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Days of Reading (Penguin Great Ideas) Mass Market Paperback – 7 Aug 2008

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More About the Author

Marcel Proust was born in Auteuil in 1871. In his twenties he became a conspicuous society figure, frequenting the most fashionable Paris salons of the day. After 1899, however, his suffering from chronic asthma, the death of his parents and his growing disillusionment with humanity caused him to lead an increasingly retired life. He slept by day and worked by night, writing letters and devoting himself to the completion of A la recherche du temps perdu. He died in 1922 before publication of the last three volumes of his great work.

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About the Author

Marcel Proust (1871 - 1922) is now generally viewed as the greatest French novelist and perhaps the greatest European novelist of the 20th century. He lived much of his later life as a reclusive semi-invalid in a sound-proofed flat in Paris giving himself over entirely to writing In Search of Lost Time.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3 reviews
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
Exquisite 28 Nov. 2009
By Charlus - Published on
Format: Paperback
When Swann gives the Narrator a pamphlet by Bergotte in "Swann's Way", don't you wish you too could read that pamphlet, which you are certain contains the most elegant insights beautifully phrased? But you of course realize that no one could write as well as Bergotte except ... Proust himself. Well here is that pamphlet, or the nearest we'll get to a facsimile in the real world. Proust speaks in these relatively few pages of perfumed prose of Ruskin and then the pleasures of reading (a theme he will reuse in almost identical sentiments in that same first volume). But is Proust's perambulations, circling around his favorite themes, even if you've heard these echoes before, such a bad thing? Fans of A la Recherche will come swooning, having something to read while they dip their madeleines. The rest? C'est dommage.
17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
Proust yes Penguin no 27 April 2012
By Shalom Freedman - Published on
Format: Paperback
One only has has to read one sentence of Proust to understand that one is in the presence of a literary sensibility and genius like no other. This small volume containing Proust's Essay on Ruskin and his 'Pleasures of Reading' is no exception to this. However the volume contains no explanation of why the various pieces collected in it are here. It gives no background to the work of Proust, no critical forward or essay. It is another of the Penguin 'Great Ideas' series which gives samples and selections of the classics of world- literature. Often the selections are not the wisest and best.
Rather however than complain on I will give one small sample from the work which will show why presenting it nonetheless a worthwhile enterprise.

"If we grow intellectually, our liking for books grows also, its dangers ,as we have seen, are reducted.An original mind is able to subordinate its reading to its own personal activity. For it, reading is merely the noblest of distractions, above all the most ennobling , for reading and knowledge alone make for a ' well- mannered' mind. We can only develop the power of our sensibility and intellect in ourselves in the depths of our spiritual lives. But it is in this contact with other minds that is reading that the 'ways' of our minds are inculcated. In spite of everything, the well- read remain the intellectual 'quality' as it were, and not to know a particular book, or a particular item of literary knowledge, will always be, even in a man of genius, a mark of intellectual ill- breeding. In the order of the mind too, distraction and nobility consist in a sort of freemasonry of usage and a heritage of traditions."pp 85
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Days of Reading 1 May 2015
By Bartok Kinski - Published on
Format: Paperback
Frankly, I didn't find these essays very enlightening, edifying, or particularly profound. They are a bit tedious, meandering and dull. That said, they are written very well, which gives them a higher grade.
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