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Swann's Way
Swann's Way
Swann's Way
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Swann's Way

Valutazione: 4 su 5 stelle



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In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past (French: À la recherche du temps perdu) is a semi-autobiographical novel in seven volumes by Marcel Proust. His most prominent work, it is popularly known for its extended length and the notion of involuntary memory, the most famous example being the "episode of the madeleine". Still widely referred to in English as Remembrance of Things Past, the title In Search of Lost Time, a more accurate rendering of the French, has gained in usage since D.J. Enright's 1992 revision of the earlier translation by C.K. Scott-Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin.
Swann's Way is the first volume.

Data di uscita10 giu 2015
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Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust (1871–1922) was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his monumental novel À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time; earlier rendered as Remembrance of Things Past), published in seven parts between 1913 and 1927. He is considered by critics and writers to be one of the most influential authors of the twentieth century.

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Valutazione: 4.012099644128114 su 5 stelle

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  • Valutazione: 3 su 5 stelle
    The only way I can truly describe this book is by analogy. You know when you have a really sore spot on your gum, and it hurts, and you are compelled to press on it, which doesn't relieve the pain but changes the sensation to something strangely enjoyable (or at least less painful), then you remove the pressure and the pain returns? That is reading this book. It has been lauded as a masterpiece, so I tried to get it, but all I came away with was a very original, sometimes sublimely written, self-indulgent piece of inner vision. It makes sense to me it was written by a guy in a room lined by cork. Short on story and action, long on self-consciousness. The breathtaking prose is oddly compelling, but I often felt cheated. Unlike others, I will not be reading the other volumes. I saw the beautiful movie, "Time Regained", and that satisfied my need to find out what happens/doesn't happen in the opus, but I'm not so masochistic that I'll actually read page after page of description of a leaf. I'll just accept my philistine status when it comes to Proust.
  • Valutazione: 5 su 5 stelle
    Proust describes everything beautifully...and I do mean everything. When he's describing something that you care about - books, say, or love, or music - it's pretty great to read. When it's something else - flowers, medieval painters, more fucking flowers - it gets a little boring. So next time you hear people arguing about Proust, and one person says he's one of the most gorgeous writers ever, and the other person says he's fucking boring...they're both right.
  • Valutazione: 5 su 5 stelle
    It's probably a rather banal thing to say, but what I really noticed when I picked up the first volume of À la recherche du temps perdu again after a long Proust-free period was that I'd completely forgotten how good he is at getting his complicated ideas about art, society, nature and mind across. The story might be frustratingly slow in getting anywhere, but on just about every page there was a phrase that seemed exactly to capture something I could relate to my own experience and give it an extra dimension. One part of you wants to tell the narrator not to fret and reassure him that his mother is going to come up to say good night to him after all in about 500 pages from now, but at the same time you're surfing the ideas as they roll towards you with a reassuringly predictable rhythm that's modulated just enough to keep you alert and focussed as they come at you. The first-person sections are more immediately and obviously appealing than "Un amour de Swann", of course - I even caught myself checking "that most erotic of books, the railway timetable", to see whether I might be able to fit in a trip to Normandy next year to have a look at "Combray" and "Balbec" in real life. It's much easier to identify with the narrator-as-a-small-boy than with Swann the Parisian sophisticate falling for the courtesan Odette, but even so there is a remarkable amount in the development of his affection, need, jealousy and mistrust that strikes a chord. And the Duchess is magnificent!I don't think I could read all seven volumes straight through without a break - I need a bit of laughter and flippancy from time to time, and that's something Proust would dismiss as the unworthy province of the small-minded Verdurins. But now that I've started the re-read, I am in the mood again, and the other volumes are going to have to follow sooner or later. As a pastime, re-reading Proust certainly beats "strangling animals, golf and masturbating"...
  • Valutazione: 5 su 5 stelle
    The opening book of In Search of Lost Time is Swann's Way. It in turn is divided into three sections, the first being Combray. We enter the world of the narrator as a young boy when he is trying to sleep while being interrupted by his thoughts. It is these thoughts, described as "reflections on what I had just read" that engage us on the first page of this first section of the first of many volumes. The young boy gradually returns to sleep only to find himself dreaming of the origins of woman from the rib of the first man. It may be that this is one way to view the beginnings of Proust's long tale as the origin of the story of one man's life from the imagination of our narrator as he remembers the events of his life as a young boy at the village of Combray in the house of his Aunt Leonie with his parents. Why is it that reading generates in the imagination of the young boy such strong reflections that they interrupt his sleep? One way to answer this is to look first at the mind from which the imagination emanates. It is a mind described thusly,"And wasn't my mind also like another crib in the depths of which I felt I remained ensconced . . . When I saw an external object, my awareness that I was seeing it would remain between me and it, lining it with a thin spiritual border that prevented me from ever directly touching its substance; it would volatize in some way before I could make contact with it, just as an incandescent body brought near a wet object never touches its moisture because it is always preceded by a zone of evaporation." (p 85)Marcel's mind (for Marcel is his name) is invigorated by his reading "from inside to outside, toward the discovery of the truth," reading that aroused his emotions as he experienced the dramatic events in the book. It is these emotions that bring with them an intensity that makes Marcel feel more alive than any other activity. He relates,"And once the novelist has put us in that state, in which, as in all purely internal states, every emotion is multiplied tenfold, in which his book will disturb us as might a dream but a dream more lucid than those we have while sleeping and whose memory will last longer, then see how he provokes us within one hour all possible happiness and all possible unhappiness just a few of which we would spend years of our lives coming to know and the most intense of which would never be revealed to us because the slowness with which they occur prevents us from perceiving them" (p 87)It is not only reading that defines young Marcel, but also his relationships with people around him, not only his mother and aunt, but others including the faithful servant Francoise, the wealthy Jewish neighbor Swann, also Legrandin and Bloch who are introduced to him at Combray. Bloch is interesting in part because he introduces Marcel to the writing of Bergotte. It is Bergotte who above all others entrances the young boy."In the first few days, like a melody with which one will become infatuated but which one cannot yet make out, what I was to love so much in his style was not apparent to me. I could no put down the novel of his that I was reading, but thought I was interested only in the subject, as during that first period of love when you go to meet a woman every day at some gathering, some entertainment, thinking you are drawn to it by its pleasures. Then I noticed the rare, almost archaic expressions he liked to use at certain moments, when a hidden wave of harmony, an inner prelude, would heighten his style; and it was also at theses moments that he would speak of the "vain dream of life," the "inexhaustible torrent of beautiful appearance," the "moving effigies that forever ennoble the venerable and charming facades of our cathedrals," that he expressed an entire philosophy, new to me, through marvelous images" (pp 95-96)Reading Bergotte yields a "joy" within Marcel that allowed him to experience "a deeper, vaster, more unified region" of himself. It is through such experiences of reading and the resulting flights of imagination that the reader is introduced to the book that to be read and understood must yield similar emotions for the reader. Yet it is not only reading that thrills Marcel in Proust's story but also, as can be seen from the description of Bergotte's novel, music and its even stronger impact on his imagination.
  • Valutazione: 5 su 5 stelle
    The last time I read this was in the early 1980s and so it is with a nearly empty set of preconceptions that I am returning to it now to begin this centennial Year of Reading Proust. I do remember the sensation of the words just washing over me, not being quite sure what they were describing (now I can see that the book has virtually no plot and just enough action to keep the prose stirred up a little), and no clear impression of where the rest of the series would go, except certainly later in the life of the Narrator. Proust writes as if he can divide up perception into its constituent atoms and chart the way their paths evolve over time, assembling these bits into a portrait fixed at a particular time and place only if it suits his purposes of depicting a certain character or spotlighting some aspect of his theme. Thus, it is very easy to get disoriented, especially a century after it came out.

    I'm boosting my rating a star now over what I had previously. Swann's Way really does belong among the first rank of novels ever written.

    It is fascinating to see how certain motifs are woven in and out: music, flowers, social convention, and the advent of the modern world. I am looking forward to watching how these develop over the remaining volumes. If the effect of reading this work is really as life-changing as some have claimed, I am still uncertain, or rather I cannot tell whether it is more so than any other monumental work of literature to which one has been exposed.
  • Valutazione: 2 su 5 stelle
    Was this ever a slow, difficult read! Though I typically become very absorbed in novels (even lousy or trashy ones), I never managed to truly get into this. I love Lydia Davis's other work, so I don't think the problem is the translation.

    I'm generally a very fast reader, but this was impossible to take at anything but a glacial pace--the sentences are so long and ponderous that it's easy to lose the thread of meaning unless you focus intensely. The payoff was not always equal to the effort expended.

    I will say that there were many staggeringly beautiful descriptions, especially of flowers.

    On top of all that, at times I was frustrated and disappointed by both the narrator and Swann. I just wanted them to build a bridge and get over their issues.
  • Valutazione: 4 su 5 stelle
    I'm conflicted. I started off thinking that the writing was lovely and evocative, although the young narrator perhaps provides detail that one might politely call "a little excessive" about such things as bedtime routines and the importance of the narrator receiving a goodnight kiss from his mother. Within a few percentage points (I read this on the kindle, so instead of seeing the pages of the book move from the "unread" side to the "read" side, I only had the agonizingly slow movement of the percentages as feedback - flip, no change, flip, flip, flip, no change, flip, flip, flip, flip, flip ... ah, finally!), where was I? Oh right, within a few percentage points I was hoping to never hear about the layout of the French town of Combray, church spires, walks, weather, hawthorn bushes, or the narrator's damned mother again. I was moderately enlivened for a while by the story of his great-aunt Leonie's invalid behavior. She entertainingly always managed to be too ill to do the things she didn't want to, but healthy enough to manage the things she did.We've been introduced to M. Swann through his interactions with the narrator's family, although Swann's wife and daughter are off-limits as the wife is not one to be introduced to polite company, and therefore neither is the daughter. Eventually we start into the meat of it, talking about M. Swann. And we are with him for what seems like a million years as he is enchanted by Odette, a woman of dubious moral character. Much is made of who is associating with whom, who is going to the theater, the opera, riding home in carriages together, having dinner at whose house, etc. We are spared no detail of Swann's thoughts about Odette and how he spends seemingly every waking moment. The last section returns to our child narrator and his love for (or really, fixation on) Gilberte Swann. Once I discovered that Gilberte had red hair, I couldn't stop thinking of the narrator as a Parisian Charlie Brown, obsessed with his little red-haired girl. Definitely not the mood Proust was going for. I will say, though, that as frustrated as I was with this book at times (and boy was I - telling myself "I'll read 2 percent of this thing today if it kills me"), I'm glad I made it through. The last page threw the whole thing into a more positive light and gave me more to think about, as well as the motivation to continue on with the next volume. I just wish that change in perspective had taken place a little earlier.Recommended for: fans of Ingmar Bergman, Francophiles, people who like to be honest when they say, "I read that."Quote: "I do feel that it's really absurd that a man of his intelligence should let himself be made to suffer by a creature of that kind, who isn't even interesting, for they tell me, she's an absolute idiot!" she concluded with the wisdom invariably shewn by people who, not being in love themselves, feel that a clever man ought to be unhappy only about such persons as are worth his while; which is rather like being astonished that anyone should condescend to die of cholera at the bidding of so insignificant a creature as the common bacillus."
  • Valutazione: 5 su 5 stelle
    Five stars. Review to come. This volume alone, of course, could inspire multiple volumes of reactions and analysis, but it would only be fair to add my meager offerings after I close Volume VII.