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Swann's Way: Pt. 1 Hardcover – Dec 1966


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 318 pages
  • Publisher: Chatto & Windus; New impression edition (Dec 1966)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0701110481
  • ISBN-13: 978-0701110482
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,915,479 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

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

70 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Phil O'Sofa on 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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By BobM on 18 Feb 2013
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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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Common Reader TOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 3 Feb 2012
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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17 of 21 people found the following review helpful By John Meanwood TOP 500 REVIEWER on 16 Mar 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an okay translation (it being the first) but it's a bit of a slog and unfortunately Mr Moncrieff does get a couple of things confused, ie. the relationship of some characters.

I would recommend instead the following volumes, as they are more modern translations (by Terence Kilmartin) and are therefore easier to read:

In Search Of Lost Time Vol 1: Swann's Way
In Search Of Lost Time, Vol 2: Within a Budding Grove
In Search Of Lost Time, Vol 3: The Guermantes Way

Also Marcel Proust's Search for Lost Time: A Reader's Guide for a general introduction to the work.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By James Connelly on 20 Nov 2012
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
The Swann's Way set I was sent arrived in what may be the worst and most awkward packaging I've ever seen. For the price charged, you'd think Naxos could spring for a storage case with individual sleeves on a loose-leaf format (others of the seven volumes have this kind of storage). The disks are simply stacked on a spindle. So when you want disk 5 or 9 or 11 etc. you have to take them all off the spindle to get the one you want (the same storage concept as is used for blank CDs). Wake up, Naxos. This is so consumer-UNfriendly as to be obvious to the point of stupidity.

The excellent effort of your reader deserves a little better, and so does the convenience of your purchasers.
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