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.
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Swann's wayUser Review - Book Verdict
"For a long time, I went to bed early" in order to enjoy the manifold pleasures of reading Davis's excellent new translation of Swann's Way. In October 2002, Penguin's "Modern Classics" series published a complete new translation of In Search of Lost Time/A la recherche du temps perdu in Britain to mainly favorable reviews. (The seven-year project required seven translators, one for each volume. The next three are forthcoming here; the final three cannot be released until 2019 owing to copyright restrictions.) Viking's American edition includes minor changes in punctuation and spelling; non-English quotations are translated in the main text, with the version originale relegated to the unobtrusive, and generally helpful, endnotes. Most important, the Viking edition is based on the massive scholarship of the Pleiade edition released by Gallimard in 1987. Published in 1913, Du cut de chez Swann was first translated into English in 1922-the annus mirabilis of High Modernism. C.K. Scott Moncrieff's justly famous rendering was hailed as a literary landmark but contained many misreadings, grammatical mistakes, superfluous embellishments, and Anglicisms (not to mention polite Edwardian euphemisms for the naughty bits). Most notably, Moncrieff's series title, Remembrance of Things Past, was borrowed from Shakespeare's Sonnet 30, thereby losing the nuance of the original phrasing. These infidelities were revised by Terrence Kilmartin in the Random House 1981 edition and again by D.J. Enright in 1992. Davis has published four novels and many well-received translations and is especially noted for her translations of Maurice Blanchot. In her introduction to this new rendering of Swann's Way, she states that she has "attempted to stay as close to Proust's own style as possible, in its every aspect, without straying into an English that's too foreign or awkward." Given the utter originality and delectable complexity of Proust's labyrinthian prose, the task of the translator is especially arduous. Davis's choices with respect to diction, syntax, phrasing, and punctuation (was Proust really too stingy with commas?) are largely successful in giving us a more direct and accessible English version of the plenitude of acute psychological, sociological, and philosophical insights one garners by reading Proust's masterwork: "our social personality is a creation of the minds of others." Will the Viking edition in the fullness of time replace Moncrieff's? Those who might cleave to what was for 80 years the "standard translation" might consider that translations, like memories, "are as fleeting, alas, as the years." Enthusiastically recommended for all libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/03.]-Mark Andr Singer, Mechanics' Inst. Lib., San Francisco ...