21.7.13

Adam Watt, Marcel Proust

A new title from Reaktion Books
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From Reaktion Books (via David Houston Jones):

Marcel Proust (1871–1922) spent fourteen years creating A la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time), his magnum opus. Only four of its seven volumes had been published by the time Proust died; he did not live to see it become one of the most important literary works of the twentieth century. Today it still attracts widespread critical attention and Proust’s habits, health and sexual preferences continue to absorb and fascinate his commentators and devotees. This book explores the life and work of a writer whose every experience was stored, dissected and redeployed within a vast work of fiction.

Adam Watt considers Proust’s early years of personal and aesthetic experiment and demonstrates how episodes from his childhood and his family life became material for his novel. An engaging account is provided of two central, intertwined processes taking place in Proust’s life against the vibrant backdrop of belle époque Paris and the First World War: the progress of In Search of Lost Time and the simultaneous decline of its author. Proust’s own periods of ill health and isolation nourished his narrator’s thoughts on desire, love and loss, as well as his contemplation of beauty, memory, ageing and the possibility of happiness.

Drawing on Proust’s vast correspondence, the accounts of his contemporaries and the insights of recent scholarship, Marcel Proust offers a rewarding new portrait of the novelist once described as ‘the most complicated man in Paris’. [Read More]

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