You do not know where to start, as if you want to depict the pyramids of Egypt stone by stone, and you really do not know how to deal with the storm of words, the word "magnificent" is too small for this series of novels. Far superior to the Gothic cathedrals, the Wagner, Beethoven operas, and the works of all
...more
Jeffrey Keeten
Jan 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-french
”At the hour when I usually went downstairs to find out what there was for dinner...I would stop by the table, where the kitchen-maid had shelled them, to inspect the platoons of peas, drawn up in ranks and numbered, like little green marbles, ready for a game; but what most enraptured me were the asparagus, tinged with ultramarine and pink which shaded their heads, finely stippled in mauve and azure, through a series of imperceptible gradations to their white feet--still stained a little by the ...more
BlackOxford
Childhood Expectations

The Delphic maxim Nosce te ipsum, Know thyself, is the motivating force not only of Western philosophy and Christian theology but of much of Western literature. All of the volumes of In Search of Lost Time are an experiment in self-understanding, an experiment which incorporates something that is left out of much of modern science, particularly psychological science, namely the concept of purposefulness.

Purposefulness is the capacity to consider purpose rather than the ado
...more
karen
so i figured i would finally read me some proust, get in touch with my roots or whatnot. and i have to say, for my introduction, it was kind of a mixed bag. the first part i had real problems with. i am not a fan of precocious or sensitive children, so the whole first part was kind of a wash for me. i know, that's terrible, right?? here is this Monument of Great Literature, and i am annoyed, as though i were watching some children's production of oklahoma, or any musical, really. (shudder) there ...more
Florencia
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Proust so titillates my own desire for expression that I can hardly set out the sentence…
My great adventure is really Proust. Well—what remains to be written after that? I’m only in the first volume, and there are, I suppose, faults to be found, but I am in a state of amazement; as if a miracle were being done before my eyes. How, at last, has someone solidified what has always escaped—and made it too into this beautiful and perfectly enduring substance? One has to put the book down and gasp. T
...more
Jim Fonseca
Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust

Proust! Memories! Almost 3,000 reviews so I thought I would simply give examples of his writing if you have not read him before. Beautiful writing, lyrical, complex, maybe even occasionally convoluted.

First the famous passage about madeleines:

description

“And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of a little piece of the madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her
...more
Renato Magalhães Rocha
Reading a book for the first time is a great, exciting experience that packs a myriad of emotions and sensations: you’re happy because of the joy of starting another journey, anxious because of your expectations, curious because of the reviews you've read or things you’ve heard about the story… it’s something similar to going out on a first date, where everything is novelty and - if the book (the person) proves to be interesting indeed - you want to find out more and more. Once the initial excit ...more
Jason
Memory is a slippery little sucker. It constitutes an elusive, transient cache of data, the reliability of which decreases in reverse proportion to the length of time it has been stored. It can even be a blatant liar! How often have we found ourselves convinced of the details a particular memory only to have those details called into question by some testimony or other of which we have been made newly aware? It is almost frightening how quickly and naturally the bytes of our mind can be removed ...more
Emily May
I have removed my initial three star rating for this and settled with a blank rating. This is because I cannot in any way say what I want to say about this book with goodreads stars. I had given it three stars because of my indecision, it seemed like a good idea to just stick my rating somewhere in the middle when I couldn't make my mind up. The problem is that on goodreads three stars means "I liked it", which, unfortunately, I didn't. Two stars means "it was ok", but that's not an accurate des ...more
Jessica
Jan 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: rememberers of things past
AFTER:

Okay, well, I really screwed up my schedule this weekend, so now it's the latening am and nothing's happening for me in the sleep department. Honestly I can't think of a more appropriate time to review this book, which begins with insomnia.

This was great. It really was. Granted, it's not for everyone, but nor is it the rarified hothouse orchid cultured specifically and exclusively for an elite audience of fancy-pants dandies with endless supplies of Ritalin and time. This book is fascinati
...more
Seemita
Jan 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle." - Albert Einstein

I made acquaintance with Sir Einstein’s above observation more than two decades ago. It was precisely after the conclusion of my study-hour one evening, during which my father shared this quote with me, that I was struck by the uniqueness of such an expansive statement. For some fabulous reason, it stayed with me. As I grew up and began gaining the
...more
Fionnuala
Easter 2013.

When I reached the final pages of Du Côté de chez Swann, I knew that I hadn’t finished a book but that I’d simply begun one, that what I’d read were only the first chapters of a much longer work, and that reading through the entire seven volumes of A la Recherche du Temps Perdu would be, to borrow one of Marcel Proust’s favourite images, like travelling on a very long and very beautiful train.
I realised that what I had done so far was simply to wander through the first few carriag
...more
Violet wells
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Proust is probably the author I most pretend to love more than I do. In certain company to admit preferring dozens of other authors can feel like acknowledging some strain of mediocrity in one's intellect and critical faculties. Joyce is the other one. Though I don't often make any pretence of loving Joyce, except his story The Dead and parts of Ulysses. Proust and Joyce - the two sacred cows of 20th century literature. That said, Proust had a huge influence on two of my favourite writers - Wool ...more
Greta
An involuntary anxious childhood memory

Whether or not you like Proust, mostly depends on if you like the type of narration. Swann‘s way is not a far progressing story, but works with involuntary memories, associations, sensations and thoughts, which makes it a philosophical but also psychological novel.

What Swann‘s Way is about

Marcel Proust. The smell of madeleines has become to be known as Proust-Effect

Swann's Way tells two related stories, the first of which revolves around Marcel‘s memories a
...more
Kenny
Always try to keep a patch of sky above your life.
Swann's Way ~~ Marcel Proust


1

It has been said, "In Search of Lost Time is the most famous and least read French novel." How unfortunate since it is a beautiful read, & Proust has amazing insights into the human condition. As with the greatest works of Joyce, Woolf, Dickens, Twain, Chekhov and Dostoevsky, Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time is a memoir disguised as a novel. And what a novel it is. It is a monumental achievement.

" The sad thin
...more
Riku Sayuj
“As we, or mother Dana, weave and unweave our bodies, Stephen said, from day to day, their molecules shuttled to and fro, so does the artist weave and unweave his image.”

~ James Joyce, Ulysses


“The Universe is the externalization of the soul.”

~ Emerson

To attempt to review this now would be like trying to review a book after finishing the first couple of chapters. There is no way to do justice to it, or to even be sure of what one is prattling on about. So seasoned readers, please do excuse an
...more
Jibran
Jun 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Readers of quality literature
Recommended to Jibran by: Proustian friends
Shelves: fiction, top-favs, french
Reality takes shape in the memory alone.

I do not claim a decent knowledge of world literature, being as I still am no more than half a decade old in my English-language readings, so my acquaintance with A-class writers remains, at best, sketchy; but I feel no hesitation in claiming that there are two writers - Marcel Proust and Vladimir Nabokov - who make all wannabes look like silly dilettantes, whose artistic range, sheer eloquence and fierce intelligence have such a deleterious effect on so m
...more
Darwin8u
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“One cannot change, that is to say become a different person, while continuing to acquiesce to the feelings of the person one has ceased to be.”
― Marcel Proust, Swann's Way

description

For years, I have put off reading Proust mainly because the size of In Search of Lost Time/Remembrance of Things Past seemed intimidating. Now, having finished Swann's Way: Vol 1. (440 pages of the 3365 total pages), I feel a compelling need to keep going.

This novel is preoccupied with all the details that surround time, des
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
"Longtemps je me suis couché de bonne heure."
This phrase and the title of La Recherche has - in my opinion - been butchered many times as people have tried to translate Proust into English. I read it all in French - most French people do not even get past this first volume - and so I cannot really tell you whether the Moncrieff's translation is better than the Kilmartin's. I am not trying to be a snob, I am just saying that, like Ulysses, this work is so subtle and uses such a wide range of idio
...more
Gaurav
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Those consumed by the wasting torments of merciless love/ Haunt the sequestered alleys and myrtle groves that give them
- Virgil




At first you avoid it as if nothing is happening- the prose is so dense that you feel anxious that initial pages are just about the narrator’s issues with sleeping- For a long time, I went to bed early. Sometimes, my candle scarcely out, my eyes would close so quickly that I did not have time to say to myself: ‘I’m falling asleep.’ But then as you brave through first
...more
Adam Dalva
May 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first time with this translation - I think that, in the end, it's an improvement on the Moncrieff (though I'm biased because Lydia Davis is my mentor). If you switch back and forth as you read, there's a power and directness and lucidity here that just doesn't exist in other translations of Proust. I'll continue experimenting with the alternative translations as I make my way through the seven volumes, though obviously the Moncrieff sets a high bar.

And what about Swann's way, itself? There ar
...more
İntellecta
I´ve read the book “Swann`ların Tarafı” (First Volume in “Search of Lost Time” written by Marcel Proust (* 10. Juli 1871 in Paris; † 18. November 1922 ebenda)

As the title suggests, it takes us some time to read. One has to get involved with it and accept the rhythm of the work. It is not a book, which you should spend hours on it or read straight through. I loved reading the book in the night.
The blooming gardens, the landscape in the sunshine are flooded with light. All of this is full of splen
...more
Manny
I think my original impetus for reading this was Thomas Disch's excellent short story "Getting into Death". Finding out that she probably only has a few weeks to live, the heroine immediately goes out, buys an edition of Proust, and starts reading. She's only able to relax once she's finished. Well, clearly, it had to be pretty good, and maybe I shouldn't wait until the last month of my life.

OK... it IS pretty good! Like all truly great novels, it's also very strange. Proust is just interested i
...more
Paul Bryant
Note to all relevant parties : This book made me laugh and cry. I absolutely fell in love with the characters!


****************



PROBABLY HOW NOT TO READ MARCEL PROUST

In series three of The Sopranos, Tony tells his therapist about his latest fainting spell which happened when he was cooking meat. Then he remembers his very first fainting spell, which happened a short time after he witnessed his father chop a guy's finger off with a meat cleaver. She says his very first attack happened when he short
...more
Ian "Marvin" Graye
PART I

Spoilers

For reasons that will become apparent, my review focuses not on the plot of the novel, but on its style and themes.

If you want to develop your own relationship with these aspects of the novel, then it might be better to turn away now.

This is partly why I paid little attention to the excellent discussion group at Proust 2013, before writing my review.

“Swann’s Way” is one of the most personal books ever written, and I want to define my personal relationship with it, without viewing i
...more
Samra Yusuf
You never see it coming, it’s just another day of rainy August, the girl in checkered uniform and blue sash, dangling down at one side of her skinny shoulder gauchely, waggling her legs, is seated tetchily in wait for her father, who is supposed to pick her up at the time, waiting hall is almost deserted, when she hears a lowest of echo near somewhere, “it’d rain too heavily for next hour, your father won’t make it here, he asked me to drop you home, pick up your bag..”He asks her imperiously, n ...more
Manuel Antão
Dec 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017, favorites
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

I read Proust’s masterpiece back in 1985. What did I know of life then? Nothing!

Having recently read a Smithsonian editorial that made fun of the novels, and remembering all too well one particular hilariously snippy Monty Python sketch (the Summarize Proust Competition), I too wanted to be able to rub elbows with the elite intellectuals who mocked Proust, so I picked up the first of three volumes (the weighty Moncrieff editions becaus
...more
Kalliope

Reposting this review since it had been erroneously deleted.

-------

It feels peculiar to write a review on Du côté de chez Swann given how many comments I have posted during the two months of our reading in the GoodReads Group “2013 The Year of Reading Proust”.

As I have read it in the original French my quotes come from the Gallimard edition.

Many of my posts have shown how fascinated I have been by the very visual writing of Marcel Proust. Colors, light and its effects, bounties of flowers, all
...more
Piyangie
May 25, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Swann's Way, the first volume of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time is one of the rare books that come your way. After keeping in my TBR for nearly two years, I finally managed to become acquainted with it. This will not be a review in the strictest sense, for I don't consider me competent enough to review such an in-depth work. And also what the reading of this book does to you, the effect it produces on you, you can only feel; no express word in all justice can properly capture them.

In
...more
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4,470 followers
French novelist, best known for his 3000 page masterpiece À la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past or In Search of Lost Time), a pseudo-autobiographical novel told mostly in a stream-of-consciousness style.

Born in the first year of the Third Republic, the young Marcel, like his narrator, was a delicate child from a bourgeois family. He was active in Parisian high society during t
...more

Other books in the series

À la recherche du temps perdu (7 books)
  • In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower
  • The Guermantes Way
  • Sodom and Gomorrah
  • La Prisonnière (À la recherche du temps perdu, #5)
  • La fugitiva (En busca del tiempo perdido, #6)
  • Time Regained (In Search of Lost Time, #7)

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