NOVEMBER 25, 2013

A Nomadic Reading: Behind the Scenes

By Laurence Marie

Cultural Attache and Head of the Book Department at the French Embassy, Laurence Marie, shares behind the scenes moments from Swann's Way: A Nomadic Reading, part of the Embassy's centennial celebration of the publication of Marcel Proust's Swann's Way.

NOVEMBER 20, 2013

Proust the Impressionist

By Book Department

I must admit to having started several times before finally being able to enter the cathedral that is In Search of Lost Time, which was more like an impenetrable fortress for me at the time. Then one day, which I remember very clearly, I opened the first volume, and read it so avidly that I’ve often wondered why I had resisted for so long...

NOVEMBER 15, 2013

Favorite Passages from Swann's Way

By French Culture

Over the past week, many of our Facebook fans have shared their favorite passages from Swann's Way in celebration of the centennial and as part of our Proust Centennial Custom Edition Moleskine Notebook giveaway. We have compiled all your wonderful selections below. Enjoy!

NOVEMBER 14, 2013

Remember the Alamo: Proust and My Breakdown

By Michael Reynolds

I have always considered Marcel Proust to be the milksop of modernism. Wherefore this forever reclining and meticulously mustachioed Frenchman? Compared to Woolf, Joyce, Kafka, Musil, Conrad, Mann, what was he? A weakling, an infirm, a self-published author! And, worst of all, a waffler.

NOVEMBER 12, 2013

Proust on Twitter

By Davis Schneiderman

The first note of constructed art, or artifice, in Swann’s Way is the boy Marcel’s magic lantern. The device projects the story of Genevieve de Brabant and her nemesis Golo across the wall, and it presents, for the eponymous Marcel, “an intrusion of mystery and beauty into a room which I had succeeded in filling with my own personality until I thought no more of the room than of myself…I would begin to think and feel very melancholy things.”

NOVEMBER 9, 2013

Proust is...

By Linda Coverdale

. . . kicking off your slippers and clambering onto the desk chair to find out what’s on the top bookshelf while the babysitter is out of the living room. Two books in a blue slip case immediately draw the eye with their gilt titles and elegant cloth spines the color of beach sand. Remembrance of Things Past.

NOVEMBER 5, 2013

Summer Reading

By Book Department

I’m 18, slumped in a folding chair on the lawn of my family’s house in Tuscany, reading Proust in the Pléiade edition, oblivious to the 20/20 visual acuity that such an activity presupposed and that twenty-five years later my bespectacled middle aged self can’t help but regard with a discrete amount of envy.

OCTOBER 28, 2013

Proust and Jesus

By Esther Allen

In my sophomore year at Scripps College in Claremont, California, I took a course called “Marcel Proust and Virginia Woolf: Existence in Search of its Essence.” I had no particular interest in the authors; my best friend Alina had studied with the professor the previous year, admired her intensely, and insisted I take a class from her, any class.

OCTOBER 21, 2013

Proust's Ruthlessness

By Book Department

Ah, Proust…the long, well-trimmed, intimidating shadow cast over French letters…

OCTOBER 15, 2013

Noms de pays: le nom

By Book Department

Because I’m not an expert on Proust, the best that I can do here is to evoke the reason why, it seems to me, I was able to easily and immediately immerse myself in reading Proust, without giving up, even as many of my friends bowed out along the way. It came to me recently, while I was working on a book about my childhood...

OCTOBER 9, 2013

So you want to read Proust? Really?

By Frédérique Molay

First of all, know that In Search of Lost Time corresponds to a lot of lost time. If you imagine that you actually enjoy the reading, then you’ll have to make it through all seven thick volumes of the writer’s story. Your whole summer vacation gone, just like that. And if you read slowly, it could keep you busy until Christmas.

SEPTEMBER 17, 2013

Thérèse in the Garden

By Marie d’Origny

In a family album dating from circa 1900, a page is devoted to my great-grand-aunt striking a theatrical pose in a dilapidated garden. She is draped in a white toga that hangs on her broad limbs with the elegance of an unmade bed. Her left arm is wrapped above a head of straggly hair. She sprouts from the ruins and vegetation like a broken statue...


Proust Pals

By Jeff Peer

The Hôtel des Roches Noires is still open, but it doesn’t look like it. The mid-nineteenth century building has a reticent, withholding quality, even in the glare of a sunny Norman afternoon. Most of the shutters are closed. There are no guests in bathing suits making their way to the waves. Tourists walk along the boardwalk, looking up at it curiously, but nobody goes inside. The wide, Second-Empire facade is not in disrepair.

JULY 16, 2013

Proust Centennial

By Morgan Meis

I first opened Swann’s Way on a train. This is more than twenty years ago, Amtrak heading from New York City up the Hudson and finally to Montreal. It was a nine-hour train ride, the way I remember it. I remember stepping off the train in Montreal and wondering where the hours had gone.

JULY 9, 2013

A Proust Moment

By Harold Augenbraum

In 2004 I went with twelve other American Proustians to Paris, Illiers-Combray, and Cabourg. In Paris, in order to “re-experience” the pissoir scene from In Search of Lost Time, we went to an underground pissoir in the Place Madeleine...

JULY 2, 2013

Reading Proust

By Lydia Davis

I know approximately, but not exactly, when I first read Proust. I was living in France at the time. I was probably 24 or 25. I bought the little cream-colored two-volume Gallimard edition of the first book of the novel--Du Côté de chez Swann.

JUNE 24, 2013

Teaching “Proust and His World”

By Larry Bensky

I’ve maintained the “Radio Proust” web site for almost six years now, and have concurrently been teaching a course called “Proust and His World” for the Osher Lifetime Learning Institute at UC Berkeley. One of the major obstacles I’ve encountered, which seems to be shared by many Proust admirers, is how to engage those who have little or no knowledge of Proust in his magnificent work?

JUNE 17, 2013

The Stirrings of My Felt Body

By Siri Hustvedt

To read Proust is to feel the fluctuations of a consciousness in all its mingled modes—sensory, cognitive, emotional. But for me the enchantment of his immense novel lies in the fact that the narrator is agonizingly aware of the chasm between experience and language.

JUNE 11, 2013

This Everest of Literature

By Steve Wasserman

I confess: For more than forty years, I’ve had this Everest of literature on my shelves, but all previous attempts to conquer its summit had defeated me.

MAY 29, 2013

Time Travel

By Mary Hawthorne

Recently, I’ve come back to Proust. I did not resolve once again, once and for all, to finish reading his masterwork (like a surprising number of my literary friends, I’d been swearing to do this for years); instead, I simply began reading him again, every morning on my way to the office on the No. 7 train, and every evening on my way home.