Swann's Way

In Search of Lost Time

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The first volume of one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century, in Lydia Davis's award-winning translation

Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time is one of the most entertaining reading experiences in any language and arguably the finest novel of the twentieth century. But since its original prewar translation there has been no completely new version in English. Now, Penguin Classics brings Proust’s masterpiece to new audiences throughout the world, beginning with Lydia Davis’s internationally acclaimed translation of the first volume, Swann’s Way.

Swann's Way is one of the preeminent novels of childhood: a sensitive boy's impressions of his family and neighbors, all brought dazzlingly back to life years later by the taste of a madeleine. It also enfolds the short novel "Swann in Love," an incomparable study of sexual jealousy that becomes a crucial part of the vast, unfolding structure of In Search of Lost Time. The first volume of the work that established Proust as one of the finest voices of the modern age—satirical, skeptical, confiding, and endlessly varied in his response to the human condition—Swann's Way also stands on its own as a perfect rendering of a life in art, of the past recreated through memory.


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About the author

Marcel Proust (1871­–1922) was born in Auteuil, France. In his twenties, following a year in the army, he became a conspicuous society figure, frequenting the most fashionable Paris salons of the day. After 1899, however, his chronic asthma, the death of his parents, and his growing disillusionment with humanity caused him to lead an increasingly retired life. From 1907 on, he rarely emerged from a cork-lined room in his apartment on boulevard Haussmann. There he insulated himself against the distractions of city life and the effects of trees and flowers—though he loved them, they brought on his attacks of asthma. He slept by day and worked by night, writing letters and devoting himself to the completion of In Search of Lost Time

Lydia Davis, a 2003 MacArthur Fellow, is the author of a novel, The End of the Story, and three volumes of short fiction, the latest of which is Samuel Johnson Is Indignant. She is also the translator of numerous works by Maurice Blanchot, Michel Leiris, Pierre Jean Jouve, and many others and was recently named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government. Her essay on close translation of Proust appeared in the April 2004 issue of the Yale Review.

Christopher Prendergast (series editor) is a professor emeritus of French literature at the University of Cambridge and a Fellow of King’s College. 

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Additional Information

Publisher
Penguin
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Published on
Nov 30, 2004
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Pages
496
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ISBN
9781101501269
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Classics
Fiction / Historical / General
Fiction / Literary
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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The long-awaited fifth volume--representing "the very summit of Proust's art" (Slate)--in the acclaimed Penguin translation of "the greatest literary work of the twentieth century" (The New York Times)

Carol Clark's acclaimed translation of The Prisoner introduces a new generation of American readers to the literary riches of Marcel Proust. The fifth volume in Penguin Classics' superb new edition of In Search of Lost Time--the first completely new translation of Proust's masterpiece since the 1920s--brings us a more comic and lucid prose than readers of English have previously been able to enjoy.

The titular "prisoner" is Albertine, the tall, dark orphan with whom Marcel had fallen in love at the end of Sodom and Gomorrah (volume 4). Albertine has moved in with Marcel in his family's apartment in Paris, where the pair have a seemingly limitless supply of money and are chaperoned only by Marcel's judgmental family servant, Françoise. Marcel, who worries obsessively about Albertine's relationships with other women, grows more and more irrational in his attempts to control her, keeping her prisoner in his apartment and buying her couture gowns, furs, and jewelry in an attempt to protect her from herself and from the outside world and. And yet in addition to being a tragedy of possessive love, The Prisoner is also a comedy of human folly and misunderstanding, linked to the other volumes of the larger novel through its themes of class differences, art, irrationality, social snobbery, and, of course, time and memory.
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