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Time Regained (Remembrance of Things Past (Naxos Audiobooks)) [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Marcel Proust , Neville Jason
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 April 2001 Remembrance of Things Past (Naxos Audiobooks)
In this, the final volume of Remembrance of Things Past, as the various threads which have emerged through the vast novel are brought together, and sometimes resolved, Marcel considers the nature of time and its effect on himself and the people has has known. "For after death time leaves the body, and memories - indifferent and pale - are obliterated in her who exists no longer and soon will be in him they still torture, memories which perish with the desire of the living body."

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  • Audio CD
  • Publisher: Naxos AudioBooks; Abridged edition edition (30 April 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 962634220X
  • ISBN-13: 978-9626342206
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 2.5 x 14.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,075,643 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon Review

Reissued as a tie-in to the film by Raoul Ruiz, this final volume of Proust's masterpiece In Search of Lost Time presents obvious problems for those coming to it without the benefit of having read the previous sections: even with the extensive character guides and synopses which make up the last third of the book (230 pages!) the task is a daunting one, with Proust's notoriously labyrinthine sentences equally likely to impede the unwary reader. However, for those who do not wish to start at the beginning, with Swann's Way, this is paradoxically the one volume with which it might be conceivable to start a non-chronological attempt, for it is here that the narrator, identified as "Marcel" (but not to be confused with Proust himself, or not entirely), encounters characters from earlier books, grown older and bearing the traces of the passage of time, and decides to turn the experiences of his life into fiction, into the book we are holding. Throughout, it is Proust's boundless sensitivity to the variety of human experience and motivation, his delicate understanding of the precarious balance between memory and the present, that captivates and entrances.

Time Regained opens with Marcel visiting Gilberte, for whom he had entertained an adolescent passion. Realising that the places he loved as a child have lost their charm for him, he also reaffirms that he has a "lack of talent for literature"--the possibility of becoming a writer seems to him to be impossible. The remainder of the first half of the volume details the devastations of the First World War, which transforms Paris and the social world Marcel had known, destroying the distinctions, hierarchies and certainties that had previously existed. Many years later, he returns to Paris, and his speculations on memory--that "the true paradises are the paradises we have lost"--begin to awaken in him a sense of how he might at last answer the calling of being a writer that had first impressed itself upon him as a child. But when he revisits the social circles which had once so entranced him, he is appalled at the changes wrought by the passing of years:

I had made the discovery of this destructive action of Time at the very moment when I had conceived the ambition to make visible, to intellectualise in a work of art, realities that were outside Time.
It is the moving resolution of this problem that closes the book, and closes one of the supreme acts of literary creation of the 20th century: in its ending we are taken back to the beginning, to experience the variety and complexities of human life again, transmuted into art. --Burhan Tufail --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


"As close to being a definitive version of the great novel as we are likely to get" (Scotsman)

"Sublime... In Proust's interweaving of romantic delusions, the glory of the descriptions, as the narrator strives to recapture the past, redeems everyone" (John Updike)

"The way he replicates the workings of the mind changed the art of novel-writing forever...his style is extraordinary, enveloping, captivating" (Guardian)

"Proust isn't just the most profound of novelists, but the most entertaining, too. No reader ever forgets his most killingly funny scenes... Proust sinks deepest in readers because the book is so exhaustively analytical, so ceaselessly truthful. Not the least of it is the book's heavenly length, so that it inevitably takes over your life for a long stretch... the experience of reading it becomes, in itself, an unforgettable thing" (Independent)

"Surely the greatest novelist of the 20th century" (Sunday Telegraph) --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HURRAY.... 5 July 2002
First of all..congrats to anyone who has gotten this far. This last part is probably the most satisfying volume of in Search of lost time.You will definitly be rewarded for all the hard work you put in. I was daunted when I started to read this epic..I thought I would never in my life finish it.But I did finish it and instead of feeling like having run a marathon I felt refreshed and utterly satisfied.
This last part is almost like looking back on the previous volumes. Things start to make sense in this last part of the epic. Plot lines fall into place,things that seemed to have no relation with each other all of a sudden have a link and things become clear. I probably shouldn't talk too much about the story because that would seriuosly spoil the fun..
Even for anyone who hasn't started reading proust yet I recommend reading 'In search of lost Time' I've gotten so much pleasure out of this book. It's just satisfying.....READ IT
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
This final volume of 'In Search of Lost Time', which in the original French is titled 'Le Temps Retrouvé', has been translated into English at various times as 'Time Regained', 'The Past Recaptured' and, as here, 'Finding Time Again'. These different titles highlight one of the difficulties of translating Proust: do you go for the most literal meaning of the French or do you try to capture the essence of the original and worry less about accuracy? The general consensus seems to be that the earlier translations, by Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, are better at giving us the feel of the original, while the later works such as this recent Penguin edition are more literally accurate and feel less dated, but are not necessarily 'better'.

Proust died before finishing the manuscript and consequently this final volume has even more room for different interpretation than earlier volumes did. This version opens with Proust staying with his old friend Gilberte, now married to Saint-Loupe, at their Tansonville country retreat around the beginning of the First World War, looking back over his life and considering how he should write these memoirs. There are several accounts of visits to Paris, interesting in themselves as accounts of the city during the war.

As with all but the first volume of 'In Search of Lost Time', this book doesn't really work as a stand-alone novel. You need to have read the whole work to know enough about the characters to get the most out of it, so assuming you've already read the first five (or six, depending on which edition) volumes, you're likely going to read this one. The decision therefore is which version to go for.
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13 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Do persevere! 7 Oct 2001
By A Customer
This is not an attempt to write a literary criticism of the book but to offer words of encouragement to anyone struggling through an earlier volume. I am a very keen recreational reader and not a literature student and I will admit to finding some parts of the book somewhat tedious. Indeed, the thought occurs that it would have been easier if Proust had taken a proper job rather than end up with so much time on his hands for introspection. However, everything seems to slot into place in this final volume and adds a clear perspective to the whole work. Not only is there a sense of satisfaction at finishing all 6 volumes, there is a real sense of elation when at long last it becomes clear where Proust is coming from. While it will never compare with the great Russian novels such as Anna Karenina, which for the most part are far easier to read, In Search of Lost Time stands alone as a great work of fictional art.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
It's a great book of course, and also great to see this translation available for the Kindle, but prospective buyers should be aware that the 'Guide to Proust', advertised in the product description, is missing from the Kindle edition. This needs to be fixed quickly by Amazon, either by making that fact clear in the description or, preferably, by amending the e-book to include it.
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537 of 553 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't Be Intimidated by the 3000 pages. 25 Nov 2005
By Sugunan - Published on
Depending on how you look at it, this seven-volume masterpiece is the most beautiful work on human consciousness, or the most overstated piece on time and memory. Jorge Luis Borges might have had Proust in mind when, horrified at the time and effort required to write long novels, he instead decided to write short reviews of imagined long novels. Whatever the energy expended in the production, the reading is strangely without ardous labor. One does not "plough" through Proust; I would never have ploughed through anything for 12 long months. Instead, I found myself pleasurably swept along by Proust's meandering stream. Of all great novelists, Proust to me was the easiest to read, easy in the sense that, for most of the year, I was unconscious of the effort of reading. When pressing matters intruded into my life, I would leave Proust aside for many weeks at a time, but only to return to him as one returns to wearing one's favourite shirt. Perhaps this weird sense of effortlessness and, at the same time, finding it absolutely indispensible, is a function of its main concern, which is Time and Memory. There are no plot devices to push the reader forward. Instead the Time-Narrative is filled with the inanities of the quotidian. A shaft of sunlight falling into the bedroom can take up many pages. A smell, a taste, can open up enormous floodgates of memory. Of Proust it may be said that he could turn an egg upside down and write a book about it. His persistance with a certain image or an object is astonishing. It reminds me of one those famous Impressionist paintings of haystacks seen under different lights.

Among the first things that struck me about this novel is its paradoxical nature: It is both intimate and epic at the same time. It is limited in its milieu and vast in its treatment of that milieu. It is minute, delicate brain-surgery done on a Tolstoyan scale.

At the centre is the narrator Marcel (though, in all the 4000 pages, he is named only once or twice). He wants to be a writer, but finds that he cannot sit down and write because he is unable to recapture the Time-Memory of his life. His writer's block lasts through seven volumes. His tenacity in trying to pin down his sensations has much to do with his artistic ambitions. but all his efforts are in vain. At one point he decides to give up altogether. When in the end he does regain "his time", it is only because of memories and sensations coming back to him quite accidentally, despite himself. He is finally able to write. The delight here, however, is ambivalent and bittersweet, for, as he says in a memorable line: "The true paradises are those that we have lost." Literature has its limits. In calling his magnum opus itself into question, Proust is thoroughly a modern writer.

The book has pleasures aplenty, the most surprising of which being its humour. Proust has created a vast portrait gallery of characters, each one vividly imagined, and it is the interactions amongst them that provide the work's funniest moments. Proust's world is a world of fading dukes and duchesses, counts and barons, princesses and kings. It is a sort of caste system, ameliorated by an imperceptible upward or downward social mobility. Whichever way they go, none of them can abandon their pretensions of noblesse oblige, the most ironic example of which is the denigration of the aristocracy wherein they are firmly ensconced, and the pleasures and privileges of which they would not want to eschew for anything in the world.

Proust's frank treatment of male homosexuality and lesbianism is something I have not encountered in any other great writer. One entire volume is titled SODOM AND GOMORRAH. Here these "inverts" behave like regular couples: they love, they get jealous, they break up. But they are not treated kindly. They seem another reflection of the decadence of the upper classes. Is this self-chastisement by Proust, who was himself a homosexual ? The characters who are later discovered to be homosexuals are portrayed as descending to death or degradation.

Great books seem somehow to attract great translators. This translation (Scott Moncrief, Terence Kilmartin) renders Proust's French into delightfully quaint, slightly archaic English. Proust's sentences are very long indeed, interlaced with subordinate clauses within clauses, which contributes to the breathless earnestness of the narrative. But it's all perfectly readable, once you get used to it, and positively addictive once you're well into it.

Need the novel have been this long ? Proust's mission is not so much to examine Time, but to look at how human beings change in relation to their past, how memory, reality, sensations all play upon human consciuosness. The reader, to appreciate Proust's super-sensibilities, ought to traverse the whole vast canvas that he has laid out. In this sense the novel's length is an invitation to us to invest a considerable part of our own Time to participate in this great Proustian odyssey, and in his quest to "regain" his own Time. The very act of reading, then, is part of the "story". There is only one other book that has given me a similar sensation: Thomas Mann's THE MAGIC MOUNTAIN, which, interestingly enough, also deals with time. Time was great theme of the early 20th century (Einstein, Bergson), and so was the human consciousness(Freud, Jung). But it is best to appreciate Proust without the intrusions of any "isms", to love IN SEARCH for all its luminous qualities.
265 of 271 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars On reading Proust. 9 Oct 2006
By Vincent Poirier - Published on
I've just finished reading The Search for Lost Time and I'd like to share a few thoughts.

First, commit to reading the whole thing, all seven volumes, all million+ words. However if the commitment frightens you (as it should) first read Swann's Love, the middle part of the first volume.

Second, if you commit don't be afraid to take a break and leave the book aside. I began reading it fifteen years ago, and read Swann's Love several times before finally getting a one volume omnibus and reading the whole thing. It took me eight months, during which I freely allowed myself to read other books.

Third, don't read Alain de Botton's How Proust Can Change Your Life until you're reached the final volume. It's a wonderful book, but if you want to read the Search, then De Botton's little book is a "digestif" that will help you put Proust in perspective.

Fourth, you don't have to read Proust. No one does. If you don't enjoy reading the Search, leave it alone. Proust never liked the title "The Search for Lost Time" and I think he might have actually preferred the now discredited original English translation title "Remembrance of Things Past".* In French Lost Time (Temps Perdu) implies a waste of time, and Proust was very conscious of having wasted the first forty years of his life.

Lastly, I wouldn't worry too much about the translation. I read the Search in French and it struck me that translating Proust wouldn't be much harder than reading him. The essence of Proust's style is not dramatic rhetoric, it is patient and painstaking descriptions and explanations. He wants the reader to understand something very complex and subtle: his or her own self. You'll find the drama in his philosophy. His sentences are long, convoluted, dreamy, full of meandering turns, but Proust doesn't use French the way, for instance, La Fontaine or Hugo do. Most of Proust's meaning will survive the translation, very little will be lost.

Vincent Poirier, Tokyo

*I was wrong there, Proust hated the "Remembrance..." title. See the comments for details.

171 of 178 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars For Amateur Literati 16 Oct 2009
By Nearenough - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a review by an amateur reader for amateur literati. I'm 71. I am not taking a college literature class (although I am college educated and have an M. D. degree, if that means anything); I'm not a professor, and I don't hang out in book clubs. Lately, after years of laziness and negligence, I've at last read about 50 "important" books to catch up on what I have missed, and, notably for me, at last, after fear of commitment, have recently finished Proust's magnum opus to see what the fuss was all about. I read it straight through over a 9 month period, in parcels of minutes to hours, usually in the quiet time before retiring. In an effort to give my straight unbiased comments I have not read any the reviews here.

The Modern Library 6 book cased edition by translators Moncrieff, Kilmartin, and Enright, turned out to be more than good; it was a delightful, easy style, not obscure or convoluted; you readily could appreciate Proust's incredibly detailed yet smooth, almost poetic style, with his superb attention to psychological detail in how one thinks, feels and reacts to events and memory. I will not go much into the plot or the literary stature of the book as I am sure it has all been covered elsewhere quite capably. I will say the main theme is the close critical observation of the social life of the era, the pretensions of the very rich and the competing social climbers, and more significantly, the conveying of one's life to such an extent that it almost takes over your own; you may well be lured into taking one reality for the other.

Did I get everything out of the book I could have? No. Why? Well, when you start, you don't know what is significant, which characters are going to be important later on, what is the importance of a certain view, a particular impression, a flower, a scene, a smell, a remembrance which will later be elaborated on by another remembrance. There are supposedly about 2000 characters, and the 3500 pages, or so. The characters may have strange names or similar names (Villeparisis, Verdurin, Vinteuil); they may change their names (Mme Guermantes aka Oriane then v Princess Guermantes now as taken over by Mme Verdurin). M. Guermantes is Basin. Charlus is Meme, and Palamede. If you have trouble with remembering names this tangled multi-personed story may not be for you.

When you get into the later volumes will you remember everything that went on in the earlier volumes? Will you remember all the names? Checking the synopsis and the alphabetical listing of characters and persons and places and themes in the Modern Library indices will help you along; but these sometimes are not too clarifying -- they mostly list the bare events and brief definitions, not analysis in depth.

For adjunctive help I suggest two books *about* the book, unless you just want to read it raw --a sensible procedure since, after all, a renowned author should be able to write clearly, better than anyone else. If otherwise, first I recommend a tiny well-illustrated booklet, "Marcel Proust" by Mary Ann Caws, 2005, a short biography with dozens of photos, color illustrations, thumbnails of paintings and a few snippets of music scores; this is a fetching companion which puts a little meat on the bones of the novel. For example, you get to see the famous Vermeer with the "little patch of yellow wall." There are photos of many of the characters in Proust's world: Colette; Sarah Berhardt, Count Robert de Montesquiou-Fezensac (I love that tongue twister. Curious?)

The second helper is "Marcel Proust's Search for Lost Time - A Reader's Guide to The Remembrance of Things Past" by Patrick Alexander a 385 paperback that gives an extended summary (beyond what's in the backs of the novel itself) and a guide to the main characters, plus good references and bits about Paris, France and the author's life.

Take a deep breath and plunge into it unaided and see how it fits together at the end, when everyone is old and the story gels. If you followed everything, great! If there is a struggle, try the assistants. If you are puzzled, you get to read it again!
37 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most important literary work of the 20th century 22 Jan 2008
By JfromJersey - Published on
I finished Proust's magnum opus a couple of years ago. I read SWANN'S WAY, then got about a quarter of the way through WITHIN A BUDDING GROVE, before stopping and taking a year's hiatus. When I returned to it I read straight through the remaining 6 volumes. Proust became for me, not so much a duty, or even a quest, but an addiction. There is really not much to add other than the fact that these books affected me more than any other books I have read. Once you are drawn in there is no escape. What one encounters within are some of the most fascinating and frustrating people one can imagine, and some of the most profound ideas and greatest insights on human nature ever recorded.

There are a number of themes explored here, each in unique and incisive fashion..the nature of memory, fidelity, love, obsession, jealousy, homosexuality, and the nature of art. It has been designated as semi autobiographical, but maybe it is the greatest autobiography ever written, since it portrays in detail, the truest possible representation of the author's heart, mind, and soul. It is perhaps, the most important and influential literary work of the 20th century.

IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME occupied the last 13 years of Proust's life, the last 3 of which he was confined to a cork lined bedroom due to deteriorating health. Unfortunately, Proust died before he was able to make final revisions of the drafts and proofs of the last volumes. IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME was the culmination of a lifetime spent critically observing his world, while absorbing important literary, artistic, philosophic, and cultural influences from the great minds of contemporaries and predecessors such as Henri Bergson, Schopenhauer, John Ruskin, Flaubert, Stendhal, Montaigne, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and George Eliot. Having processed all that information, through his genius Proust recreates in meticulous detail a late 19th century France where minds, hearts, and souls are at times lucid and painfully exposed, and at times hide perplexing mysteries, but always are as tangible as the architecture, landscapes, fashions, and diversions of an emerging bourgeoisie and a fading nobility.
39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Intimately beautiful in spite of reputation for grandeur. 3 Feb 2000
By darragh o'donoghue - Published on
Alright, so I'm a cheat. I never thought I'd get beyond admiring the bright spanking six volumes of A la recherche (3700 pages! Phew!) on my bookshelves, but when it was announced that Raul Ruiz had made a film of the last book, I seized my chance. Thanks to this brilliant edition you can, because at the end is an exhaustive guide to Proust, listing every character, historical person, place and theme of the whole work, so that just by referring regularly to this you quickly catch up with what's going on. Of course this isn't the same as living with characters and events through literature, but this volume is so amazing you can't fail to want to begin the whole thing and experience them from the start.
This is, as I expected, one of the most beautiful and exciting books I have ever read, as well as one of the most frustrating and irritating. What is most surprising, for a book claimed as one of the two greatest of the century, is how old-fashioned it is (compared to the still startlingly modern and socially relevant ULYSSES).
It has two types of narrative. One, about a young middle class boy who penetrates society, is a mixture of social comedy and tortured romance familiar to anyone who has read a great Victorian novel - there is the same social analysis of an outmoded caste, wide range of characters, poetic evocation of place.
The language, once you get used to the involved, elaborate sentences, is very accessible in a Jamesian kind of way, intricately psychological and analytical, yet supremely elegant and radiant, with a verve and lightness remarkable for such a heavy book.
The translation is, for once, remarkable - it can never be the original, I guess, but you rarely feel that you are getting only half the work like you usually do.
The second half is less satisfactory. As is appropriate to a book concerned with time, the book's forward progress is constantly impeded, by degressions, flashbacks, fastforwards, explanations. The book, like those of Anthony Powell (if you loved THE DANCE TO THE MUSIC OF TIME, you'll adore this) is less straight plotting, than a series of monumental set-pieces.
This novel is 450 pages long, but has only about three events - the narrator going back to the country to stay with friends; the first world war; a huge party. These are mini-novels in themselves and are extraordinary as social observation, character comedy and amusing incident, as well as profoundly moving meditations on the inexorable power of history and old age.
Imagine the narrator has a remote control as he is walking through the film of his life. He freezes the screen every three seconds and discusses in detail the tableaux vivants before him, bending time and experience back and forwards with ease as he does so.
In between these are ruminations on the art of writing. This is a remarkably self-reflexive book, the narrator suddenly starts talking about how he came to write it, what he intended to achieve and what tools he was going to use. The volume becomes less the conclusion of a vast work than the record of its inception; you have to go back then and read it again (believe me, 3700 pages won't seem enough).
This section, a book-length manifesto, is fascinating and thrilling, but also repetitive, difficult, frustrating, and sometimes obscure - it gets in the way of the brilliant descriptive passages - the meeting with Baron de Charlus is possibly the most extraordinary thing I have read, until the remarkable coup of the closing party, where people the narrator hasn't seen for years have grown horribly old and form a grotesque, funereal fancy dress party - you want him to shut up talking about Time and impressionism and get back to the fun.
Two other things: Evelyn Waugh was wrong - Proust is hilarious, both with subtle ironies and more obvious satiric abuse; with risible character traits and wider social events.
Secondly, the narrator is not some unbearable omnisicient know-all as those of Victorian novels - he is deeply unreliable - a prig, hypocrite, voyeur, homophobic, intolerant, puritan, snob, deeply contradictory and cripplingly ill; in earlier volumes he is apparently obsessional, jealous and brutal to the point of insanity. No wonder Nabokov adored him - he is, in his ravishingly aesthetic unreliability, the first Humbert.
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