Enter your mobile number below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Marcel Proust's Search for Lost Time: A Reader's Guide to The Remembrance of Things Past Paperback – September 22, 2009
|New from||Used from|
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
About the Author
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
For years I have been looking for a "Cliffs Notes" guide to Proust, or something to help me negotiate it. The plot is convoluted, and there are hundreds of characters. But there are none. Cliffs Notes never printed one, Barron's either. Even Sparknotes comes up with nothing. To my astonishment, there are not even (at least as of this writing) any synopses available online, at least not in any detail. It's puzzling. Not even on Wikipedia! (UPDATE: a serviceable summary is available for purchase here: The 14-Minute Marcel Proust: A Very Short Guide to the Greatest Novel Ever Written)
You can tell Alexander's book is a quality product after flipping through it for about 10 seconds. Long lists of characters, abbreviated and extended plot summaries, discussions of themes. etc. It's not a flimsy book, either. At just shy of 400 pages, it's a solid production, in this sense analogous to Stuart Gilbert's guide to "Ulysses": James Joyce's Ulysses, although far more accessible.
It's a labor of love, too. Apparently this guy was a French professor who retired early so that he could work on it. This shows, and I would like to thank that professor if he's reading this.
There's lots of jokes in it, by the way. Not dry at all.
The closest book I know of to this is Proust's Way: A Field Guide to in Search of Lost Time which is okay if you're really getting into Proust.Read more ›
For starters, we are told many times that the narrator goes to the opera (lowercase "o") to see Berma as Racine's Phedre. Does the author not know the difference between an opera and a play? Mentioning it once is a mistake; stating it many times is ignorance. Also, the title of Huysmans most famous novel is twice given as "A Rebourse" (p. 217). The name of the fictional painter Elstir is given (p. 236) as both Elstir and Elistir (twice). The author uses "whom" when only "who" is correct (p. 80, 160, 282). "Possess" is spelled "posses" (p. 90).
What most irritiates me is the constant repetition of sentences. Some things are repeated 4-5-6 times. The important material gets repeated 10-11-12 times. It's as if the author never thought the reader would read the whole book in sequence and was expecting us to thumb through it randomly over a few months and be exposed to an idea only once, not remember that we just read the same thing a few pages previously. To give just one example, we are told many times how the narrator inherits Aunt Leonie's furniture and donates a sofa to a brothel and then sees the whores doing things on the sofa. I understood it the first time; I didn't need to be reminded five more times. An attempt at a relationship matrix (p. 201) was probably more fun to draw than it is to look at.
There is also the matter of tone. We go from scholarly to sarcastic: "This is Proust being Woody Allen at his most neurotically annoying... (p. 122).Read more ›
I can't recommend it enough. There are short and long summaries of each volume, character lists, historical information about Paris at the time of the writing, and a short bio of Proust's life.
This was what put the icing on the cake for me - this is what helped me put all the puzzle pieces together and actually get excited about reading Proust. This also makes you want to pick up volume one Swann's Way, and start all over again, which is quite a feat.
The only warning I have is with spoilers. If you are reading Proust for the first time, it is hard to avoid spoilers while reading this book. I accepted the spoilers so that I could gain more from my reading.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
With a book as complex as Lost Time by Proust you're going to want this guide to help you keep the huge number of characters and plot points straight- so best to keep it close at... Read morePublished 2 months ago by thirdtwin
The book is OK in itself, there's that. The problem is desiring some sort of crib notes in the first place to read Proust. Read morePublished 5 months ago by jhtlag
Very well done. It's important to note this is a reader's guide, not an analytical book, as Alexander notes in his commentary, he restricts himself (more or less) to the narrative... Read morePublished 10 months ago by Sammy J
Deciding to read all seven books of In Search of Lost Time requires a serious commitment. It starts off slow and ponders through a pretty weird obsession the narrator has with his... Read morePublished 11 months ago by D. M. Gribschaw
A wonderful english guide to Proust's masterworks---it is a great reminder of the highlights in a more expeditious way than reading the original volumes in French.Published 12 months ago by Kimberly Moore
It took me about 30 years to finish Swann's way and once I did, it took a mere couple of months to finish the remaining six books. I became addicted to its wonder... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Mel S
Wonderful guide to Proust. I doubt if anyone could read Search for Lost Time, not having read the guide first.
The only alternative would be to read the book twice. Read more