In this opening volume of Proust's great novel, the narrator seems at first to be launching a fairly traditional life-story. But after the prelude the narrator travels backwards rather than forwards in time, in order to tell the story of a love affair that had taken place before his own birth. Swann's jealous love for Odette, together with the comic antics of the Verdurins and the adoring members of their 'little clan', provide a prophetic model of the narrator's own love-relationships and peregrinations in salon society. All Proust's great themes - time and memory, love and loss, art and the artistic vocation - are here in kernel form.
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“If you’ve never got round to reading this famous philosophical Frenchman, Simon Callow’s lively narration is an excellent introduction to Proust.”
Daily Mail 31/1/97
'I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate than a shudder ran through my whole body…An exquisite sensation had invaded my senses…I decided to attempt to make it reappear. I retrace my thoughts to the moment at which I drank the first spoonful of tea…And suddenly the memory returns.'
Published in 1913, 'Swann's Way' is the first of the seven parts of Marcel Proust's masterpiece, 'Remembrance of Things Past', one of the major achievements of twentieth-century literature. The narrator discovers that an involuntary memory triggered by some casual action – say, eating a madeleine cake or stooping to remove one's shoe – has the power to recover large areas of the past; and he sets out to resurrect his past life and the people and places that most affected him. 'Swann's Way', which is offered here in the celebrated translation by C. K. Scott Moncrieff, focuses particularly on Charles Swann and his love for Odette.
"I don't think there has ever been in the whole of literature such an example of the power of analysis."
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Book Description HarperCollins UK, 1996. Audio Cassette. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 0001052136