Remembrance Of Things Past 2008 discussion

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message 1: by Julie (new)

Julie (julies_27) I'm starting Swann's Way today. I'm actually not sure how many books there are to the series, that is, I've seen the total of 7 and also it says elsewhere there are 8 books. Well, Wikipedia says 7, and I'm inclined to go with them.

message 2: by Patrick (last edited Jan 19, 2008 11:47AM) (new)

Patrick | 35 comments Hi Fluffycat! I've just joined your group, because reading this is my major reading ambition for 2008 as well. I also planned on doing the one book a month method, but am a little off that pace. I started in Oct 2007 and am just finished The Guermantes Way - book III.

My goodreads friend Diana is also reading this. She is currently in Swann's Way. I'll bring this to her attention.

You bring up a good point as to many books there are. In fact, different publishers of the English translation don't even use the same names for all of the books, let alone agree on how many volumes there are.

I did some research on line and in my local Barnes and Noble and Borders and this is what I came up with, from an e-mail i sent Diana back in December:


Regarding's my understanding of what's available in English.

A guy named Scott Moncrief originally translated all of Proust's A' la recherche du temps perdu into English back around the time that Proust first published his work. Only about half the books came out during Proust's lifetime, and he died in 1922. It also seems that he published Swann's Way before World War I started in 1914, and that the war delayed publication of what he had completed for the second volume until 1919. During the war Proust apparently completely rethought the scope and scale of his work, and did a lot of revisions on what he wanted in the subsequent volumes. My impression is that the original publisher may not have had access to Proust's notes and scribblings on what he wanted in these novels, and so when Moncrief translated the published books from French into English, he was not working with what is currently considered "canon" Proust. Moncrief died in 1930, so he must have completed all of the translations by then.

In 1954, a revised version of the entire work was published by a French firm that had been retained by Proust's heirs with the goal of "establishing a text of his novel as faithful as possible to his intentions." They made textual changes throughout the novel, but the major changes are in the last three books.

Terence Kilmartin apparently translated all of Proust again for Random House and their Modern Library imprint back in 1981, working from the original Moncrief translation and the aforementioned 1954 French edition. All of the information I have provided up to this point is from a brief essay Kilmartin included in the copy of Swann's Way that I read. Kilmartin discusses in more detail exactly what changed from edition to edition, and gives some insight into the challenges of working from Proust's original manuscript and notes.

In 1987, after further study and review of Proust's notes, the same French publishing house put out a revision of Proust's work, which D. J. Enright translated for the Modern Library in 1992.

So, what I am reading is a series of six separate Modern Library Classics paperbacks that are described on the cover as "translated by C. K. Scott Moncrief and Terence Kilmartin; Revised by D. J. Enright. The two notes on the translation I referred to above are included in each on the six separate volumes.

The entire work is described on the cover as "IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME" and the titles of the six separate volumes are:

vol I: Swann's Way
vol II: Within a Budding Grove
vol III: The Guermantes Way
vol IV: Sodom and Gomorrah
vol V: The Captive and The Fugitive
vol VI: Time Regained (which also includes a "Guide to Proust" of about 200 pages, with separate indices of Characters, Persons, Places, and Themes. This was prepared by Terence Kilmartin and revised by Joanna Kilmartin.)

(Not sure who Joanna is in relation to terence Kilmartin.)

Now, to practical considerations about these books...

#1 - These Modern Library books that I'm reading are slightly taller than a standard pocket size paperback, and have a gold border at the top of the spine. The back cover is light yellow, and a photograph adorns the front cover of each.

#2 - These books all cost about $13.95 each, except for the last volume which is $14.95 (not sure why, as it seems to have less pages than the others).

#3 - I have only seen these books in Borders bookstores (which I prefer to Barnes and Boble anyway, but that's just me).

#4 - The back cover of each of these books states that a boxed set is available for $75.00.

Now, I went with these books because the copy I orginally picked up of Swann's Way back in 2000 was an earlier edition of the current Modern Library set, and because I find it easier to carry around a single volume of Proust than the readily available alternative, which I will describe below.

The primary alternative version I have seen of Proust is a three book set published by Vintage. They call the entire series "REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST," and according to their cover they are using "the definitive French Pleiade edition translated by C. K. Scott Moncrief and Terence Milmartin." According to their copyright page, they first published their editions in 1981.

These are the books that I most often find in Barnes and Noble as well as independent bookstores. Borders carries them as well. These paperback books have dark silver covers with black lettering, and feature intricate drawing in black ink on the front and back covers. Vol I includes Swann's Way and Within a Budding Grove and costs $22.00 retail. Vol II lists its contents as The Guermantes Way and "Cities Of The Plain" and costs $23.00. Vol III lists its contents as The Captive, The Fugitive, and Time Regained and costs $22.00.

I don't know why the Vintage editions list the fourth book as Cities Of the Plain instead of Sodom and Gomorrah, but I'm guessing that the text is pretty much the same. I will look deeper into this as I get through volume III.

Finally, I have also seen some Penguin classics editions as well at a few Borders stores, but I didn't look at it too closely, so I can't tell you much about it. I usually prefer Penguin editions for most of my literature choices, so I am sure that these are high quality translations, but I don't know if they are Moncrief/Kilmartin translations or translations by someone completely different.

I wasn't aware of the Barnes and Noble edition of Swann's Way when I started reading Swann's Way, but once I checked it out I really liked what they did with the footnotes at the boom of the pages that clarify some of the constant cultural references that Proust makes. I plan on finishing all of Proust, but I don't plan on becoming an expert on French history and popular culture during the period 1870 to 1920 in order to get the most out of the book. Still, a guide to some of the references would be helpful, and good on Barnes and Noble for making the effort to do that. But my impression is that they aren't going beyond volume I, at least not now.

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Hotdiggitydog! A group for ROTP!

Thanks, Fluffycat for starting the group! And thank you Patrick for inviting me!

I'm still plugging away at "Swann's Way." Me and Virginia Woolf! It took her six months to read it, even though she loved it as much as I do. Hopefully, however, it won't take me, as it did her, years and years to read the rest.

Wishing all you take on the task of reading ROTP much enjoyment!

message 4: by Julie (new)

Julie (julies_27) I have the Vintage set, which was purchased as a gift for me about five years ago.

I like the title "In Search Of Lost Time" better somehow.

message 5: by Patrick (new)

Patrick | 35 comments Having been inspired by the enthusiasm of our group, I have just started reading Book 4 in the Modern Library series. Modern Library calls this Sodom and Gomorrah, while the Vintage books refer to this as Cities Of the Plain.

Where are other folks? We know as of now Robert's done and Fluffy's on p. 160 of Swann's Way.

message 6: by Annie (new)

Annie (chewiekablooey) I'm about half way into Swann's Way.

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Good grief. Fluffycat started in January and is already on page 160. I don't know when Annie started but she's half way through. And Patrick just started volume 4!! I started back in October or November and just finished page 203. This is not good. Must read faster!

message 8: by Dottie (last edited Jan 25, 2008 07:28PM) (new)

Dottie  (oxymoronid) | 14 comments Hello everyone -- I'm just joining to "listen in". A small group of us on Constant Reader group read the whole of this work over the past year and a bit and have had wonderful discussions and plenty of ups and downs with the project.

We were inspired by someone coming into the group and asking about reading it himself -- that person dropped out however and the original group shrunk by two-thirds -- but we DID it.

Someone posted a link to a group in an apartment house in San Francisco which had done the ten pages a day and finished in a year -- only four of them finished. I took that idea and went fishing for people to read -- hoping to accomodate our new member but as I said he eventually departed.

Look to the language is my thought -- it is so lush and so subtle even while being what seems obvious. Enjoy. I look forward to reading about your reading.

message 9: by Julie (new)

Julie (julies_27) Diana, I'm just a hugely fast reader. I can usually do 3-4 pages a minute if it's something light and fluffy. ROTP is taking me about a page a minute, depending on if it's one of those huge pages with no breaks or not.

message 10: by Patrick (new)

Patrick | 35 comments Yay for Dottie! Now we have two spiritual leaders who have been there-done that as we all read onward towards our goal.

Fluffy, concur - I read quickly as well but I have to slow down for ROTP. But that's good because I get to savor the writing, and I'm highlighting passages I like all the time. Thanks to Badinews's quote thread, now I can someplace to use them.

Part of me wishes I was reading at Diana'a speed...then I might get more out of it.

message 11: by [deleted user] (new)

Hello, Dottie. I hope you enjoy our ramblings and ruminations!

Now that Patrick has introduced me to highlighting fiction, which I previously had never considered, I'm reading slower than ever. (Drat you Patrick ;-D)) However, I've committed to reading at least 5 pages of Proust before reading any other book. Hah! Although if those folks in San Francisco can do it, and the folks in Dottie's group can do it, well, maybe I can pull it off too.

And I do envy Fluffycat - a minute a page for Proust. It takes me that long to untangle myself from the first sentence (which probably takes up an entire page!)!

Long long sigh.....

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Plan to restart Swann's Way. Attempted this a couple of years ago. A large chunk of my daily reading time then and now is just before going to sleep at night and the exhaustive, vivid descriptions of sleeping at the beginning typically knocked me out in two pages or less. Maybe I'll attempt that section at midday. Powerful stuff so hope I can maintain employment.

message 13: by [deleted user] (new)


Maybe you can wear one of those collars drivers wear to avoid falling asleep at the wheel. It might get you some odd looks but at least your won't crack your head on your desk because of Proust ;-)

Whatever you decide to do, the best of luck and I hope we hear from you as you progress.

message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks for the advice, Diana!

I am safely past the sleepytime part, well into chapter two.

I'm enjoying the elegantly bound Penguin Classics edition (trade pb) with its deckle edged pages and foil tracery on the cover. M. Proust would surely approve.

message 15: by Julie (new)

Julie (julies_27) I'm finding the "Swann in Love" section way more interesting than the earlier parts, so I think if you can get to that point, you might find the book picking up a little.

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

You're welcome :-) That sounds like a very nice edition. It wouldn't be the Vintage would it? Those are very nicely done and have the silvery cover with black line drawings.

That's good to hear! I'm just now getting into "Swann In Love" and hope to make better progress.

message 17: by Barbara (new)

Barbara I was part of Dottie's group on Constant Reader and am a relatively slow reader in general, but particularly when reading Proust. I just don't want to miss any of those pearls. I moved along at a decent pace until I got to The Captive and The Fugitive which bogged me down. I'll be interested to see what you all think when you get there. I finally finished it though and am still reading Time Regained which, for me, is a wonderful summing up of his observations about time.

I read Swann's Way (my favorite volume) in the new Penguins Classics translation by Lydia Davis. I loved her footnotes and the quality of the edition itself, paper, cover, etc. But, the translation was often a bit different from the Modern Library editions that most of the others were reading. So, I switched over. I missed the Davis footnotes but liked everything else.

If you don't mind, I will be lurking a bit on your discussion. I loved the process of reading this but it really helps to do it with a group.

message 18: by Barbara (new)

Barbara I actually loved that Combray section because I loved the descriptions of the town. Probably my favorite thing about Proust's writing is his ability to paint verbal pictures. And, I thought he did some of the best ones in that section. He also lays the groundwork for his theories on memory and how a single sensation can bring back earlier happiness. Combray is one of the two or three places in which M is the most content and the writing made me feel that.

What did you find inane? Was it his relationship with his mother?

message 19: by Shan (new)

Shan | 15 comments You all have inspired me to try this again. The last time I tried was in 2006 and I got to page 183, right before Swann in Love begins. A year before that, I got to page 335 of the new Lydia Davis translation. What I have before me is the Folio set of the Moncrieff & Kilmarin translation revised by Enright. In 2006, I kept a little notebook where I wrote tiny plot synopses as I went along, and copied in quotes I really liked, so this time I think I can start where I left off.

I'll try to keep up...

message 20: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 26, 2008 01:42PM) (new)

The Penguin Classics edition sounds lovely and the footnotes sound especially appealing. (It's one of the things that's nice about the B&N edition - the footnotes.) Also the fact that it's a different translation. It makes we wonder how different it is from the "standard" Moncrieff translation. Did she try to do something radically different? Make it modern? (such as the new translation of War & Peace of which I haven't read anything good) Or more appealing to English/American readers?

Shan: Your idea about keeping a notebook with plot synopses is excellent! Something definitely worth doing with Proust.

message 21: by Barbara (new)

Barbara It's not radically different, but enough that I noticed. We tried to do a schedule for reading that gave the page number and the first line of each new section. Since I had a different translation, that was a little difficult. And, a couple of times, I liked their wording better than mine. For the most part, I was glad that I tried the new one though. The problem is that each volume is being done by a different translator and I didn't want to take on a new one as I started each book.

message 22: by [deleted user] (new)

Each volume of the Penguin Classics has a different translator? Wow, that seems odd. Wouldn't that break the continuity of style and thereby make the book choppy? I wonder what that thinking behind that was. Hmm...

message 23: by Barbara (new)

Barbara It is weird, isn't it? I wondered if they were unable to secure the time they needed from one translator to do the whole thing. I think they had a different explanation, perhaps so many choices of good people that they wanted to spread it around. But, I didn't think that it was such a good idea.

Bad1news (I'm having a hard time calling you that!), I think M's early relationship with his mother highlights his obsessive qualities that get expanded in later volumes. As a mother of grown boys and a teacher of small children, I was probably a bit more sympathetic to his feelings than you were.

message 24: by Patrick (new)

Patrick | 35 comments I agree with Bad1News on the Combray section. I found it hard to read, and kind of pointless, even now as I am well into the fourth book. It has been my least favorite section of this novel.

It almost feels like, to me, Proust is tesing the reader to see if they have the patience and fortitude to make it through that part before one can experience the gems that follow. I recognize that the Combray section is essential for its establishment of characters and relationship, but I really didn't enjoy it as much as the rest of the book so far.

Some thoughts on that, though:

- Of course, as the beginning of the book this is where one encounters Proust's writing style for the first time. I found it quite different from anything else I'd ever read, and so I am willing to consider the possibility that, after I have read the entire work, I may appreciate Combray much more when I go back and re-read it.

- Secondly, my understanding of the entire novel was written is that Proust labored endlessly on the first volume, drafting and re-drafting, including junking an entire manuscript at one point and starting over. I think it took him five years to write Swann's Way, and considerably less time to write the remaining volumes. The war interrupted his efforts, but Swann's Way and Within a Budding Grove were already out by then. The third volume came out soon after the war ended, and the rest of the book was published after Proust's death. What I take from all this is that Swann's Way, and especially the Combray section, may be overthought and overwritten. The common reader may enjoy the remaining volumes more because Proust trusts his instincts more, as his first volumes had already been well-received (actually, Swann's Way kind of wasn't) and he also knew he was running out of time. So perhaps we are getting books that have been less worked over than Combray, which are more "pure" Proust than the first book.

Obviously, this is purely speculation on my part. My knowledge of the above comes from several re-reading of Edmund White's Marcel Proust (a Penguin Life).

message 25: by [deleted user] (new)


Your point about "Swann's Way" perhaps being over-thought and overwritten is a good one and makes sense. Anyone who writes knows, or should know, that rewriting too often can kill a book. It loses it's freshness and spontaneity. If this is what happened to Proust, he didn't kill the book but certainly made it more difficult to get through. Luckily, for whatever reasons, he overcame this issue.

I don't know if Proust intended it to be but Combray certainly is a test!

There is no doubt in my mind that most people who abandon ROPT do so because of this section. And to be honest, the only reason I kept reading is the wonderful writing. For those, however, who demand action or at least some sort of forward movement in a novel, Combray must be quite unpalatable. It's too bad there can't be a disclaimer at the beginning of "Swann's Way". Something akin to "Please keep reading past Combray, it does get better."

message 26: by [deleted user] (new)


Interesting point about the time issue. That would make sense. Having seven people working at once would be a lot more efficient, time wise, than one person working on the entire set.

This particular translation(s) would make for interesting re-reading of ROPT.

message 27: by Julie (new)

Julie (julies_27) Diana,

I like your idea of a disclaimer.

Sometimes for me, once I get past a certain point in a book, I feel like I just have to finish it, if nothing else than to not make the time I've already spent a waste.

Could call this, "In Search of the Time Lost reading Combray."

message 28: by [deleted user] (new)


'Could call this, "In Search of the Time Lost reading Combray." ' --- Good one! :-D

And I agree with finishing a book once having reached a certain point. I do the same. I think that's why I tend to quit sooner, in order not to discover that I've wasted time reading more than was worth it. It such a delicate balance! :-)

message 29: by Julie (new)

Julie (julies_27) I'm all done with Swann's Way! I'm going to wait until Feb 1 to start the next volume.

message 30: by Patrick (new)

Patrick | 35 comments CONGRATULATIONS Fluffycat!

message 31: by Ricki (new)

Ricki | 3 comments Hello all,

I was also part of the same group as Barbara and Dottie reading Proust. Our schedule took us I think close on 18 months and I appreciated the discipline of having others to read and chat with. At times it was the only thing that kept me going. Although toward the end of the last two books I read on ahead, there were other days when 10 pages was a real chore.
My favourite volume is The Guermantes Way - I loved the social comment of it, vituperous though Proust can be, and I felt it had some pace to it.
I liked Patrick's points re:the overwriting - throughout the works I kept wishing he had had a better editor, outside of himself. Although the beauty of writing can be admired there still needs to be something to carry you forward and I felt there were vast tracts where the forward momentum was lost and some repetitions of plot and descriptions. Still, I missed it dreadfully after I finally finished it, which gets me thinking, perhaps I liked the final volume even better than The Guermantes Way. Yes, I probably did.

message 32: by Shan (new)

Shan | 15 comments Congratulations Fluffycat!

I'm in the middle of the dinner party where the Verdurins are turning against Swann...poor guy. I tend to read naively and trust my narrator - I'm always the last to figure it out when the author is the murderer, for example - what do you think, is our narrator trustworthy? When he tells me Swann is a top-quality guy (setting aside his womanizing) and the Verdurins are, um, climbers that he's fooling himself into admiring because of Odette, should I take that as true? The Verdurins and their circle demonstrate their own idiocies through their conversation but so far all I have of Swann is the narrator's description.

message 33: by [deleted user] (new)

Thirty pages to go in Combray.

message 34: by [deleted user] (new)


Good point. I've been wondering about Swann as well. I haven't gotten to the part you're talking about but the only thing to Swann's credit, so far, is the fact that he travels in higher social circles than many of the people in this book. Beyond that, I think Proust may be messing with us a bit.

For example, his "love" for Odette, is that really love? Certainly doesn't sound like it. It strikes me as completely self-involved. There hasn't been any talk of Odette's actual virtues outside of the ones Swann has fabricated. In fact, at this point, he's already getting anxious when thinking about Odette in his future, whether she'll still be the a woman he's obsessing over now.

It's as if Proust is mocking this "love" and it makes me wonder whether the title "Swann in Love" is actually intended to be sarcastic. Which then makes me wonder what he really thinks about Swann, at least at this point in his life.

message 35: by Julie (new)

Julie (julies_27) Well, Swann thinks he's in love, but my take on it was that Odette is basically a higher-class prostitute who manipulates Swann into giving her money and letting her roam around with other men. I remember the narrator talking about how successful Swann is with women, but he seems like a total sap with Odette. I'm curious to find out how he ends marrying her.

message 36: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 29, 2008 06:07PM) (new)


You're right, Swann thinks he's in love and Odette doesn't seem deserving of whatever affection he's giving her. And Proust indicates that Swann is not really feeling love. At least that's what I'm getting.

Swann's obsession seems to stem from his memories. Odette reminds him of the woman in a painting and the feelings that painting evoked. The piece of music he first heard at the party when he met Odette is also important to maintaining this illusion of love. So is Proust then questioning the validity of the emotions we feel when they are stirred up by certain memories? If Swann's love is false, what about the emotions we feel at certain memories? Do we enhance them, change them? Is that why "we can't go home again"?

Edited to add thoughts - random as they are...

message 37: by Shan (new)

Shan | 15 comments Diana and Fluffycat - Swann's obsession is a strange thing. He convinces himself he's in love.

When he meets Odette, he sees her as having a beauty but of a type that leaves him cold, and being the opposite of his type; in fact she arouses a kind of physical repulsion. But he's getting older, and being in love is appealing. "In his younger days a man dreams of possessing the heart of the woman whom he loves; later, the feeling that he possesses a woman's heart may be enough to make him fall in love with her." The narrator comments that once we've been in love enough times, we "recognize one of its symptoms and falsify the rest."

For a while every time he meets her he's jarred by how unappealing she is, until finally he figures out he can make himself see her as similar to the painting. That turns the corner for him and enables him to fall in love. (The music also helps him maintain the illusion.)

This all reminds me of something I once heard, that women marry when they meet the right person, but men marry when they somehow decide it's time for them to marry, and it doesn't matter a whole lot who the woman is they're with at the time - if their internal alarm clock goes off, they'll get married (assuming she's willing).

Diana, being older and more cynical myself, and looking back on my youthful passions, I do think there was more than a little element of self-deception and illusion. I'm not talking about the feelings stirred up by my memories, but my memories of the feelings I had when I was young. Hmm...

Back to the dinner party.

message 38: by [deleted user] (new)


Interesting comments!

I've reached the part where Swann is admitting, despite his "love", that Odette is not worth the time he's spending on her. So now I'm wondering if Swann is simply in love with the feeling or idea of being in love - which goes back to what you said about self-deception and illusion, and the comment about men marrying when they're ready regardless of who they're with.

It seems to be a matter of embracing the institution (marriage or long-term relationship) and it's benefits, either emotionally or physically, and not the person. The person becomes not much more than a vehicle to reach whatever makes the institution appealing.

If that's what Proust is trying to say, he's not a romantic.

message 39: by [deleted user] (new)


I love to analyze and it's entirely possible that I'm over analyzing ;-) Plus, I haven't yet read all of Swann's Way so I have no idea how this spins out. My musings could be entirely off base.

So far, what interests me about this relationship, however, is that Swann isn't interested in Odette to any depth. It's all about the experience of "love" - how he feels while he's with her not what he feels for her.

I agree with you that logic is no match for the heart but I get the distinct impression, Swann's heart is not that involved. Too much of his obsession with Odette is based on outside factors. He doesn't pine for her personally. He doesn't miss her charming wit, or lovely voice or even intellect (she doesn't have any of those, so he can't miss them). He misses how she makes him feel when they're together but not because of anything she does but rather through the associations, and the feelings they evoke, that Swann makes because of her.

What I'm curious about is what Proust is trying to say, if anything, about how Swann is dealing with this. He may just be presenting us with what he considers a typical, and perhaps, silly notion of love. On the other hand, he may be making a much more cynical point. I guess I'll find out :-)

message 40: by [deleted user] (new)


It's good to know I'm at least asking the right question! :-) And now I'm really curious!

message 41: by Julie (new)

Julie (julies_27) In Swann's love for Odette, I think there's also an element of possession, and he wants to be the only man in her life. When he starts to fade from that position, he's imagining her with other men who have taken his place. I think it sort of indicated some of Swann's snobbery that he's so smart and so high-class and friends with the Princess and WHY wouldn't Odette love him instead of the other guys.

message 42: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 2 comments Hi! I just found you and have joined. I have been reading the books off and on for two years. My friends will be glad I have some other place to express my WOW's (which is about every three pages).

I wanted to read Proust when I realized that most of the students (and some faculty! shame!) I was in class with who were throwing around his name had never actually read any of the books. One faculty member (Dan Beachy-Quick, poet, read him!) talked about Proust as the most beautiful writer ever, so
I had to see what he was about all know...WOW!!

I'll be jumping in here, but will take me awhile to make time...Thanks!

message 43: by [deleted user] (new)

Welcome, Beverly!

message 44: by Beverly (new)

Beverly | 2 comments Thanks Diana.

message 45: by Shan (new)

Shan | 15 comments I've just finished the Swann in Love section of book 1 and was surprised to find there's yet another section of the book!!! Pretty short one though, 20 or 25 pages. Too much for my lunch break but I should be finished tonight.

My copy is called In Search of Lost Time, which I think is actually closer to an exact translation of the French. I wonder if the title of the translation we're reading will influence the way we interpret what we read.

I've been paying attention to the different references to memory here and there, the different mechanisms for sparking memories. Obviously the madeleine at the beginning - the taste and smell - I've heard smell is more linked to our primitive brain than our other senses and that's why it can take you so vividly to a past time. Then there's the "little phrase" of music that is there when Swann is falling in love with Odette and later brings the memories of when she loved him flooding back. And Swann's own efforts to manage his memory - when he first kisses her he tries to first memorize her "before kiss" face, and then later on he regrets not paying better attention so he could memorize the moment when his obsession passes (I love the image of the train journey and the attempt to really pay attention before you return home from your exotic travels). Seems like there were others too.

Maybe this is more meaningful to me because of my own chronic issues with memory - I spent a good half-hour yesterday wracking my brain to remember something - someone had called me in mid-December about a problem, and I'd passed it on to someone else, and then yesterday I received a fax from the person - since there were no emails involved I couldn't rely on my normal crutch which is to never delete anything. Also, more important, I've lost some very important people in my life, my mother, my first husband, and my sister, and I would love to be able to bring them to life in my mind whenever I want to, but I just can't. They pop up unexpectedly sometimes but I have no real control.

Looks like everyone must be back at work or maybe book 2 is so engrossing everyone is not coming up for air. I'll catch up with you all soon.

message 46: by Julie (new)

Julie (julies_27) Congrats on finishing Swann in Love. I found that last 30 or so pages totally mind-numbingly boring, and was glad to finish them.

message 47: by [deleted user] (last edited Feb 06, 2008 09:58AM) (new)

Any hope of being able to skip those last 30 pages without missing anything important?

...On second thought, if I do skip, I won't be able gloat that I read every single word of all the seven blasted volumes. Never mind. My need to gloat supersedes my need to finish volume 1 early. What's a few pages, besides a week of my life? ;-)

message 48: by Shan (new)

Shan | 15 comments Diana -

Well, there is a really nice description of an acacia lane... we find out who Mme Swann is... we get a reminder that our narrator is just as neurotically obsessive about girls as Swann (in case we forgot what happened before Swann in Love)... and I kind of like the last couple of pages with the nostalgia for the skinny horses and little hats. It took me 2 or 3 days to finish that last 30 pages but you know, in for a penny, in for a pound, right? As you say, if you are going to read a few thousand pages you might as well read them all!


message 49: by [deleted user] (new)

Thanks, Shan, those last 30 pages sound like they may be worth it after all. Nostalgia for skinny horses and little hats... I'm thinking Proust may be one of the few writers who could make that work enough to keep people reading beyond that :-)

message 50: by Marsha (new)

Marsha I am just starting Swann's Way- so I read some earlier posts on this thread and starting skimming hard when you all started discussing the book. I look forward to reading this series and joining in the discussion.

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