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The Guermantes Way

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Book details

  • PDF | 404 pages
  • Chatto and Windus; Reprint edition (1925)
  • English
  • 6
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By Librarian on July 28, 2016

    UPDATED 11/05/17: Be aware that many of the reviews attached to this and other low-priced, 7-volume editions of Proust in the Kindle Store were "imported" from other, EARLIER versions and do not necessarily refer to this one; several of them refer specifically to only one particular volume or to a comparatively new (and very expensive) translation. This updated review pertains to virtually identical editions by De Marque, Centaur, Centaurus, Golden Deer, Shandonpress, and others based on the standard public domain text.Low-priced, 7-volume, public domain-based editions such as this, contain the old (but in its own way "classic") C. K. Scott Moncrieff translation of Proust's exquisite and sublime epic novel, REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST (a title which newer translations render as IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME). This is a must-read classic. Comprised of 7 volumes, it (to speak of those 7 as one entity) is unique in its purpose, that being to intimately examine a lifetime in such detail and nuance, so as not merely to recall it, but to recreate and recapture it via all the senses, thereby preserving it for all time. Thus, the narrator's reconstituted life becomes so real to us (as readers of it), we feel as if the people, places, and situations he so profusely and vividly depicts have become OURS as well. Therefore, despite this book's great length, many devoted readers will undoubtedly repeat the experience more than a few times during their lifetimes, thereby renewing acquaintances with old friends and revisiting now-familiar places. Such is the magic and power of this book.Notice I said "narrator's reconstituted life" (above) rather than Proust's. While this is a highly autobiographical work, it is still fiction, and although the narrator/protagonist may GREATLY resemble Proust, he is, nevertheless NOT Proust. This is a great NOVEL, not a great AUTOBIOGRAPHY, and it should best be read and enjoyed and judged as such. Indeed, it is one of the greatest novels of all time (and to many, it is THE greatest).This particular translation is not necessarily the greatest, however, and newer translations take advantage of subsequent manuscript discoveries and textual research to make content additions and relocations, translational corrections, and syntactical emendations. That's not to say Scott Moncrieff's translation is terrible; on the contrary, it is quite serviceable and has become somewhat of a classic in its own right. The grand themes regarding memory and the passage of time, the insights into love, life, and human behavior, and the vivid word-pictures of people and places are all here, and are more than adequately rendered by Moncrieff. Nevertheless, the newer translations do it better by being more accurate to Proust's original -- but they are more expensive. The Modern Library/Random House ebook edition (which I happen to especially like) is priced at $49.99 (though purchasing its volumes separately reduces the price almost in half). A great book of this magnitude is certainly worth it, but not necessarily to everyone.While I greatly enjoy Proust's magnum opus, I do admit the reality that not everyone will feel its magic. It is a very long and detailed work with lengthy, descriptive, convoluted sentences that can be somewhat tedious and difficult to comprehend, and its "plot" cannot be regarded as especially exciting. Reading this massive work from start-to-finish requires the investment of much time, great effort, and dedication, but its rewards are truly commensurate to one's perseverance. Those who can stick with it may very well come to regard this as the best ebook purchase they have ever made -- and likely ever will. But YOU won't know until you've given it a try, and an inexpensive, but complete edition like this provides the perfect opportunity for you to do so.

  • By San Fran Man on January 7, 2017

    After promising myself for years to tackle Proust, downloading all seven volumes on my Kindle for free was irresistible. I'm only two-thirds of the way through Swann's Way, and, yes, the first few dozen pages left me wondering why it's a classic. But after sticking with it, I'm now used to Proust's style and immersed in Proust's world, and it's just a great read. The Centaurus edition is the sometimes lyrical, often clunky Moncrieff translation and though it may be true of all the public domain editions, it's full of stupid typos and misspellings. But hey, even though it's now gone up to a big ninety-nine cents, you're paying fourteen cents a volume for what I'm increasingly finding a staggering piece of writing, and a lot of fun, too. Yep, fun.I'm even firmly believing I'll make it through to the end. Wish me luck!

  • By Elsa on December 12, 2016

    This is a book that wants to show the world through the eyes (and mind) of a child, and it's incredibly effective at it. Events as simple as waking up can take many pages and being put to bed can take a full chapter. It's hard to describe how much beauty can be stuffed into such simple events. However, most of the events in the book are -that- simple. The author probably thought that looking at the life of a common member of a common family living what was a common life at a specific place and time would be interesting and nostalgic to people of different places and times and he was right. The main character has enough innocence and wonder to drown an elephant and yet, he seems sincere and fair. He acknowledges where he probably saw things incorrectly as a kid. He lives in an adult world and the adults are imperfect; some are mentally ill, some are mean to each other, and some are disreputable. Yet, they are all looked at with love and kindness. I don't know if I'd ever feel the need to read the next volume but I do know I'm glad I got to experience this one.

  • By Timothy Hallinan on June 1, 2013

    I know, Proust is boring and odd and full of unhealthy, obsessive relationships, and he presents most of the gay characters (of whom there are a great many) as unsympathetic despite the fact that Proust was gay himself, and the opening sequence is practically unreadable.And this volume is only the beginning of REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST, which still makes it the open door into a new world.REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST was a transcendent reading experience for me. Very seldom in my reading life has an entire world opened to me, completely convincing, absolutely jammed with amazing men and women, and full of insight into what it means to be human, even if the person who is writing it all down is neurotic, over-sensitive, snobbish, and deeply in the closet. (The funny thing is that everyone who knew Proust knew that he was gay, and he never realized it.The best characters in this book--Swann, Odette, the fearsome Mme. Verdurin, the Duchess Guermantes, Baron Charlus, Albertine, the narrator himself, just to name a few--are among the greatest characters ever to inhabit a page. The sequence of novels is loonnnnnhhggggggg and occasionally boring. So skim a few pages, it won't hurt Proust. But this book has changed the way I feel about many things and has brought me a new perspective on writing, after decades of reading and writing.Okay, I'm talking about the entire REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST, of which this is the first volume. But seriously, why start if you're not going to finish it?

  • By Dawn Copley on March 21, 2017

    Proust is as wonderful as everyone say ! You must only read to believe . Swann's Way is mostly dealing with his childhood and those who most influenced him . Monsouier Swann was definitely a man that made a big impression on him and the whole family . I really feel I must read more of the volumes in the set to make a clear judgement of the influence of this first book . I love his style of writing . Everything seems so dreamy and wonderful.

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