On Marcel Proust's "In Search of Lost Time"


The French writer Marcel Proust was fascinated by life. But he was even more interested in how we perceive life. In 1908, when he was in his late 30s, he began to write a novel that explored themes of memory, identity, and the passage of time. This project consumed him until he died in 1922. By the end, his novel came out at more than 1.2 million words—that’s 3,000-4,000 pages depending on the edition. Much of the work was inspired directly from his life, sometimes memories of the past, and sometimes experiences that were unfolding in the present. In English, the novel goes by the title In Search of Lost Time. Although it does have a plot of sorts, this book is more about ideas, and less about a storyline. Elisabeth Ladenson is Professor of French and Comparative Literature and General Editor of Romanic Review at Columbia University. She is the author of Proust’s Lesbianism. Michael Lucey is Professor in the French department at University of California Berkeley. He is the author of What Proust Heard: Novels and the Ethnography of Talk See more information on our website, WritLarge.fm.

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