How To Read Proust In the Original

This item is by Lisa Brown was taken from the New York Times Book Review.


I took the Twentieth Century French Novel at the university and that was the first time I was introduced to Marcel Proust. We only read Swann’s Way in translation but I found Proust’s prose to be like wrapping myself in several warm, fuzzy blankets in front of a crackling fire—just letting my mind loose as I drifted off into literary oblivion.

Later I read more of Proust and even reread Swann’s Way  in the original (poorly). Right now I have two editions of À la recherche du temps perdu within reach of my desk, one in French (single volume Gallimard), the other in English (Moncrieff, Kilmartin, Enright). Somewhere on my shelves I have yet another French edition and the recent Penguin edition (which I do not prefer) not to mention at least two digital editions on my computer or iPad.

It seems to be common to space-out or have a “madeleine moment” while reading Proust: his prose is very rich and satiating but it is also almost uniquely satisfying. Has there ever been another writer such as Marcel Proust?

Do you suspect that Proust may not be embraced by the Manga, Mario Brothers, Twitter generation?

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