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Time Regained: In Search of Lost Time, Vol. VI (Modern Library Classics) (v. 6) Paperback – February 16, 1999

4.7 out of 5 stars 89 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

In The Fugitive, the seventh volume of Proust's classic Remembrance of Things Past, the focus is grief. The plot is superficially simple: Albertine, the narrator's mistress, has left him; he considers his love for her, her reasons for departure, what response(s) he should make, and his life. He makes several attempts to manipulate her return; when it becomes impossible, he mourns and remembers the past. This series is a pseudoautobiographical study of the author's own self-centered, physically restricted, self-reflective life in pre-World War I France. In Time Regained, the final volume, Proust gathers together all the themes of the previous seven. The narrator pays several visits to Paris, during and after the war, observing the military and nonmilitary behaviors of old and new acquaintances. Later, he is shocked to recognize that they and he have become old. Finally, his thoughts turn to former events, old loves, and reliving his experiences through writing. The author is known for his complicated thought patterns and recurring, interwoven themes. Unfortunately, both the abridgment and the format compound these textual difficulties. There is likely to be little demand for this abridged French classic in translation, unless it is made into a movie. Neville Jason has a beautiful voice and an obvious love for the text. Recommended for large academic and public libraries. I. Pour-El, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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“Proust is perhaps the last great historian of the loves.” —Edmund Wilson
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 784 pages
  • Publisher: Modern Library; New edition edition (February 16, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375753125
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375753121
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 1.3 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (89 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #484,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Depending on how you look at it, this seven-volume masterpiece is the most beautiful work on human consciousness, or the most overstated piece on time and memory. Jorge Luis Borges might have had Proust in mind when, horrified at the time and effort required to write long novels, he instead decided to write short reviews of imagined long novels. Whatever the energy expended in the production, the reading is strangely without ardous labor. One does not "plough" through Proust; I would never have ploughed through anything for 12 long months. Instead, I found myself pleasurably swept along by Proust's meandering stream. Of all great novelists, Proust to me was the easiest to read, easy in the sense that, for most of the year, I was unconscious of the effort of reading. When pressing matters intruded into my life, I would leave Proust aside for many weeks at a time, but only to return to him as one returns to wearing one's favourite shirt. Perhaps this weird sense of effortlessness and, at the same time, finding it absolutely indispensible, is a function of its main concern, which is Time and Memory. There are no plot devices to push the reader forward. Instead the Time-Narrative is filled with the inanities of the quotidian. A shaft of sunlight falling into the bedroom can take up many pages. A smell, a taste, can open up enormous floodgates of memory. Of Proust it may be said that he could turn an egg upside down and write a book about it. His persistance with a certain image or an object is astonishing. It reminds me of one those famous Impressionist paintings of haystacks seen under different lights.

Among the first things that struck me about this novel is its paradoxical nature: It is both intimate and epic at the same time.
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Format: Paperback
I've just finished reading The Search for Lost Time and I'd like to share a few thoughts.

First, commit to reading the whole thing, all seven volumes, all million+ words. However if the commitment frightens you (as it should) first read Swann's Love, the middle part of the first volume.

Second, if you commit don't be afraid to take a break and leave the book aside. I began reading it fifteen years ago, and read Swann's Love several times before finally getting a one volume omnibus and reading the whole thing. It took me eight months, during which I freely allowed myself to read other books.

Third, don't read Alain de Botton's How Proust Can Change Your Life until you're reached the final volume. It's a wonderful book, but if you want to read the Search, then De Botton's little book is a "digestif" that will help you put Proust in perspective.

Fourth, you don't have to read Proust. No one does. If you don't enjoy reading the Search, leave it alone. Proust never liked the title "The Search for Lost Time" and I think he might have actually preferred the now discredited original English translation title "Remembrance of Things Past".* In French Lost Time (Temps Perdu) implies a waste of time, and Proust was very conscious of having wasted the first forty years of his life.

Lastly, I wouldn't worry too much about the translation. I read the Search in French and it struck me that translating Proust wouldn't be much harder than reading him. The essence of Proust's style is not dramatic rhetoric, it is patient and painstaking descriptions and explanations. He wants the reader to understand something very complex and subtle: his or her own self. You'll find the drama in his philosophy.
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This is a review by an amateur reader for amateur literati. I'm 71. I am not taking a college literature class (although I am college educated and have an M. D. degree, if that means anything); I'm not a professor, and I don't hang out in book clubs. Lately, after years of laziness and negligence, I've at last read about 50 "important" books to catch up on what I have missed, and, notably for me, at last, after fear of commitment, have recently finished Proust's magnum opus to see what the fuss was all about. I read it straight through over a 9 month period, in parcels of minutes to hours, usually in the quiet time before retiring. In an effort to give my straight unbiased comments I have not read any the reviews here.

The Modern Library 6 book cased edition by translators Moncrieff, Kilmartin, and Enright, turned out to be more than good; it was a delightful, easy style, not obscure or convoluted; you readily could appreciate Proust's incredibly detailed yet smooth, almost poetic style, with his superb attention to psychological detail in how one thinks, feels and reacts to events and memory. I will not go much into the plot or the literary stature of the book as I am sure it has all been covered elsewhere quite capably. I will say the main theme is the close critical observation of the social life of the era, the pretensions of the very rich and the competing social climbers, and more significantly, the conveying of one's life to such an extent that it almost takes over your own; you may well be lured into taking one reality for the other.

Did I get everything out of the book I could have? No. Why?
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