Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: In Search of Lost Time: Am I wasting my time?

  1. #1
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Dec 2016
    Posts
    1

    In Search of Lost Time: Am I wasting my time?

    So I been reading the book for a while now and I'm two volumes in, about to start The Guermantes Way. But whenever I read it I just feel... dumb. Like it's not hard to read, I can follow it well, I really like his prose, I do find it very interesting... but I feel like there's something I'm just not... getting. Maybe its all the legendary status surrounding the book... I feel like I'm overlooking some obscure French philosophical idea. Or missing something central... completely. Should I just put it down, and pick it up again when I'm smarter?
    Last edited by hcastex; 12-19-2016 at 07:47 PM. Reason: clarity

  2. #2
    Maybe YesNo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    Near Chicago, Illinois USA
    Posts
    9,420
    Blog Entries
    2
    I have not read "The Guermantes Way". In fact, I have never heard of the book before, and so I looked it up. It appears to be Proust's "In Search of Lost Time". That makes sense since it was part of your thread's title. However, I have not read that either.

    In general, though, I don't expect to finish the books I start reading. There is always something to move onto. And there are always books that I want to re-read.

    You are welcome to discuss the book here. I might be tempted to read some of it.

  3. #3
    Internal nebulae TheFifthElement's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    3,067
    Blog Entries
    176
    I tried to read In Search of Lost Time a couple of years back and managed to get to the end of Swann's Way/The Way by Swann's before giving in. You have my admiration to have made it as far as Guermantes Way! I realised a couple of things about Proust during my reading:
    1) the translation is critical. The first translation I tried was tedious beyond belief (C.K. Scott Montcrieff, D J Enright, Terence Kilmartin); the second by Lydia Davis was much easier to manage. Much will be down to preference, but the first version, for me, just wouldn't go in at all. Even so, I didn't want to continue on past Swann's Way/The Way by Swann's.
    2) I think you really need to be in the right frame of mind - I guess you need to be prepared to read slowly and repetitively and take the work in the sedate, meditative way in which it is written. I did not have the patience, but I reckon perhaps when I'm in my 60s and am prepared to spend a good 6-9 months on it, then I'd try it again.

    I'm not sure it's smartness that's needed, more receptiveness. Perhaps you're not receptive to it now, and perhaps you never will be. Maybe move on to something else.
    Want to know what I think about books? Check out https://biisbooks.wordpress.com/

  4. #4
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    97
    I definitely want to read this, but I can imagine it's a very tough read. I would say don't force yourself to read it too fast. And really no books are "great" if you have to understand complex philosophy, or any other esoteric subject, to "get" the book, but I can imagine you can read In Search of Lost Time without that knowledge and still enjoy it for what it is, supposedly one of the deepest penetrations into human life and character yet penned. Again, I haven't read it, so I can't say much, but when I do read it, I don't think I'm going to do any "special research" or preparation for it.

    As someone else said, I imagine the translation is very important to this. I guess compare your translation to the other one(s) (I don't think there's TOO many English translations of Proust, but there's a few).

    Yeah, I think discussing the book on here might motivate you, as another poster said, but honestly, this forum is so slow. Does anyone else know of other literature forums online, because really it seems like almost no one on here posts?

  5. #5
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Nov 2016
    Posts
    56
    Quote Originally Posted by Vladimir777 View Post
    I definitely want to read this, but I can imagine it's a very tough read. I would say don't force yourself to read it too fast. And really no books are "great" if you have to understand complex philosophy, or any other esoteric subject, to "get" the book, but I can imagine you can read In Search of Lost Time without that knowledge and still enjoy it for what it is, supposedly one of the deepest penetrations into human life and character yet penned. Again, I haven't read it, so I can't say much, but when I do read it, I don't think I'm going to do any "special research" or preparation for it.
    Why wouldn't a book be great because it requires knowledge of an "esoteric" subject to understand?

  6. #6
    Registered User
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Posts
    97
    Quote Originally Posted by Leopard View Post
    Why wouldn't a book be great because it requires knowledge of an "esoteric" subject to understand?
    To me, if it's nonfiction, yes, I get if you need special knowledge.

    For fiction, I just don't think a work would last through the years if you NEED esoteric knowledge to get anything approaching its full value from it. I also don't think it would speak to people from all different walks of life and personal experiences, which, to me, is what helps qualify a book as great.

Similar Threads

  1. Best translation of IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME?
    By husker du in forum General Literature
    Replies: 45
    Last Post: 03-27-2015, 09:03 PM
  2. Replies: 4
    Last Post: 09-22-2014, 05:06 PM
  3. Has Anyone Here Read All of In Search Of Lost Time?
    By cyberbob in forum General Literature
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 07-06-2012, 01:47 PM
  4. Marcel Proust - In Search of Lost Time
    By PrinceAndrei in forum General Literature
    Replies: 31
    Last Post: 07-30-2010, 11:12 AM
  5. Which version of In Search of Lost Time?
    By John Goodman in forum General Literature
    Replies: 12
    Last Post: 02-02-2009, 05:10 AM

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •