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Sodom and Gomorrah

(À la recherche du temps perdu #4)

4.35  ·  Rating details ·  5,885 ratings  ·  492 reviews
Sodom and Gomorrah opens a new phase of In Search of Lost Time. While watching the pollination of the Duchess de Guer-mantes’s orchid, the narrator secretly observes a sexual encounter between two men. “Flower and plant have no conscious will,” Samuel Beckett wrote of Proust’s representation of sexuality. “They are shameless, exposing their genitals. And so in a sense are ...more
Paperback, 784 pages
Published February 16th 1999 by Modern Library Classics (first published 1920)
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this is the volume of ISOLT that michael bay will turn into a big budget summer blockbuster, mark my words. there are action verbs!! verbs, i tells ya!

and picture this on the big screen: we open with our hero, crouching behind some flower bushes, unmoving - waiting, just waiting for a bee to come around and assist in the pollination of the flowers.(pshow, whoosh - many michael-bayish essplosions) and although not strictly supported by textual evidence, i expect his little sticky hand was at the
Ahmad Sharabiani
685. À la Recherche du Temps Perdu (Sodome et Gomorrhe) = Remembrance of Things Past = In Search of Lost Time (Sodom and Gomorrah #4), Marcel Proust

In Search of Lost Time, previously also translated as Remembrance of Things Past, is a novel in seven volumes, written by Marcel Proust (1871–1922).

Sodom and Gomorrah (sometimes translated as: Cities of the Plain) (1921/1922), was originally published in two volumes. The first forty pages of Sodom and Gomorrah initially appeared at the end of The si
°°°·.°·..·°¯°·._.· ʜᴇʟᴇɴ Ροζουλί Εωσφόρος ·._.·°¯°·.·° .·°°° ★·.·´¯`·.·★ Ⓥⓔⓡⓝⓤⓢ Ⓟⓞⓡⓣⓘⓣⓞⓡ Ⓐⓡⓒⓐⓝⓤⓢ Ταμετούρο   Αμ
Was ever grief more seductively expressed?

“I knew that now I could knock, more loudly even, that nothing could again wake her, that I would not hear any response, that my grandmother would never again come. And I asked nothing more of God, if there is a paradise, than to be able to give there the three little taps on that partition that my grandmother would recognize anywhere, and to which she would respond with those other taps that meant, "Don't fret yourself, little mouse, I realize you're im
Adam Dalva
Sep 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Finally, finally, 3000 pages in, the structure of this novel is fully in sight. For the first time, Proust's world becomes contained - the majority of characters and places here are ones we have already seen (Balbec, the surprise (and welcome) return of "the little clan," Albertine and Charlus, Saint-Loup and the Duchess de Guermantes). And Proust allows these repetitions to complicate, often flashing back to seemingly insignificant moments from the first two volumes (most importantly, with his ...more

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When I dig around in my mind for a few thoughts on the books I’ve read, I think about the people who may attempt to interpret the shards and fragments I come up with.
What does the reader of a review need to discover?
Perhaps only this simple inscription: Skip the review and read the book instead.
Or perhaps what the reader needs is a link to a page containing an in-depth excavation of the book by some scholar or professional reviewer.

But those options wouldn’t
When they are happy, calm, satisfied with their surroundings, we marvel at their precious gifts; it is the truth, literally, that speaks through their lips. A touch of headache, the slightest prick to their self-esteem, is enough to alter everything. The luminous intelligence, become brusque, convulsive and shrunken, no longer reflects anything but an irritable, suspicious, teasing self, doing everything possible to displease.

It was indeed the corrupting effect, as it was also the charm, of t
Sodome et Gomorrhe is the 4th Tome of La Recherche and the last published during Marcel Proust's lifetime. Thus is this the final chapter of his great work that he has re-knitted and retouched with the help of his beautiful collages that only his faithful Celestial could accompany. Here again, his writing is ambitious, sometimes funny, radiant in precise descriptions of characters. In this volume, we find almost all the significant figures of Research. The author is more mature, less naive and s ...more
Roman Clodia
May 19, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ah, it's only with the hindsight of having finished this volume that I can see why I struggled so much with the previous one (The Guermantes Way): in that one the narrator had himself become a part of the superficial, though outwardly enticing, world of the salons and, consequently, his style of recall was itself essentially superficial, lacking in the meditative analysis and interiority that characterises this work. It's a clever and bold move on Proust's part, an outward performance of inner c ...more
Roy Lotz
As our vision is a deceiving sense, a human body, even when it is loved as Albertine’s was, seems to us to be a few yards’ at a few inches’ distance from us. And similarly with the soul that inhabits it.

A good case can be made that these books should be read one after the other, so as not to lose the narrative thread or to forget the many characters involved. But I am finding that an equally good case can be made for spacing them out. Memory is crucial to this novel; the remembrance of thing
As Sodom and Gomorrah began, our Narrator was struggling to understand the nature of homosexuals while I was alternating between reading his early-twentieth-century musings and poring over sweetly triumphant images of same-sex couples rushing to "legitimize" their long-running relationships with celebratory midnight marriages. As the strange continent of "inverts" draws horticultural allusions and comparisons to covert societies in Proust's time, the LGBTQ community is finally being recognized i ...more
It is not only by dint of lying to others, but also of lying to ourselves, that we cease to notice that we are lying.
Sodom and Gomorrah ~~ Marcel Proust


Early on in Sodom and Gomorrah our hero, Marcel, spies on a sexual encounter between the Baron de Charlus and a tailor named Jupien. I imagine this piece of writing to have been quite shocking to the average reader in the 1920s. It is here where Proust outs as homosexual one of the key characters of the novel, Baron de Charlus. Marcel is both att
Fluid becomes solid and then fluid again. Changing states, crossovers, transformations. Words produce pictures that turn back into words, black marks on a white page; dots, accents, commas, shapes of letters, enter through the cornea, the retina, the optic nerve, are processed into......... into what? Images, characters, narrative, scenes, landscapes, weather, tableaux, dialogue, spectacle, sensation. Reactions.

The cities of the plain:Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim, Bela.
But Proust takes his t
Apr 27, 2010 rated it it was amazing
I finished Sodom and Gomorrah over a week ago, and since then I've been mulling over whether to write a proper "review" of it or not. It was the most amorphous of any of the volumes yet, and thus it is slightly more difficult to speak about, or really wrap my thoughts around. Also, at this point, considering any of the volumes of A la recherche... to be distinct entities starts to become a bit silly. Certainly, Swann's Way, up through the "novel within the novel" Swann in Love (volume one), coul ...more

Recommended for: Proust completionists.

"The conversation of a woman one loves is like the soil that covers a subterranean and dangerous water; one feels at every moment beneath the words the presence, the penetrating chill of an invisible pool; one perceives here and there its treacherous percolation, but the water itself remains hidden."

As the title indicates, the fourth book of the ISoLT series deals with the nature of Desire, of the forbidden kind. The voyeuristic window that earlier tenta
Jul 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This translator (Moncrieff) was too circumspect to call this volume Sodom and Gomorrah, the original title; nevertheless, Proust's theories on "Sodom and Gomorrah" come through loud and clear. Reading Proust's introduction, I was immediately struck by the timeliness and timelessness of its theme: to a certain extent, he could be writing of today. The beginning of the introduction is also very funny; our narrator continues his snooping ways even while he's on tenterhooks over his own obsessive lo ...more
Jun 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“But sometimes the future is latent in us without our knowing it, and our supposedly lying words foreshadow an imminent reality.”
― Marcel Proust, Sodom and Gomorrah


Reviewing 'Sodom and Gomorrah' puts me in an awkward spot. What are the risks of looking back obliquely on Proust's fourth volume of 'In Search of Lost Time' (ISOLT)? Will any indirect reference to Proust's army of inverts turn me into a pillar of salt? Will I disquiet my friends and my family with funky quotes from Proust's salon-ce
Jun 10, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2009, proustophilia
(Mild, general spoilers)
Ah, Proust, damn you. Damn you, damn you. You tricked me. You took me along for a pleasant ride, one filled with glorious introspection, a “slice” of life so elongated and plotless (at least as much as in real life), that I expected to be carried gently through to the end with a slow rippling buzz, nostalgic yet never heart-wrent. But then you went ahead and wrote the final 17 charged pages of Sodom and Gomorrah , sentencing me to 1200 final pages of sorrow and anguish. F
E. G.
--Sodom and Gomorrah (In Search of Lost Time Volume IV)

Lee Klein
Jul 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Let's say three stars for interminable party scenes and seven stars for solo Marcel going on about grandma and dreams and seeing an airplane for the first time (maybe my favorite page/paragraph so far -- the end of 581 and most of 582 -- typed up for safekeeping below). Oh place names reduced to their historical tribal derivation and places reduced to fancy homes where one is always welcome. That's sort of like the opposite of the madeline-induced association -- instead of something small myster ...more
Michael Finocchiaro
As the title implies, Sodom and Gomorra is the descent into hell - or more aptly, the cruel and unseemly underside of the society described by Le Coté de Guermantes. We have the craven Charlus and Jupien (mirroring the lesbian scene that the narrator sees in the first book). The narrator has his first taste of death and mourning as his grandmother which cuts him to the bone. It is an exciting and brutal book full of action and description in equal parts and the growing obsession of the narrator ...more
Mar 08, 2015 added it
I just finished Volume 4 and have jumped right into Volume 5 with sheer excitement. I haven't written any other Proust reviews, but this Volume was easily the best for me so far so I thought I should share a few words.

Deep into ISOLT, the whole Time/Memory things is only now really starting to click for me. I think emphasizing Time/Memory over Recognition/Awareness is a little deceptive and maybe makes grappling with Proust's themes a more abstract and esoteric process than it ought to be. A lar
David Lentz
Jun 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some have accused Proust of being "long-winded." However, he suffered acutely from shortness of breath but not shortness of breadth. Proust preferred to work on a large canvas. Having read the first four volumes of "In Search of Lost Time," I am even more convinced that Proust is a literary talent of the highest order. He is a writer of immense sensibility in the true sense of the word. His perception and memory and intelligence permeate his writing. Like Balzac, whom he admired, Proust focused ...more
Jul 06, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have to say, M. Proust really pulled this book out for me. I was not enjoying much of the middle of the book, but the last third was excellent and revived my spirits for continuing on with the saga. Once again it was some of the Salons that tended to decrease my connection although the descriptions of the Balbec area and our narrator's return to the coast caught me up again.

In a section that seemed to sum up much of the meaning of this book, Proust writes:

Other women, it was true, had been in
May 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is volume four of Marcel Proust’s, “In Search of Lost Time.” I assume that, if you have made it this far, that you intend to read to the end – however, if you are thinking of starting this and have not read the earlier books, then do please begin at volume one. This is not a literary experience to be rushed and you need to read these volumes in order.

The first volume concentrates largely on childhood memories, while volume two and three looks at society and status. Here, though, the narrato
Nov 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Description: Desperate to avoid the tortures of love, Marcel tries to make himself unavailable to Albertine. Meanwhile, the Baron de Charlus suffers heartbreak.
Stars James Wilby.

Revisiting, via BBC R4x, all the books in remembrance, our world has altered too.
ReemK10 (Paper Pills)
"Flower and plant have no conscious will. They are shameless, exposing their genitals. And so in a sense are Proust's men and women .... shameless. There is no sense of right and wrong." Samuel Beckett

Marcel Proust writes: "People in society are too apt to think of a book as a sort of cube one side of which has been removed so the author can " put in" the people he meets."(MKE 90) He goes on to say that it is " thanks to them when one reads a book or an article, one "gets to know the inside sto
Ian Scuffling
What does it mean to read Proust? Is it to embrace the claustrophobic, monomaniacal prose as if it were normal and beautiful, or to recognize its neurotic and dangerously self-obsessed presentation? Marcel the narrator is not an okay man. He's an insane narcissist. And an overwhelming egotist--dozens of other characters exist on the page, but it's as if they're only Marcel himself, with a kind of Cartesian solipsism that wears down the reader's trust, sentence-by-sentence, word-by-word. There's ...more
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: european-novels
I don't need to detail the plot it meanders on as beautifully written as ever with the Guermantes and Verdurins being wonderfully silly as ever. The narrator continues to pursue and Albertine and get bored of her. The minor characters stand out in this volume; Charlus, Morel and the members of the salons.
Proust explores homosexuality in some detail; both male and female. Of course the Proust scholars continue to debate the real nature of the narrator's lovers; Albertine, Andree and Gilberte are
Two or three times it occurred to me, for a moment, that the world in which this room and these bookshelves were situated, and in which Albertine counted for so little, was perhaps an intellectual world, which was the sole reality, and my grief something like what we fell when we read a novel, a thing of which only a madman would make a lasting and permanent grief that prolonged itself through his life; that a tiny flicker of my will would suffice, perhaps, to attain to this real world, to re
Apr 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
"The women shall have Gomorrah and the men shall have Sodom" opens this book (the quote is by Alfred De Vigny). And Proust certainly delivers, surprisingly (given the publication year of 1921) covering many points along the sexual spectrum. He writes that in the past he has found himself "...stupidly thinking that people could have but one sort of love." But that's just one of three main plot lines: the second is the Dreyfus affair, and society is far more passionate about Dreyfus than about sex ...more
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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 (7 books)
  • Swann's Way
  • In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower
  • The Guermantes Way
  • 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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“It is not only by dint of lying to others, but also of lying to ourselves, that we cease to notice that we are lying.” 31 likes
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