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In Search of Lost Time: The Way by Swann's: The Way by Swann's Vol 1 (In Search of Lost Time 1) Paperback – 2 Oct 2003


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Product details

  • Paperback: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Ed edition (2 Oct 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0141180315
  • ISBN-13: 978-0141180311
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 19,555 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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 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

43 of 43 people found the following review helpful By Phil O'Sofa on 31 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback
This is the first volume of Proust's masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time, and it is where you must start if you want to read Proust. It works just fine as a novel in its own right, unlike the following volumes. The only question is, which translation should you read? Until this edition it was usually titled, in English, Swann's Way. 'The Way by Swann's' is a more literal (and also less ambiguous) translation from the French, and I think this is perhaps the strength of Lydia Davis compared with the original Scott Moncrieff translation. Whether it is an improvement or not is a matter of personal opinion. The differences are fairly subtle, and I don't think one translation can be said to be better than the other. This new one is technically more accurate, but Scott Moncrieff retained the 'feel' of Proust's writing quite brilliantly.
Whichever version you go for it is a beautiful book, not really concerned with plot but with characters and what it means to be human, full of sensitive observations about life and love. Highly recommended.
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111 of 116 people found the following review helpful By A Common Reader TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 15 Sep 2004
Format: Paperback
Sooner or later every serious reader must come to terms with Marcel Proust's six volume work, Remebrance of Things Past. This new translation is as good a way as any to get into it, and Swann's Way, as it is usually called, is the first volume. This is a challenging read. The reader needs to relax, to give up all hope of finishing the book quickly, or of finding an exciting plot or much forward movement in the book. But once you have set aside your notions of what constitutes a novel, and are prepared to go on this meandering journey of self-disovery (through finding in yourself the same thoughts that Proust thinks), you will find an intimate and beguiling novel which will generate the "of course" reaction in you as you see yourself and the people around you in a new light.
Proust has the gift of analysing the interior motives of his characters, not just in terms of their actions, but in terms of their thoughts and speech. He detects the evasions and dissimulations in everyday social interactions and exposes the deceits of convention and tradition. Having read this book I can say that all though it was a difficult read, it was worth the effort and the memory of this novel past has affected the way I look at the world around me. I look forward to volume 2.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Friend of Dorothy on 28 Mar 2011
Format: Paperback
Having avoided Proust for 30+ years because of his reputation as the 'serious' writer to top all serious writers, I finally got round to reading this first volume ... and now I understand what all the fuss is and was about.

There's actually nothing `difficult' about his style (as perhaps there is with someone like Joyce or Faulkner). The experience is rather like sitting comfortably in an open boat being carried rapidly, but not too rapidly, along a river. The scenery is varied and exquisite. Occasionally, the boat enters a slower stretch of water. However, you are so relaxed that you accept the change readily. Eventually, you move back into the faster water, feeling even more receptive to your rich surroundings.

Of course, this feeble simile doesn't do the book justice. Let's just say it's an experience well worth having. Oh, and parts of the books are really quite funny. For example, the descriptions of M. and Mme. Verdurin. I'm looking forward to reading the other volumes.

October 2012 update: I'm on the sixth volume and my admiration for Proust is now boundless. Every paragraph seems to contain insight or wisdom about the human condition and how we frame and process ideas and memories of the people we love, both while they're living and after they're dead.

Here's a more or less random extract: "We exist only by virtue of what we possess, we possess only what is really present to us, and so many of our memories, our humours, or ideas set out to voyage far away from us, until they are lost to sight! Then we can no long make them enter into our reckoning of the total which is our personality. But they know of secret paths by which to return to us. And on certain nights ...
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mr. P. Michaelson on 1 Aug 2011
Format: Paperback
I am dependent on English translations for reading works originally in French. Given the turgid, convoluted, over literal translations of Proust that I am used to, Lydia Davis' production is a joy to read. She manages to convey the huge range of emotion and shades of meaning necessary when translating Proust; very lucid. She also demonstrates the importance of the translator not only for making works available to other language speakers but also for making a work live on accommodating changes in the target language.The notes are really helpful. I would live to read further volumes translated by her whilst realising that they may produce rather different translation problems. All in all (something I did not think I would say about Proust, a gripping read.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Niah on 19 Mar 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't know if it's the age I've reached (late 30s), or whether it's Lydia Davis's translation - but I can't put this book down.
I read it first in French when I was 19 (but it was too much for me to take in), then in English (but for some reason it was also too much for me to take in). I've re-tried a few times, but really got nowhere. I appreciated it aesthetically, but not emotionally, I found it trying despite my best intentions. Then, having found my love of fiction on the wane over the last few years (I don't know why) - but still desperate to read - I picked up this translation, but with little hope. However I find I'm cramming as much in as I can before bed, again in the morning over breakfast, at lunch if I can...if you'd told me one day that I was carrying Proust around everywhere with me, finding it very difficult to put down, I wouldn't have believed you!
Like someone who's had a religious epiphany, I want to share it with everyone, but the experience is so personal in some way that I can't find the words without sounding bonkers! I think it's absolutely wonderful.
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