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Marcel Proust: A Life

really liked it 4.00  ·  Rating details ·  175 ratings  ·  14 reviews
Marcel Proust was arguably the greatest writer of the twentieth century. This fascinating, definitive biography by the premier world authority on Proust redefines the way we look at both the artist and the man.

A bestseller in France, where it was originally published to great critical acclaim, Jean-Yves Tadie's monumental life of Proust makes use of a wealth of primary materiman.

Paperback, 1016 pages
Published December 1st 2001 by Penguin Books (first published 1996)
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really liked it Average rating 4.00  · 
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 ·  175 ratings  ·  14 reviews

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This biography met my high expectations. It's comprehensive and detailed, but not overwhelming. It uses other writers' interviews and memoirs but also has enough distance to access correspondence and be relatively impartial. He has a solid balance between representing Proust's own life and the circumstances he lived in. And for all that Tadié is able to find, he even manages to avoid the appearance of being too certain, and he admits when some facts are suspect or incomplete.

I wish I
Czarny Pies
Sep 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Anyone who has read all or most of A la recherche du temps perdu
Shelves: criticism, french-lit
This book is a remarkable work of scholarship which is of enormous assistance to anyone who has read the complete set of seven novels in A la Recherché du temps perdu which despite its great charms can leave the reader confused at times. To the person familiar with Proust, the book is a source of great pleasure. It would not however be a good introduction to Proust as it is too tightly tied to his writing to stand alone.

Tadie notes that Proust completed the project in a hurry as he u
Michael Finocchiaro
I read both the French original and the English translation of this - the definitive Proust biography. Yes, George Painter's was written with primary sources that were still alive, but Painter was not French and did not have enough distance from the subject to be objective. Tadie by contrast, who edited the Pleiades versions of La Recherche (and his notes also populate the less-expensive but nonetheless invaluable Folio paperback volumes), does an incredible job of painting the more accurate pic ...more
Estep Nagy
Feb 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Not just the best biography of Proust, by a long shot, but one of the best non-fiction books I've ever read about anything. Tadié has lived for so long with Proust's work and life that he speaks about him as if he were a friend or relative, which you'd think would be irritating but his learning is so deep that it's not. The part of this book that has stuck with me the most is actually a footnote, where Tadié compares 4 versions of the last sentence of ROTP, and this comparison in itself is valid ...more
Oct 09, 2011 rated it liked it
A thorough biography but a bit intense for anyone approaching Proust without a backround in reading his novels.
Hugh Coverly
Jul 27, 2018 rated it really liked it
Tadié’s overarching concept is that Proust never forgot anything and every experience has been used in the construction of the great masterpiece of the 20th century. What Tadié does in this wonderful biography is not only to present the life story of Marcel Proust but the story of the making of In Search of Lost Time. Unfortunately, the story ends with Proust’s death in November 1922, but another chapter should also be told of how Robert Proust in association with a group of editors worked to br ...more
E. Gail Chandler
Sep 12, 2014 rated it liked it
This book is methodically researched and a great reference, but unless spending 3-6 months reading the tiny details of Proust's life is your idea of fun, a shorter bio may be wise. This book is . . .well . . . kinda like reading Proust. I'm not sure why I read the whole thing but if I got drunk when it was over, I celebrated appropriately.
Pino Sabatelli
Jul 14, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Il monumentale lavoro di studio e documentazione che sta dietro questa biografia meriterebbe dieci stelle, ma l'ossessione di Tadié per il dettaglio rende la lettura non sempre gradevole. Comunque un'opera notevole.
Larry Mc Ilvoy
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
One of the best biographies I've ever read. Great for the addict, but not so much the general reader, if there is such a thing with Proust. It does rehash the novel in detail--filling in blanks of who was really who--but also adds a wealth of extra and extraordinary details.
Richard Anderson
Feb 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
Informative; a good companion while reading The Book.
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dans le premier tome il est chou, dans le deuxième un peu moins.
Again I need to review my notes.
Nov 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Excellent, but so long!
Jay Daze
Something I'm going to read concurrently or post my Proust project.
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French writer, specializing in Marcel Proust.Briefly a professor in the Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, University of Oxford, Tadié was then, until his retirement, a professor at the Sorbonne (Paris IV) and director of the collections "Classical Folio" and "Theatre Folio".

He was also a director of the French Institute of London.