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Paintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to in Search of Lost Time Hardcover – October 27, 2008
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An indispensable companion for readers of Proust…. Precisely what’s been needed for about 90 years.” (Rochester Post-Bulletin)
“A visually stunning and surprisingly accessible book that brings out subtle facets of Proust’s masterpiece, as well as the artworks he cites…Karpeles comes close to encapsulating Proust’s vision…Paintings in Proust could serve effectively as either a concise preface or a meaningful afterword to the monumental novel. What’s more, it can be appreciated entirely on its own.” (Art in America)
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The book is arranged by the seven volumes of the novel. Each work of art is accompanied by a short introduction setting the context within the novel and the excerpt which references it. Karpeles also provides a helpful index which lists every reference in the novel to either the painters or paintings mentioned. The references include the page numbers from the French Tadie Pleiade Edition as well as the Moncrieff/Kilmartin and Moncrieff/Kilmartin/Enright translations (but not the latest Penguin translation).
The footnotes at the end of the book are a gold mine of Proustian tidbits and should not be ignored. In addition to listing where the works are displayed and dimensions, Karpeles provides much interesting information and clarifies some textual issues. For example, in discussing the painter Mihaly Munkacsy, he explains that due to "Proust's often illegible scrawl ... Munkacsy's name was never used in the earliest editions of the novel .... The intense [editorial] scrutiny of Jean Yves Tadie restored Munkacsy to his rightful place ... and his correction resulted in the change also finally being made by ...Read more ›
What were the paintings of Pieter de Hooche that inspired this exquisite description of Vinteuil's sonata? "He began, as always, with the sustained tremolos of the violin part which for several bars was heard alone, filling the whole foreground; until suddenly it seemed to draw aside, and - as in those interiors by Pieter de Hooch which are deepened by the narrow frame of a half opened door, in the far distance, of a different color, velvety with the radiance of some intervening light - the little phrase appeared, dancing, pastoral, interpolated, episodic, belonging to another world." I have savored that description for many years but, being unfamiliar with the painter I could only go so far in my appreciation.
Eric Karpeles has assembled every pictorial reference that Proust made in all seven volumes of the novel. He has tracked-down the reference - however obscure or arcane - and his publisher has reproduced each one, alongside the original quotation.Read more ›
The illustrated works (more than 200 of them) range from Renaissance paintings by Titian, Fra Bartolomeo, Da Vinci, etc, to Vermeer's famous View of Delft (illustrated next to the description of Bergotte's death), to modern works by Degas or Manet, but there are also numerous works by lesser-known artists, whose reproductions would be very difficult to find elsewhere (Léon Bakst, Gustave Jacquet,Jehan-Georges Vibert...).
This book is all the more important to the understanding of Proust as he himself acknowledged that "La Recherche" was a work whose theme was the birth of an artistic vocation in the narrator's soul, the novel itself being the result of this birth. He also wrote that " my book is a painting" (as quoted in the present book). Art, and painting in particular, holds a central part in the whole work and, until now, no one had undertaken the necessary task of documenting this. "Paintings in Proust" is at the same time a very helpful and a beautiful contribution to the study of one of the most important works in Western literature.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I am really enjoying this accompaniment to In Search of Lost Time. It really adds a dimension to see the art Proust was referring to; these references clearly are as much his... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Charlie B Vermont
When you read Proust's "Remembrance of Things Past" (or, more accurately, "In Search of Lost Time") there are many, many references to works of art. Read morePublished 20 months ago by dolgoruky
Anyone would/could - completely delight in this
remarkably well done book - but for those who
have yet to read Proust or are in the midst of
the experience it will... Read more
I am reading "In Search of Lost Time" and this book is a great accompaniment so that you can get a quick visual to the many references to art in the book, plus the book... Read morePublished 23 months ago by C. V. Risoldi
Reading Proust is one of those things that one thinks about but very seldom really indulges in, I think. Read morePublished 23 months ago by MeandMygal