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In Search of Lost Time

(À la recherche du temps perdu #1-7)

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  10,350 ratings  ·  625 reviews
On the surface a traditional "Bildungsroman" describing the narrator’s journey of self-discovery, this huge and complex book is also a panoramic and richly comic portrait of France in the author’s lifetime, and a profound meditation on the nature of art, love, time, memory and death. But for most readers it is the characters of the novel who loom the largest: Swann and Ode ...more
Paperback, Boxed Set, 4211 pages
Published June 3rd 2003 by Modern Library (first published 1927)
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Guy Aron Caro Antonio, sono completamente d'accordo con te. Per favore perdonare le infelicità nel mio italiano - sto usando Google per tradurre dall'inglese. …moreCaro Antonio, sono completamente d'accordo con te. Per favore perdonare le infelicità nel mio italiano - sto usando Google per tradurre dall'inglese. Questa è la mia seconda lettura di Proust, questa volta in una traduzione più recente (edizione Penguin Classics). È sulla mia lista dei desideri perché ho il cancro alla prostata allo stadio 4 e vorrei leggerlo ancora una volta. Grazie per il tuo post, che ti mostra di essere un collega Proustiano!(less)

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Start your review of In Search of Lost Time (6 Volumes)
When you read Proust, and learn to appreciate his extraordinary, dreamy, hypnotic, truly inimitable style (this review is a mere shadow on the wall of a Platonic cave), which succeeds in making the syntax of language, usually as invisible as air, into a tangible element, so that, like literary yogis, we may feel, for the first time, how enjoyable the simple activity of reading, like breathing, can be; and discover the delights of sentences which took the author days to construct and us an hour t ...more
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Why did Proust have to write a 4000 page novel, especially when there is not any discernable, coherent plot? Was it really necessary to have those extended society scenes, some of which lasted for 150 pages or so? Couldn’t the whole thing have been tightened up a little and cut down to 1000 pages or so?

I asked myself these questions at various points over the nine months it took me to journey through Proust’s masterpiece. It was not until the final two volumes (and particularly the latter half
Jul 31, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: recherchers of temps perdu; rememberers of things past; snobs; size queens
I took today off work because I need to put everything I own into boxes so I can move tomorrow, but obviously I can't begin doing that until I get some of these obsessive thoughts about Proust out of my system. I mean, can I? Nope. I can't! After all, this house is where I read Proust -- wait, I read Swann's Way before I moved here, which is pretty nuts to think about -- and so how can I move without reviewing the whole thing?

I do feel pretty traumatized after finishing this book. Sort of shells
Roy Lotz
In reality, every reader is, while he is reading, the reader of his own self. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers the reader to enable him to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have perceived in himself.

I struggled with Proust, on and off, for three years. I read these books sitting, standing, lying down, in cars and on trains, waiting in airports, on commutes to work, relaxing on vacation. Some of it I read in New York, some in Madri
Paul Bryant
Jan 27, 2019 marked it as to-read-novels

Marcel eats the madeleine.

Marcel : Oh, that really reminds me of something...

Marcel's friend : Oh yes? What?

Marcel : ….. I can't quite put my finger on….hmmm. No, it's gone.

Marcel's friend: Oh well. It probably wasn't that important.
Celebrity Death Match Special: In Search of Lost Time versus Harry Potter

The francophone world was stunned by today's release of papers, sealed by Proust for 100 years after publication of the initial volume of his famous series, which finally reveal his original draft manuscripts. In the rest of this review, you can find out what Proust's books looked like before his well-meaning but unworldly editor decided that French literateurs would prefer something slightly different.

(view spoiler)
Nov 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
“We do not receive wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can make for us, which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world. The lives that you admire, the attitudes that seem noble to you, have not been shaped by a paterfamilias or a schoolmaster, they have sprung from very different beginnings, having been influenced by evil or commonplace that prevailed round them. They re ...more
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In another LIST book (1Q84) it was said that unless you have the opportunity to be in jail or have to hide out for a long time, you can't read the whole of In Search of Lost Time.

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Volume 1. Swann’s Way (★★★★☆)
Volume 2. Within a Budding Grove (★★★☆☆)
Volume 3. The Guermantes Way (★★☆☆☆)
Volume 4. Cities of the Plain (★★★★★)
Volume 5. The Captive (★★★★★)
Volume 6. The Fugitive (★★★★☆)
Volume 7. Time Regained (★★★★★)

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Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2013, aere-perennius

The first volume of 'In Search of Lost Time' (ISoLT), or 'Remembrance of Things Past' (RoTP), or 'À la recherche du temps perdu' (Merde mère un autre?) was first published in France 100 years ago this month. I started reading in February, and now end this beast in November. Apparently, I needed a little wind-up to start and if the last 12 hours is any indication, I will need a wee bit of time to settle down from the mess Proust has left in my head.

This is a book that feels like a hypnotic river
Avis Black
Feb 28, 2008 rated it did not like it
I read the whole damn thing, for which I feel like demanding a medal. A famous quote about this work goes, "I may be thicker skinned than most, but I just can't understand why anyone should take thirty pages to describe how he tosses about in bed because he can't get to sleep. I clutched my head."

I heartily agree. Nor do I like dinner parties that take longer to read about than they took to occur. The main problem with Proust (and his admirers) is that they are convinced that the French aristocr
Mari Mann
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are some writers that have made such a unique contribution to literature and to art that they are considered among the best, if not the best, and not just in their own country, but in the world. Such a writer was Marcel Proust. He has been called the greatest novelist of the 20th century, and the novel, A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, compared to Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling. But Michelangelo was known as “The Divine”, while Proust was called a hypochondriac, a dilettante, a homose ...more
Initially published in French between 1913 and 1927, Marcel Proust’s seven-part work In Search of Lost Time (also called Remembrance of Things Past) has undergone a befuddling series of translations. The “Moncrieff–Kilmartin–Enright” version, made available for this Modern Library publication, is essentially the original C. K. Scott Moncrieff translation with further revisions by Terence Kilmartin in 1984 (based on the 1954 definitive French text) and D. J. Enright in 1992.

As I finish each volum
A few scattered thoughts on this book:

“Reality exists in memory alone.”

We instinctively shrink from this thesis, not because it isn’t meaningful, but because it goes against some (perhaps ill-placed and quite materialistic) sense of action that permeates our modern lives. And yet inevitably we should still be drawn to its spell, as who has not felt that joy Proust has described at least once in their lives? Just today I read Józef Czapski's remarkable Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Pr
Lee Klein
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Swann's Way

The gateway to a full-on Proust habit. About varieties of love: eros (carnal), agape (unconditional/motherly), societal (admiration), divine (mystical/aesthetic). That last one isn't old-fashioned denominational GOD LOVE, but more like a recognition of the wonder of existence/beauty, often tinged with a wistfulness, or melancholy, since the instance of divine love is experienced without warning or reason and then only remembered/recaptured with decreasing intensity thereafter. Importa
"It was only a [book], but sighing deeply, he let his thoughts feed on it, and his face was wet with a stream of tears." —Reworking of Virgil, Aeneid, 1.464-465

I had no deep familiarity with famous authors, having only heard their names in passing: Austen, Ovid, Virgil, Dickens, Shakespeare, Nabokov, Wilde, &c.

I had heard of some individual works too; Don Quixote, War & Peace, Ulysses, The Three Musketeers &c.; but I had no conception of what time period they belonged to, or the types of works t
Malini Sridharan
Jun 15, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: people with a lot of time to kill or who need a reason to be pretentious
This book is good reading if you have huge chunks of captive free time (like my 50 minute train commute).If you cannot dedicate at least 1.5 hrs a day, 4-5 days a week to reading, it is probably not worth starting. At that pace, I finished the novel in about 4 months with a week break between each volume and a few days of desperate magazine huffing in the middle of Guermantes Way.

I read half in the modern library classics edition and half in the newer penguin translation. I had an easier time w
Jul 24, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels-french, proust
According to this record, it took me 8 years to read the whole of Proust, having read Swann’s Way in August 2012. But that is not really the whole story. For I began reading Proust some 45 years years ago.

Of course, I spent a generation reading other things and doing scholarship, and reading almost no literature... but that is another story.

Rather than comment on Proust, I will offer a word of advice to those who still find this mountain impossible to climb.

I read Swann’s Way at least 4 times. M
Jun 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Finally finished this LONG novel. Took me some time. Lost some time maybe too. Read most of this year due to the pandemic. Plot wise the book was alright, but I really liked his talk about philosophy and anxiety. He talks a lot about the Arabian Knights, literature, art, music, and various other topics as well. Would I recommended this book to anyone? No. It's too long for the average reader. ...more
Sep 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who can appreciate it
Shelves: best-of-the-best
Every page of this book is packed with gorgeous, poetic writing and jaw-dropping, often hilarious psychological observation. Proust does not prop himself up with over-complex structures, is not confusing, is not gratuitously strange. He understood life preternaturally well and wrote about it preternaturally well. This is the novel of all novels. But read cautiously: Proust will dissect your most intimate thoughts and motivations, and he will be as accurate as a sniper.

"All our final decisions a
Sep 23, 2015 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-shelf, classics
This is a physically beautiful collection of seven books that I own, that I know I will never read. Got as far as page 50 in the first volume before I realized the whole series is about Proust waxing poetics about himself--it's actually not that terrible or terribly boring. He has a nice way with words, but he's not for me, especially now that I don't have to read gigantic classics anymore.

That's not the problem though. The problem is I can't seem to let go of these books, and I really should. T
Aug 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, 1001-list
“Every reader, as he reads, is actually the reader of himself. The writer's work is only a kind of optical instrument he provides the reader so he can discern what he might never have seen in himself without this book. The reader's recognition in himself of what the book says is the proof of the book's truth.”

Full review to come someday. Maybe. For now, all I can say is that In Search of Lost Time was one hell of an optical instrument. Read it, bitches.

Rating breakdown:

Swann’s Way: 5 stars
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
In my 20's I attempted Proust Swanns Way, I recall actually throwing the book across my room in frustration. I did not understand how it could be possible to read scentences that never end on themes that seemed so trivial. I came back to Proust in my 40's and ended up spending the best three months of my life consuming his Masterpiece. Maybe I had to grow up and live more before sitting with the monumental task of entering a world so carefully and wisely crafted. I don't believe just anyone at a ...more
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fave
Why didn't I read it earlier in life!

Suggestion: Whatever you are reading drop it. Pick this one.
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it
I know it: nobody needs another review of In Search of Lost Time. But with a book this big, it doesn't feel sufficient to slap a star rating on it and say DONE!

There's really only one question with regard to this monster, right? Is it worth it?

Um, probably?

What can I tell you? There's a huge temptation to compose a readymade reflection, something pithy and easily deployed at dinner parties. Yet what a disservice to the book! The dreariest response a novelist can receive is a simple "It's great!
Mar 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Volume I

“Sometimes, too, as Eve was created from a rib of Adam, a woman would be born during my sleep from some misplacing of my thigh. Conceived from the pleasure I was on the point of enjoying, she it was, I imagined, who offered me that pleasure. My body, conscious that its own warmth was permeating hers, would strive to become one with her, and I would awake. The rest of humanity seemed very remote in comparison with this woman whose company I had left but a moment ago; my cheek was still wa
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
More than a commentary on Swann’s jealousy or M. Charlus’s homosexuality or the frivolity of the Guermantes’ sorties, Marcel Proust’s monumental work In Search of Lost Time paints the unsuccessful reconstruction of a forgone world and a lost existence from fickle memories, which like morning mists would fade with the rising sun. The narrator Marcel, longing for a past that didn’t exist but must be created, sought to experience Bergson’s continuous time rather than the fragmented and still-framed ...more
I am somehow to my last In Search of Lost Time review. I'm not sure how this has happened, as it doesn't seem like almost a year ago that I was first ordering Swann's Way and reading the first few pages. I was reading about sleep, falling asleep, and reading about mint tea before violent episodes of flu. Now, almost a year later, I have a set of creased, abused, fallen down from bus seats, fallen out of hands onto driveways editions of Proust, some of which with the marked dates of where the rea ...more
Jan 10, 2010 rated it did not like it
I did not even come close to finishing this interminable novel. I read the first volume in French and "Swann's Way" in English as part of my Comp. Lit. degree. I was sorry not to like someone who is considered a great French novelist, but I hated this almost as much as I did "Ulysses." Recently, I read abook by Jane Smily (13 Ways of Looking at the Novel), which explained this book more concisely than my instructor managed to. Still don't like it, but understand it a bit better. ...more
Yeah... well. I don't think I'll live long enough to read the whole thing. But it must be on the to-read shelf. ...more
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
“How much more worth living did [life] appear to me now, now that I seemed to see that this life that we live in half-darkness can be illumined, this life that at every moment we distort can be restored to its true pristine shape, that a life, in short, can be realized within the confines of a book! How happy would he be, I thought, the man who had the power to write such a book! What a task awaited him!”

I wrote reviews of each of the seven volumes of Proust’s classic, À la recherche du temps p
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Goodreads Librari...: Please add cover 1 9 Jan 31, 2021 08:03AM  
Reading 1001: Remembrance of Things Past - Proust 1 9 Sep 21, 2019 06:12AM  
New Yorker article on the original English translation and translator 2 7 Sep 09, 2018 12:22AM  
Never too Late to...: Author of the Month: Marcel Proust 25 25 Nov 28, 2017 07:50PM  
What are your 10 Best Books? 4 54 Oct 16, 2017 06:43PM  
In Search of Lost Time vs Harry Potter 2 35 Feb 12, 2017 08:19PM  
Reading Proust's ...: Rereading Within a Budding Grove 32 25 Sep 03, 2014 10:27AM  

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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

Other books in the series

À la recherche du temps perdu (8 books)
  • Swann's Way
  • In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower
  • The Guermantes Way
  • Sodom and Gomorrah
  • La Prisonnière
  • La fugitiva
  • Time Regained
  • Resuméer och register till Marcel Prousts På spaning efter den tid som flytt

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