289 Swann’s Way (Marcel Proust)

Since its first appearance, Marcel Proust’s magnum opus In Search of Lost Time has delighted and confounded editors, readers, and critics. Published in seven volumes over a fourteen-year period, the enormous novel has generally been recognized as both the highest form of artistic achievement and one of the most difficult reading experiences imaginable. In this episode, Jacke and Mike discuss Swann’s Way (1913) to see whether this opening volume serves as a good introduction to the entire work.

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185 Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust (1871-1922) did little of note until he turned 38 years old – but from that point forward, he devoted the rest of his life to writing a masterpiece. The result, the novel In Search of Lost Time, published in seven volumes from 1913 to 1927, stands as one of the supreme achievements of Modernism or any other period. Written in Proust’s inimitable, discursive prose, the novel recreates the memories of a lifetime, infusing a search for the past with an almost mystical belief in the power of beauty and experience to be ever-present, alive, unified, and universally important. Drawing upon everything in Proust’s life, from his childhood bedtime kisses from his mother to his travels through high Parisian society, the towering novel stands alone for its deep artistic and psychological insights.

Help support the show at patreon.com/literature or historyofliterature.com/shop. (We appreciate it!) Find out more at historyofliterature.com, jackewilson.com, or by following Jacke and Mike on Twitter at @thejackewilson and @literatureSC. Or send an email to jackewilsonauthor@gmail.com.

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