Swann's Way by Marcel Proust. New York. 2003. Viking Press. Newly Translated from the French by Lydia Davis. 468 pages. September 2003. hardcover. Jacket design by Mark Melnick.Jacket photograph by Ralph Gibson, of a piece from the collection of Charles Fermin-Didot, Paris. 067003245x.




   ‘MY GREATEST ADVENTURE WAS UNDOUBTEDLY PROUST. WHAT IS THERE LEFT TO WRITE AFTER THAT?’ - VIRGINIA WOOLF. Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time is one of the most entertaining reading experiences in any language and arguably the finest novel of the twentieth century. But since its original prewar translation there has been no completely new version in English. Now, Viking Press brings Proust’s masterpiece to new audiences throughout the world, beginning with Lydia Davis’s internationally acclaimed translation of the first volume, SWANN’S WAY. SWANN’S WAY is one of the preeminent novels of childhood - a sensitive boy’s impressions of his family and neighbors, all brought dazzlingly back to life years later by the famous taste of a madeleine. It also enfolds the short novel ‘Swann in Love,’ an incomparable study of sexual jealousy that becomes a crucial part of the vast, unfolding structure of In Search of Lost Time. The first volume of the work that established Proust as one of the finest voices of the modern age - satirical, skeptical, confiding, and endlessly varied in his response to the human condition - SWANN’S WAY also stands on its own as a perfect rendering of a life in art, of the past recreated through memory.


  MARCEL PROUST was born in Auteuil in 1871. In his twenties, following a year in the army, he became a conspicuous society figure, frequenting the most fashionable Paris salons of the day. After 1899, however, his chronic asthma, the death of his parents, and his growing disillusionment with humanity caused him to lead an increasingly retired life. From 1907 on, he rarely emerged from a cork-lined room in his apartment on boulevard Haussmann. There he insulated himself against the distractions of city life and the effects of trees and flowers-though he loved them, they brought on his attacks of asthma. He slept by day and worked by night, writing letters and devoting himself to the completion of In Search of Lost Time. He died in 1922.


Davis Lydia  LYDIA DAVIS is the author of one novel and three volumes of short fiction, the latest of which is Samuel Johnson is Indignant. She is also the translator of numerous works from the French by, among others, Maurice Blanchot, Pierre Jean Jouve, and Michel Leiris, and was recently named a Chevalier of the Order of Arts and Letters by the French government.



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