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In Search of Lost Time

(À la recherche du temps perdu #1-7)

4.34  ·  Rating details ·  9,317 ratings  ·  523 reviews
Generally agreed to be the greatest novel of the twentieth century – and possibly any other – Proust’s masterpiece is here presented in the latest revision to the classic Scott Moncrieff translation. 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 ...more
Hardcover, 3200 pages
Published May 31st 2001 by Everyman's 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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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 ...more
Dec 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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
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 Madrid,
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)
Jul 13, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Elena Holmgren
“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 ...more
Paul Bryant
Jan 27, 2019 marked it as to-read-novels  ·  review of another edition

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.
Jul 29, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nook, 1315-read
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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May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished this work. Each book is reviewed below. The only question left is "Was it worth it?". Was it worth 10 months of working my way through this opus? Was it worth what I got out of it?
The answer is a definite Yes.
Yes, there were times where it was an effort to read another page. Yes, there were times that it was mesmerizing and I didn't want to put it down. Yes, it was funny. Yes, it was sad. Mostly it was profound, thoughtful and very universal. It speaks to all people because it
Avis Black
Feb 28, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
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 ...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
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
"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
Brent Hayward
Jan 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The year of reading Proust. Amen. This was monumental, a life event, like having a child or losing a friend or seeing a wonder of the world. Proust himself, I imagine, must have been rather annoying, but this subtle and (of course) incredibly long rail was unforgettable.
Aug 29, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Andre Gide, who worked for the famous Gallimard press in the early 20th century, rejected Proust's manuscript for Swann's Way, which was the first installment of the epic Remembrance of Things Past. I often wonder whether or not he ever regretted this decision, but, then again, Gide had his reasons. As an avowed homosexual, he reproached Proust for the repressed homosexuality that was an obvious reality of the work. In example, the girl Albertine, who young Marcel pines for in the early stages ...more
Lee Klein
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Malini Sridharan
Jun 15, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 23, 2015 marked it as did-not-finish
Shelves: classics, my-shelf
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.
Hossain Salahuddin
“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.”

French novelist Marcel Proust (1871-1922) is probably the greatest and most influential novelist of last 100 years in any language. Proust spent the last 14 years of his life, lying on a narrow bed, writing an unusually long novel titled 'À la recherché du temps perdu' or 'In search of lost time'. Since the publication of the first of the 7 volumes in 1913, 'In search of lost time'
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 ...more
Jun 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 ...more
Nov 28, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: european
A friend who is a priest told me that I would not find my lost time by reading Marcel Proust’s famous book. Of course he was right. I have to say I didn’t buy a copy and read it – at my age I’m very selective in what I read, and I had taken a dislike to this book when I was a young student as I felt it had been responsible for setting off depression in a friend of mine there. However, I came across I an audio version in English, and decided to give it a try while I was doing some work – so that ...more
Dan Leo
Jan 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It took me years before I was ready – I kept being stymied by that long and dense "overture" about the narrator's youthful neurotic insomnia – if ever there was a beginning chapter of a novel that dared a reader to go on, this one is it. But eventually I came to a time in my life when I somehow got into Proust's groove, and got fully absorbed in the novel. I took my time, to say the least: it probably took me as long to read the entire work as it took Proust to write it, but by the last volume I ...more
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
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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

Other books in the series

À la recherche du temps perdu (7 books)
  • Swann's Way (In Search of Lost Time, #1)
  • In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower (In Search of Lost Time, #2)
  • The Guermantes Way  (In Search of Lost Time, #3)
  • Sodom and Gomorrah (In Search of Lost Time, #4)
  • 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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