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Proust's Way: A Field Guide to In Search of Lost Time
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Proust's Way: A Field Guide to In Search of Lost Time

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  242 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
For any reader who has been humbled by the language, the density, or the sheer weight of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time, Roger Shattuck is a godsend. Winner of the National Book Award for Marcel Proust, a sweeping examination of Proust's life and works, Shattuck now offers a useful and eminently readable guidebook to Proust's epic masterpiece, and a contemplation o ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published August 17th 2001 by W. W. Norton Company (first published 2000)
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Jul 18, 2007 rated it really liked it
Roger Shattuck has written on Marcel Proust and his "In Search of Lost Time" for over forty years, and in PROUST'S WAY: A Field Guide he describes the book for the current generation of readers, who now have many choices for how to approach the work. The book contains portions both for those who haven't made their way through even the first volume yet, as well as chapters for those champion readers who want to look back and reflect on the whole seven-volume work.

Material for those who haven't--o
Michael Finocchiaro
If you wish to attempt to read La Recherche du Temps Perdu (and I can only hope you will someday), you may need a guide to help you understand some of the context. This book by Shattuck is the best I found in English besides George Painter's famous biography. It is insightful and hopefully will be a traveling companion for you and Marcel in the Paris of the 1880s to 1916...
Justin Evans
May 25, 2015 rated it liked it
A close friend just started Proust for the first time, which excited me so much that I wanted to reading group it with him. But I don't have time, so I read this instead. Not as good as Proust! Surprise, surprise.

It suffers a bit from being two books, one for people who haven't read the Search yet, and one for people who have. The one for newcomers is a better book, being an actual book. The book for veterans is less good, because it's just a bunch of stuff Shattuck has written over the years.
Jan 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is literary criticism and reflection that serves as both introduction and academic study of In Search of Lost Time. It begins with an introduction to Proust and his biography, as well as a description of when, how, and why he wrote the novel and the way it evolved over his life. Shattuck then moves into how to read the novel and what to look for and then has 5-6 chapters that dive into critique and reflection - these are ordered to be increasingly more complex and deeper dives into the nove ...more
Sep 07, 2012 rated it really liked it
Roger Shattuck has provided readers of Proust's masterpiece with an invaluable guide and analytical touchstone for thinking through what we're reading. I found especially powerful the concept of a stereo-optic presentation of time for the way Proust presents remembering, recognition, memories and experiences. Having now read Shattuck's book, I can't imagine reading Proust without it and am glad to be so well prepared as I head into the next volumes.

This is a cogent book on a rather long, rather infamous work of fiction. Proust is, as Shattuck admits, a niche market. His books do not sell out or break marketing records. The hype isn't all false, In Search Of Lost Time will take a chunk of your life to read. Yes some scenes take longer than 40 pages.
But Proust is also funny, human, and, an important study in the collection of modern literature.
So I'm not sure we need this book. Now I have a rather limited critical library at home and I'm
David Hammerbeck
Jul 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shattuck, one of this country's most eminent and readable scholars on Modernism and the Avant Garde in the late 19th, and 20tth, centuries, provides what seems impossible: a brief and almost simple (but never simplistic) guide to a famously long and complex book. Shattuck breaks the novel down thematically, with the organizing principle being what he famously wrote about in his earlier essay "Proust's Binoculars," a stereoscopic, or dual consciousness, that materializes in different ways through ...more
Dec 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: literature
Excellent... if you're looking for a serious literary analysis of "A la Recherche du Temps Perdu". Themes, recurring literary obsessions, sub themes, all are explored, not in absolute depth (this isn't a doctorate thesis, after all), but in some depth. An amusing point : Shattuck tell us the number of pages Proust needs to express particular scenes, actions, sentences, paragraphs or ideas. At times, the number of those pages is pretty high; only Proust can get away with such abundance! Shattuck ...more
Adam Dalva
Oct 20, 2015 rated it liked it
A slightly disjointed experience, though Shattuck is of course wonderful. The finest material here is mostly drawn from earlier works (save for a good examination of the 1980s happenings w/r/t Proust's oeuvre), and the supplemental stuff, most notably a long look at film adaptations of the book, feels unnecessary. I would recommend this to a college student in a bind because the page numbers match up and there are more textual references throughout, but it was less of a cohesive pleasure than MA ...more
Jeff Lacy
Feb 20, 2014 rated it liked it
Not enough intellectual heft or varied analysis for me to justify. I looked for gems of observation but got none. Shattuck's analysis is pedestrian, but for the reader of Proust who needs help with plot, simple themes, read it. Just don't expect whopping explanations about how plot influences theme influences characters influences . . .
Ed Smiley
Nov 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
This has a pretty good coverage of Proust from a reader's perspective. I wish in some ways I had read it before rather than after, as I think I would have gotten more insights.

It was good enough to make me [almost:] want to start back again at the beginning. (But it's a 3300 page novel, so you don't reread it again on a whim--I probably will some day.)
Paul Valente
May 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
Scholarly and intellectually challenging investigation of some of the most important themes of In Search Of Lost Time. Shattuck explores the subject with a great authority and intelligence.
Jun 11, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: criticism
A very fine scholarly description and analysis of Proust's great work including tables and graphic explanations of theme and structure, a discussion of almost all of the English translations available, an appendix just on optics, and an addendum written as a dialogue between fictional characters. As nice as it all is, I would not read this before reading In Search of Lost Time .
Oct 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone tackling "Swann's Way"
Recommended to David by: Just found it in library catalog
Didn't read the entire book -- probably 70 percent, skipping around -- as I didn't discover it until I either was finished with "Swann's Way" or close to it. Would have been great to have this book at hand from the start. It's quite interesting and quite unusual. And that makes it hard to describe, but still worth four stars from me.
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
“The precise equilibrium of forces between life and literature is one of literature’s major themes. Proust makes it particularly urgent by the massive steadiness with which his novel directs our attention back at ourselves. On what level, in what rhythm, with what intensity are we alive as ourselves?”

An expansive (and occasionally pedantic) review of Search, its eternal themes, its essential arcs and lessons. (Great prep for leading book club in a week on Swann's Way.)

May 11, 2011 marked it as to-read
Shelves: pause-button
Another convergent read along with Proust.

Dec 31, 2011
Being put on the Pause-Button shelf for now. I haven't read this since the summer when I had to return it to the library. I'll get my mitts on another copy at some point.
Ambrose Miles
Mar 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A very helpful book. Now all I have to do is read In Search of Lost Time to help this book make sense.
Timothy Deer
Mar 10, 2013 rated it liked it
While deeply academic and insightful, I can't help but suggest that one's time would be better spent actually diving into Proust, with perhaps the aid of the occasional Wikipedia article.
Jan 13, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2009
The first few chapters were especially strong.
Brian Dunn
Dec 27, 2013 rated it liked it
I read this before starting the first volume. It gives an overview of what to expect, so in that regard, it accomplishes what it professes to be.
Aug 07, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What is more valuable when reading literature: recognizing your life in the prose or recognizing the book's themes in your life? Something to think about.
Dan Robertson
Nov 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Indispensible guide to reading Proust
May 15, 2008 rated it it was ok

I like Shattuck & I love Proust, but this book didn't resonate with me, so I need to reread it.
Sep 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: own
An expansion of an earlier work, but not much improved. It does offer a decent overview and analysis of Proust for the general reader.
Dec 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
A very interesting book, for fans, but I think one needs to have read the book itself a couple of times before this might make much sense.
Aug 24, 2013 rated it really liked it
Insightful and accessible.
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May 11, 2011
Amy Lynn
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May 28, 2009
Guillaume G
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Dec 26, 2015
Nick Theophilou
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Sep 16, 2014
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Reading Proust's ...: Roger Shattuck's 'Proust's Way' 7 14 Apr 17, 2015 12:30PM  
  • Marcel Proust: A Life
  • Marcel Proust: A Life
  • Letters of Marcel Proust
  • Marcel Proust
  • Paintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to In Search of Lost Time
  • Marcel Proust's Search for Lost Time: A Reader's Guide to the Remembrance of Things Past
  • Monsieur Proust's Library
  • The Year of Reading Proust: A Memoir in Real Time
  • Proust
  • Allegories of Reading: Figural Language in Rousseau, Nietzsche, Rilke, and Proust
  • Proust at the Majestic
  • The Gothic Image: Religious Art in France of the Thirteenth Century
  • Proust and Signs: The Complete Text
  • Proust's Overcoat: The True Story of One Man's Passion for All Things Proust
  • Monsieur Proust
  • Axel's Castle: A Study of the Imaginative Literature of 1870-1930
  • Deceit, Desire and the Novel: Self and Other in Literary Structure
  • The Decadent Reader: Fiction, Fantasy, and Perversion from Fin-de-Siècle France