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Remembrance of Things Past Volume One: 1 (Classics of World Literature) [Paperback]

Marcel Proust , Ingrid Wassenaar , Tom Griffith , C.K. Scott Moncrieff
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Sept. 2006 1840221461 978-1840221466 New Ed

Translated from the French by C.K. Scott Moncrieff. With an Introduction by Ingrid Wassenaar.

Marcel Proust (1871-1922) spent the last fourteen years of his life writing A la recherche du temps perdu. It is an intimate epic, an excavation of the self, and a comedy of manners by turns and all at once. Proust is the twentieth century's Dante, presenting us with a unique, unsettling picture of ourselves as jealous lovers and unmitigated snobs, frittering our lives away, with only the hope of art as a possible salvation. He offers us a form of redemption for a sober and secular age.

Scott Moncrieff's delightful translation was for many years the only access to Proust in English. A labour of love that took him nearly as many years as Proust spent writing the original. Moncrieff's translation strives to capture the extraordinary blend of muscular analysis with poetic reverie that typifies Proust's style. It remains a justly famous classic of translation.


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Product details

  • Paperback: 1360 pages
  • Publisher: Wordsworth Editions; New Ed edition (5 Sept. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1840221461
  • ISBN-13: 978-1840221466
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.2 x 5.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 84,254 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.

Product Description

Review

Naxos, the renowned producer of classical music recordings, is publishing a complete and unabridged recording of Marcel Proust s epic work, Remembrance of Things Past (À la Recherche du Temps Perdu). The reader is Neville Jason, who the Washington Post called 'the marathon man' after his 70 hour recording of Tolstoy's War and Peace. Jason is well equipped to read this even longer work by Proust, having received the Sir John Gielgud prize for fiction while he was at RADA and having then gone on to perform with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Old Vic Company. Indeed, while reading an earlier abridged version of Proust, he did the abridgement himself and also translated the final volume (see article in Audiofile magazine). The first volume alone, Swann's Way (amazon link here) is over 23 hours on 17 CDs six more volumes are to be added to the project and will eventually run for 140 hours and will be completed in October of this year. I have had a rather mixed relationship with Proust's great work. I ve read three volumes of it so far, but as I began about fifteen years ago, perhaps that s not very good going. While the books are fascinating, it takes me a long time to get into each one and I know that by spreading it out over such a long period, I lose some of the connections across each volume and have forgotten how the characters relate to each other. The books are hugely detailed (as you would expect with their huge size) and it can be a daunting task to start another one. With this background I was wondering how I would cope with Swann's Way on an audio recording. I was pleasantly surprise to find myself totally absorbed, particularly while driving. Jason's voice is exactly right for Proust as a professionally trained actor, his intonation and tone is perfect for the rhythmic cadences of the Scott Moncrieff translation. My own version of Proust is the newer Penguin edition which uses different translators for each volume. The translation is flatter and more colloquial, whereas Scott Moncrieff's sounds slightly more 'classical' which Neville Jason's voice suits rather well. Of course, you have to wonder how exactly you would get through 140 hours of audio recording. It almost seems like a life s work something that would accompany you over many years as you dipped in and out of it and kept coming back to it. If I was still at the stage of my life where I was driving up and down motorways it would be ideal, but for now it s going to be an occasional treat over the next few years. What a lovely thing to own though, a rich resource for some point in the future when I have more time on my hands. --Tom Cunliffe, A Common Reader

A beautiful, atmospheric, and nostalgic work, Swann's Way is highly recommended for literary connoisseurs and public library audiobook collections. --Library Bookwatch

This is the first volume of Naxos's projected production of the entire seven volumes of Proust s great work, Remembrance of Things Past, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff. It comes 10 years after the same narrator, Neville Jason, produced an abridged version and, when approached to read the whole thing, exclaimed, 'Oh my God, it s going to take the rest of my life!' A multitude of ordinary, educated readers have muttered the same thing and moved on with their lives, though with a sense of cultural failure. Here is salvation, at least for those who commute or are otherwise chained to some mindless activity that allows for listening. Jason's rendition is mesmerizing, elegant and supple. He unwinds the long sentences gracefully and with impeccable phrasing. He shades the voices of the many speakers to match their characters, and his pronunciation of French names and places is adept. There are, of course, new, less reticent translations, but Jason's reading of this celebrated version is itself a masterpiece. - --Katheri --Gerald Fenech, Malta News Online

All seven volumes of Remembrance of Things Past, of which this is the first, represent a staggering recording feat: 150 hours of unabridged Proust read by 78-year-old Neville Jason. To Proust writing was like making jellied beef: every shred of his memory was used. Jason calls Proust's work his 'magic cord', woven to be launched into future time. For us Jason's voice is the magic cord that draws us inexorably in. --Rachel Redford, The Oldie --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
72 of 74 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The original translation, possibly the best 9 Jun. 2009
Format:Paperback
Quite possibly the greatest novel ever. Certainly there is nothing to compare in terms of quantity and quality combined, and compared to other very long novels Proust is easy to read. His writing is so beautiful, the famously long sentences full of a glorious wit and insight, that I found this semi-fictional memoir a great pleasure to read, so much so that I have now read two different translations.

But is this the best way to approach Proust? This edition takes the original Scott Moncrieff translation, which is still considered by many to be the best, and combines what were originally seven books into two large volumes. This first volume consists of Swann's Way, Within a Budding Grove and The Guermantes Way.

The title of Proust's whole work is usually translated these days as 'In search of Lost Time'. The title used for this edition, 'Remembrance of Things Past', is Moncrieff's very loose original translation of 'A la Recherche du Temps Perdu', and emphasizes the point that this is aimed at readers who specifically want the Moncrieff original version.

Unless you know your Proust and know what to expect, I would suggest buying a different edition, and start with Swann's Way as one (more manageable) volume. If you don't like it, and not everyone finds the slow pace to their liking, to say the least, there's really no point in buying more.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully recorded lifetime resource 3 Feb. 2012
By Thomas Cunliffe TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Audio CD
I was glad to get my hands on the first part of Naxos's complete and unabridged recording of Swann's Way, Marcel Proust's epic work, Remembrance of Things Past (À la Recherche du Temps Perdu).

The reader is Neville Jason who Washington Post called "the marathon man" after his 70 hour recording of Tolstoy's War and Peace. Jason is well equipped to read this even longer work by Proust, having received the Sir John Gielgud prize for fiction while he was at RADA and having then gone on to perform with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Old Vic Company. Indeed, while reading an earlier abridged version of Proust he did the abrigement himself and also translated the final volume (see article in Audiofile magazine).

The first volume alone, Swann's Way is over 23 hours on 17 CDs - - six more volumes are to be added to the project and will eventually run for 140 hours and will be completed in October of this year.

I have had a rather mixed relationship with Proust's great work. I've read three volumes of it so far, but as I began about fifteen years ago perhaps that's not very good going. While the book is fascinating, if it takes me a long time to get into each one and I know that by spreading it out over such a long period I lose some of the connections across each volume and have forgotten how the characters relate to each other. The books are hugely detailed (as you would expect with their huge size) and it can be a daunting task to start another one.

With this background I was wondering how I would cope with Swann's Way on an audio recording. I was pleasantly surprise to find myself totally absorbed, particularly while driving.
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Was this review helpful to you?
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Literary merit wins over excitement 18 Feb. 2013
By BobM
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I recall that Paul Jennings once said "All I know about Proust is that he lived in a cork-lined study and was beautifully sad about he futility of life". Exactly so. Exciting this is not (it's more like watching paint dry on slowly growing grass), but this famous translation of Scott-Moncrieff is a serious work of art - and I assume the original was too - and it's a great work to dip into for an hour or two until the adrenalin-rush gets altogether too heady and you have to put it down in favour of something calming like watching Rambo (Rambeau??) instead.

I'm about half-way through now, and I don't think it matters that I can't remember the beginning. I doubt if I shall live long enough to read the next five volumes. But these great long sentences are so perfectly constructed and balanced that (unlike those of Henry James) you very rarely have to go back and re-read them, and I find it doesn't matter that I can't even remember their beginning, let alone how the novel began!. I just let the purple prose wash over me, and enjoy the great surge of third-party nostalgia
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2.0 out of 5 stars Remembering a thin slice of time 17 Feb. 2015
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
To embark on the journey that is Proust's seven-book series takes a certain amount of commitment and, fittingly, time. I had decided from the outset that I would sample this first effort then, if I was swept away by the narrative, continue on the journey until I ran out of patience or ran out of books.

I knew little of the subject of the series. It was recommended to me that I should try some Proust if I was keen on reading 'books of that type'. The 'type' they were referring to were contained on a list of 100 best books, which contained classics from the Mahabarata to Tristram Shandy. I'd been discussing the range of French literature - Sentimental Education, Father Goriot, Les Miserables.

Readers who have enjoyed the likes of Goriot should find Swann's Way to their liking. The writing is wonderfully detailed without becoming laboured. The book is written from the point of view of a boy, or rather a man remembering his time as a boy, and the period in which his family included Swann in their social circle. The plot is located between Paris and Swann's country retreat, although these are of little importance as they merely act as a backdrop for Swann's various social circles.

This being time where a person's contacts and behaviour would determine their standing in society, their reputation and the social engagements to which they were invited. While not as infuriatingly complex as the pomp and circumstance of Sentimental Education, the rituals of tea parties and conversation form a major strand of the book. Swann, evidently a bachelor of some means, commands everything one needs to get on in the social minefield: excellent contacts, fascinating conversation and an excellent grasp of culture.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very pleased with service and order.
Published 1 month ago by CARL ASHBY
4.0 out of 5 stars A task
Its the first part of a monumental classic which is not an easy read and I have yet to make up my mind if I can deal with Proust's minutiae and get to then end. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Its Pete
2.0 out of 5 stars Difficult
Difficult, gave up on it
Published 4 months ago by Hugh
5.0 out of 5 stars Wondered what all the fuss was about then found I ...
Wondered what all the fuss was about then found I couldn't put it down and did not want it to ever finish. wow. Started it again straight away. Read more
Published 5 months ago by richard goodfellow
2.0 out of 5 stars ok
I wanted to submit a rating (stars) but to do that have to write some words, these are those words.
Published 7 months ago by Bob W
4.0 out of 5 stars beautifully evocative, ending both satisfying and open to...
Slow moving at first, beautifully evocative, ending both satisfying and open to possibilities, like real life.
Published 8 months ago by Brenda Bloomfield
5.0 out of 5 stars A great literary feast
I fond this heavy going but soo rewarding. A great literary feast!
Published 9 months ago by Matt Richards
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Ok
Published 10 months ago by j g hames
3.0 out of 5 stars I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would
I enjoyed this much more than I thought I would, even though there were times that it drove me almost to fury or insanity. Read more
Published 10 months ago by Jezza
1.0 out of 5 stars Is this Edwardian France?
I read Proust's "Swann's Way" because it was free, and I had been promising myself to explore Proust for a long time. Read more
Published 16 months ago by D. R. Whitehouse
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