Swann's Way

Front Cover
Echo Library, 2006 - Fiction - 332 pages
32 Reviews
1928. Introduction by Lewis Galantiere. Swann's Way is the first volume of Proust's life work, Remembrance of Things Past. Independently it is a unique and stimulating novel, but in a larger sense, it is an overture to a magnificent symphony, announcing its theme and mood and bringing into being its empire and notable character creations. The narrator is presumably the young Marcel Proust who divides his recollections between his boyhood at his family's country house at Combray and his parents' friend Charles Swann, an art connoisseur. In fact, the path that passes Swann's house, being one of two ways the narrator's family likes to take when they go for walks, gives the book its title. Proust uses the theme of unrequited love to draw a parallel between his young narrator's infatuation with Swann's red-haired daughter Gilberte and Swann's turbulent affair with a woman named Odette de Crecy. Proust's elegant prose makes this a classic work of art.

What people are saying - Write a review

User ratings

5 stars
4 stars
3 stars
2 stars
1 star

The prose is lyrical with amazing word selection. - LibraryThing
The writing in this book is absolutely exquisite. - LibraryThing
Proust isn't an elitist writer, anyone can read this. - LibraryThing

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - ursula - LibraryThing

I'm conflicted. I started off thinking that the writing was lovely and evocative, although the young narrator perhaps provides detail that one might politely call "a little excessive" about such ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - thatotter - LibraryThing

Was this ever a slow, difficult read! Though I typically become very absorbed in novels (even lousy or trashy ones), I never managed to truly get into this. I love Lydia Davis's other work, so I don't ... Read full review

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2006)

Proust is one of the seminal figures in modern literature, matched only in stature by Joyce, Woolf, Mann and Kafka. By the last decade of the 19th century, the charming and ambitious Proust, born into a wealthy bourgeois family, was already a famous Paris socialite who attended the most fashionable salons of the day. The death of his parents in the early years of the 20th century, coupled with his own increasingly ill health, made of Proust a recluse who confined himself to his cork-lined bedroom on the Boulevard Haussmann. There he concentrated on the composition of his great masterpiece, Remembrance of Things Past (1913-27). In recent years, it was discovered that he had already prepared a first draft of the work in the 1890s in Jean Santeuil, which was only published posthumously in 1952. Remembrance of Things Past resists summary. Seeming at turns to be fiction, autobiography, and essay, Remembrance is a vast meditation on the relationship between time, memory, and art. In it the narrator, who bears the same first name as the author, attempts to reconstruct his life from early childhood to middle age. In the process, he surveys French society at the turn of the century and describes the eventual decline of the aristocracy in the face of the rising middle class. The process of reconstruction of Marcel's past life is made possible by the psychological device of involuntary memory; according to this theory, all of our past lies hidden within us only to be rediscovered and brought to the surface by some unexpected sense perception. In the final volume of the work, the narrator, who has succeeded in recapturing his past, resolves to preserve it through the Work of Art, his novel. He died of pneumonia and a pulmonary abscess in 1922. He was buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

Bibliographic information