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In Search of Lost Time: Swann's Way: A Graphic Novel Hardcover – July 13, 2015
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“[T]he graphic novel brings an immediacy to the infrastructure of Proust's story, which he set in real neighborhoods boasting recognizable landmarks, all reproduced here in exacting detail…. It makes for an intriguing introduction to the novels, if you've never made the leap―a kind of literary gateway drug―and a tantalizing refresher course, if you have.”
- Glen Weldon, Weekend Edition (NPR)
About the Author
Marcel Proust (1871–1922) was a French novelist, essayist, and critic, most famous for his autobiographical series of novels, In Search of Lost Time.
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Alas and Alack! Most Americans do not read Proust. This graphic novel by Stephane Heuet serves a great resource to engender a love of the Proustian world for students and those unfamiliar with his work. As an old Proust fan I enjoyed the 200+ page book due to its reacquainting me with the story of the sensitive narrator from Combray and his infatuation with life and love. The book is divided into three parts in the graphic novel and in the original French book by Proust:
Part I-A brilliant evocative portrait of the French village of Combray where the narrator grew to adulthood. He tells us of the sights and sounds of provincial France and introduces us to his wealthy family's eccentric friends and relatives.
Part II-Swann in Love tells the story of the aristocratic Charles Swann and Odette the fallen women with whom he loves.
Part III-Names deals with the narrator's growing love for the daughter of Swann.
This book is an excellent work which would make a great gift to anyone who loves art or literature.
This is wonderful both for those who have read the novel several times (as I have - it's one of my favorites) to initiates. The introduction itself sets the stage very well, and leads into the story, guiding the reader and enabling an understanding of what Proust is trying to show.
Please buy this.
This is a hard bound, large format book which ain't made for bed reading. Enjoy it in your favorite chair..
Not the same as reading the original, but the art work alone makes this a valuable addition to your library. I have a much better Idea of what I am missing by not reading the full text. This is recommended as better than a Readers Digest but not a full on replacement.
Many years ago, and only because it was required reading I attempted the first volume of Marcel Proust’ In Search of Lost Time/ Swan’s Way. The experience taught me that I was not up to every author I attempted. I was humbled and deterred from ever again attempting Marcel Proust. A few years back I read his short, pastiche The Lemoine Affair (The Art of the Novella)Proust in this book he manages to make fun of himself and to satirize a number of his contemporaries. I cannot claim to have understood everyone targeted but the man’s good humor and ability to tweak his targets made for a fun read.
As soon as I saw this graphic novel version, what the publishers call ComicArt of Proust’s epic reinvention of the modern novel, I made the decision that this was a wayto get some idea of what had previous defeated me. No one reading the graphic novel should claim to have read the book, but with it I feel that I have achieved my goal of getting beyond the famous memory inspiring madeleine. This book serves as a rich sample of what the actual read will be with the constant reward of highly crafted, richly embellished comic art.
As to the quality of Arthor Goldhammer’s translation I can make on general statements. I was never conscious of the kinds of translator short cuts as terms with little or no meaning to an English reader may or may not get switched out for either a bald term or one that would have carried no meaning with the original author. The text does contain a number of the Proust’s signature sentences structure, lexical arabesques and complexities. There are any number of a conceits and lessor metaphors that I had to take on faith. Several pages of the young narrator’s feverish hopes of a tour of the European mainland left me more confused than inspired.
Elsewhere there is a lyrical description of a ride to Martinville –le-Sec. A trick of the road causes the town church steeples of Matinville and neighboring Vieuxvicq to appear to “change places.” The text conveys the child’s wonderment and the art work eloquently duplicates the intended effect of the text.
And the art work. The drawings of Stephane Heuet make this book. Finely detailed drawing insure our attentions to the details that Proust would us to especially note. Faces, food, architecture, the infinity of the details of fin de siècle France among the upper middle class. Lessor characters and lessor locations get a more classically simple finished comic rendition.
The issue of class. Much of this book chronicles the life of their neighbor Swan. The road from home to town can be by passage in front of Swan’s estates, Swan’s Way. We are advised of his ‘inappropriate marriage”. We see every moment of his spiral out of his ready access to the higher society where he had been welcome. We watch his troublesome love affair that keeps him with a lady of the demimonde. She will use him for entre into upper middle class or a social climbers or at a least socially pretentious clique. Watching Swan became an exercise like unto the grind house movie where you want to shout at the teen ager to no go alone into the dark Only Swan is a boulevardier, a sophisticate and knows better while not acting better than a besotted man.
I was not prepared for the implied sex in the text. Here punctuated by the occasionally indiscreet drawing. Perhaps I was less aware of what complexities Proust was hiding in his complex sentences. Nothing here that is scandalous, but a few cartoons that some parents and the much more easily offend may wish to be wary.
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Are there translated versions of the other two volumes by Heuet?