Swann's Way. In Search of Lost Time by Marcel Proust. - HTML preview

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Swann's Way

Proust, Marcel

(Translator: C. K. Scott Moncrieff)

Published: 1922

Categorie(s): Fiction

Source: http://gutenberg.net.au


About Proust:

Proust was born in Auteuil (the southern sector of Paris's then-rustic

16th arrondissement) at the home of his great-uncle, two months after

the Treaty of Frankfurt formally ended the Franco-Prussian War. His

birth took place during the violence that surrounded the suppression of

the Paris Commune, and his childhood corresponds with the consolida-

tion of the French Third Republic. Much of Remembrance of Things Past

concerns the vast changes, most particularly the decline of the aristo-

cracy and the rise of the middle classes, that occurred in France during

the Third Republic and the fin de siècle. Proust's father, Achille Adrien

Proust, was a famous doctor and epidemiologist, responsible for study-

ing and attempting to remedy the causes and movements of cholera

through Europe and Asia; he was the author of many articles and books

on medicine and hygiene. Proust's mother, Jeanne Clémence Weil, was

the daughter of a rich and cultured Jewish family. Her father was a

banker. She was highly literate and well-read. Her letters demonstrate a

well-developed sense of humour, and her command of English was suf-

ficient for her to provide the necessary impetus to her son's later at-

tempts to translate John Ruskin. By the age of nine, Proust had had his

first serious asthma attack, and thereafter he was considered by himself,

his family and his friends as a sickly child. Proust spent long holidays in

the village of Illiers. This village, combined with aspects of the time he

spent at his great-uncle's house in Auteuil became the model for the fic-

tional town of Combray, where some of the most important scenes of Re-

membrance of Things Past take place. (Illiers was renamed Illiers-Com-

bray on the occasion of the Proust centenary celebrations). Despite his

poor health, Proust served a year (1889–90) as an enlisted man in the

French army, stationed at Coligny Caserne in Orléans, an experience that

provided a lengthy episode in The Guermantes Way, volume three of his

novel. As a young man Proust was a dilettante and a successful social

climber, whose aspirations as a writer were hampered by his lack of ap-

plication to work. His reputation from this period, as a snob and an aes-

thete, contributed to his later troubles with getting Swann's Way, the first

volume of his huge novel, published in 1913. Proust was quite close to

his mother, despite her wishes that he apply himself to some sort of use-

ful work. In order to appease his father, who insisted that he pursue a ca-

reer, Proust obtained a volunteer position at the Bibliothèque Mazarine

in the summer of 1896. After exerting considerable effort, he obtained a

sick leave which was to extend for several years until he was considered

to have resigned. He never worked at his job, and he did not move from


his parents' apartment until after both were dead (Tadié). Proust, who

was homosexual, was one of the first European writers to treat homo-

sexuality at length. His life and family circle changed considerably

between 1900 and 1905. In February 1903, Proust's brother Robert mar-

ried and left the family apartment. His father died in September of the

same year. Finally, and most crushingly, Proust's beloved mother died in

September 1905. In addition to the grief that attended his mother's death,

Proust's life changed due to a very large inheritance he received (in

today's terms, a principal of about $6 million, with a monthly income of

about $15,000). Despite this windfall, his health throughout this period

continued to deteriorate. Proust spent the last three years of his life

largely confined to his cork-lined bedroom, sleeping during the day and

working at night to complete his novel. He died in 1922 and is buried in

the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Source: Wikipedia

Also available on Feedbooks for Proust:

Cities of the Plain (Sodom and Gomorrah) (1927)

Within A Budding Grove (1924)

The Captive (1929)

Time Regained (1931)

The Guermantes Way (1925)

The Sweet Cheat Gone (The Fugitive) (1930) Copyright: This work is available for countries where copyright is

Life+70 and in the USA.

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