A Note on Proust’s In Search of Lost Time

I’ve started to pull together some of my general thoughts on Proust’s novel.  I have explained to some that my interest was in the fiction, not its sources. And in how structure and narrative were handled.

Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust

Proust’s novel is very long, sometimes unwieldy, sometimes plodding, but overall is fascinating. Like any long work, such as Wagner’s Ring, there are sections that are dull. I think, for instance, that the roman d’Albertine is too long and somewhat overdrawn. Even Tolstoy has weak moments in War and Peace, which, however, at a third of the length of Proust’s novel, is often nearly twice as interesting. And I think many of Dickens’s novels have better characterization and social commentary.

Nonetheless, In Search of Lost Time comes to rest with a profundity of expression that can also be found elsewhere in art, and, in doing so, allies itself with greatness. Even so, I would not characterize myself as a Proust lover but more an admirer. I’m not even that fond of madeleines, although I have had ones that were excellent from the Moroccan chef who runs a restaurant in the neighbourhood.

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