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In Search of Lost Time (1913 -1927) - Marcel Proust
Related: Marcel Proust - modernist literature - plotlessness - French literature - 1927
In Search of Lost Time by French writer Marcel Proust notoriously rivals Joyce’s Ulysses in unreadability.
The key scene is when a madeleine cake (a small, rich cookie-like pastry) enables the narrator to experience the past completely as a simultaneous part of his present existence: "And suddenly the memory revealed itself: The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane."
In Search of Lost Time (1913 -1927) - Marcel Proust [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
Since the publication in 1992 of a revised English translation by The Modern Library, based on a new definitive French edition (1987-89), interest in Proust's novel in the English-speaking world has notably increased. Two substantial new biographies have appeared in English, by Edmund White and William C. Carter, and at least two books about the experience of reading Proust have appeared, by Alain de Botton and Phyllis Rose. [Jul 2006]
In Search of Lost Time (French: À la recherche du temps perdu) is a vast novel in seven volumes by French writer Marcel Proust, originally published between 1913 and 1927.
In Search of Lost Time is considered to be one of the major works of literature of any period; it is now "widely recognized as the major novel of the twentieth century" according to literary critic Harold Bloom. The novel is a semiautobiographical bildungsroman.
All but the final volume was first translated into English by C.K. Scott Moncrieff under the title Remembrance of Things Past (a phrase taken from Shakespeare's Sonnet 30) despite Proust's exhortations to the contrary. (The final volume was initially translated by Stephen Hudson--a pseudonym of Sydney Schiff--and then by Frederick Blossom in the U.S. in 1932, and again by Andreas Mayor in the U.K. in 1970.) A 1981 revision of the Scott Moncrieff translation by Terence Kilmartin retained this title, but a third revision in 1992 by D.J. Enright rendered the title more literally as In Search of Lost Time. In 2002 a completely new translation by seven different translators adopted this title as well. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Search_of_Lost_Time [Dec 2005]
Baron de Charlus
Robert, comte de Montesquiou-Fezensac (March 7th 1855, Paris - December 11th 1921, Menton), was a French Symbolist poet and art collector. With many homosexual friends, he is reputed to have been the inspiration both for des Esseintes in Huysmans À Rebours and, most famously, for Baron de Charlus in Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_de_Montesquiou [Jun 2006]
In the first volume of Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time, the narrator's inspiration to write stems from memories of childhood triggered by his tasting a petite madeleine (a type of small sponge cake) dipped in tea. In the final volume he says "If it is accepted that the author and the main character of this book are one and the same, then my name is Marcel, but this is not necessarily true." Also in the final volume, the narrator begins to write his book, which mimics Proust setting out to write In Search of Lost Time itself. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meta-reference [Dec 2005]
List of longest novelshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_longest_novels
Foreign answers to À la recherche
- UK: A Dance to the Music of Time (1951 - 1975) - Anthony Powell
- Japan: The Sea of Fertility (1966 - 1971) - Yukio Mishima
Time Regained (1999) - Raoul Ruiz
In search of the value of film adaptations.
I'm in the midst of a mini-project which consists of seeing film adaptations of literary classics. A couple of weeks ago I saw Madame Bovary by Claude Chabrol starring Isabelle Huppert and yesterday it was Time Regained by Carlos Ruiz, which is a:is a 1999 film directed by Raoul Ruiz. It is an adaptation of the final volume of In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. The plot is about Marcel Proust (1871-1922) who reflects on his past experiences while lying on his deathbed. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_Regained_%28film%29 [Jun 2006]
Time Regained (1999) - Raoul Ruiz [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]
The goal of my mini-project is to dis/prove that watching the film adaptation of a novel is a good way to form an opinion on the work at hand; to further my defense of secondary sources (am I correct to believe that a film adaptation is secondary literature?), to view both film and literature of ways of telling a story and to accord the most importance to the story. I liked Bovary a lot and felt it is a novel I would enjoy reading, but I did not feel I wanted to read Proust after seeing this film adaptation. I think I liked the movie better than the book. Proust strikes me as a bore and most of his friends too. The most amusing character is Charlus (a character based on the real character Robert de Montesquiou, played here by John Malkovitch) who is a very rich gay dandy who likes to be treated roughly by younger men, who he finds in a specialized brothel. All of the characters in the film are aristocrats or nouveaux riches who meet for tea or see each other at very posh parties. Boredom in itself is not necessarily boring and the movie was interesting, but I don't think I will read the book any time soon.
Next on my mini-project list is Ulysses by Joyce, which I read when I was fifteen or sixteen and which I thought was ... boring.
Both Ulysses and In Search of Lost Time are semiautobiographical (Ulysses less explicitly), and if the lives are boring, the books are bound to be the same. Colin Wilson has commented upon this (following T. S. Eliot) that Proust and Joyce had nothing to say after they had shared their worldviews in their books. He compares this to Dickens of which he says that he also shared his worldview with us, but he has written many novels because he always had a new story to tell us. Much modernist and modern literature is autobiographical in nature and not very story-oriented. More on this and the development of realist literature later. [Jun 2006]
See also: (auto)biography - classic - adaptation - In Search of Lost Time - Marcel Proust
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