The 14-Minute Marcel Proust


In search of Proust

Marcel Proust: A Life (William Carter)

What's with Proust's biographers, that they can only write thousand-page tomes? This is a re-issue of Prof. Carter's "impeccably researched and well-paced narrative," to accompany the the Yale University Press update of C. K. Scott Moncrieff's translation of Swann's Way. I'm in the process of reading the latter, so it will be some time before I get to the biography! Available from in paperback and as a Kindle e-book.

Proust: The Search (Benjamin Taylor)

Well, here it is! In a mere 168 pages, Mr Taylor captures the essence of Proust, the Search, and the France of Dreyfus and Verdun. And he has a nice sense of humor. When the English novelist Sydney Schiff hurried to Proust's side to complain that Scott Moncrieff's titles were all wrong, Mr. Taylor adds in parentheses: "The more one knows of Sydney Schiff, the more one dislikes him." I enjoyed every minute of this book, and I recommend it highly: At Amazon and elsewhere, in hardcover, paperback, and digital editions.

Proust in Love (William Carter)

One of the neatest ways to write about someone's life (or to read about it, for that matter) is to concentrate on one aspect of it, and what neater aspect than his sex life? This is especially true of M and Mme Proust's little boy, who was about as randy a young man as any we know about. Proust wrote obsessively about homosexual love while presenting his narrator as standard issue, more or less, and while assuring his trusted contemporaries he was bisexual. Prof. Carter does a nice job of sorting this out. In hardcover, paperback, and Kindle editions.

Proust Among the Stars (Malcolm Bowie)

The Times Literary Supplement calls this "The best general study of Proust's 3,000-page work." I'm not so sure of that, but it does make for interesting though laborious reading. There are seven major essays, organized around the themes of Self, Time, Art, Politics, Morality, Sex, and Death (come to think] of it, we might say the same about our own lives!). Perhaps surprising, Time at 38 pages is one of the shorter essay. Available from in paperback and used hardcover editions.

Proust: A Visual Companion Paintings in Proust: A Visual Companion to In Search of Lost Time (Eric Karpeles)

I wish I'd had this handsome book on the bedside table while reading the Enright translations last winter! On the other hand, it's a pleasant way to review the book from another perspective. (Proust's first volume seems to be especially painter-rich, while The Fugitive looks to be especially thin.) Definitely a volume to add to your shelf of Proustiana. On

Tadie: Marcel Proust: A Life Marcel Proust: A Life (Jean-Yves Tadie)

Proustian in its size (the paperback weighs in at 2.5 pounds) and often in its prose, and requiring a Proustian commitment of time, this is without question the biography. I recommend it to anyone who has read and enjoyed the novel, or who like me is re-reading it. Especially after about page 500, it also serves as a field guide to In Search of Lost Time. Reading will go faster if you ignore most of the footnotes! On

Penguin Lives: Marcel Proust
Marcel Proust
(Edmund White)

Professor White's neat little biography contains just about everything the casual reader would want to know about the writer, his loves, and his writings. This is the book to read before you attempt Swann's Way. Also available as a Kindle e-book. On

Shattuck: Proust's Way
Proust's Way: A Field Guide to In Search of Lost Time
(Roger Shattuck)

Lots of good stuff here, if you're resolute enough to hack through the academic prose and scattergun organization. (It appears to be a pastiche—to use one of Prof. Shattuck's favorite words—of his previously published writings on Proust.) On

Marcel Proust's Search for Lost Time: A Reader's Guide to the Remembrance of Things Past
(Patrick Alexander)

Unfortunately keyed to the obsolescent 1980s Vintage edition, this is nevertheless the excellent "field guide" that Mr. Shattuck hoped to produce. Also available as a Kindle e-book. On

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Poland's Daughter

1. Swann's Way | 2. In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower | 3. The Guermantes Way | 4. Sodom and Gomorrah | 5. The Prisoner | 6. The Fugitive | 7. Finding Time Again

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Posted January 2017. ©2006-2017 Fallbook Press; all rights reserved.