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Marcel Proust: A Very Short Introduction [#754]
Marcel Proust: A Very Short Introduction [#754]
  • Offers a concise, clear, comprehensive introduction to Proust's magnum opus In Search of Lost Time
  • Connects Proust's writing to questions we all have reason to care about: Who am I really? What can I know? How can I know other people? Is knowledge always desirable? How can I find (real, secular) magic in my life?
  • Helps the reader get the most out of reading Proust's often intimidating novel

100 years after Proust's death, In Search of Lost Time remains one of the greatest works in World Literature. At 3,000 pages, it can be intimidating to some. This short volume invites first-time readers and veterans alike to view the novel in a new way.
Marcel Proust (1871-1922) was arguably France's best-known literary writer. He was the author of stories, essays, translations, and a 3,000-page novel, In Search of Lost Time (1913-27).
This book is a brief guide to Proust's magnum opus in which Joshua Landy invites the reader to view the novel as a single quest--a quest for purpose, enchantment, identity, connection, and belonging--through the novel's fascinating treatments of memory, society, art, same-sex desire, knowledge, self-understanding, self-fashioning, and the unconscious mind.
Landy also shows why the questions Proust raises are important and exciting for all of us: how we can feel at home in the world; how we can find genuine connection with other human beings; how we can find enchantment in a world without God; how art can transform our lives; whether an artist's life can shed light on their work; what we can know about the world, other people, and ourselves; when not knowing is better than knowing; how sexual orientation affects questions of connection and identity; who we are, deep down; what memory tells us about our inner world; why it might be good to think of our life as a story; how we can feel like a single, unified person when we are torn apart by change and competing desires. Finally, Landy suggests why it's worthwhile to read the novel itself-how the long, difficult, but joyous experience of making it through 3,000 pages of prose can be transformative for our minds and souls.


List of illustrations
List of abbreviations

1. Art and life
2. Plot and character
3. Memories and impressions
4. Love and sex
5. Knowledge and ignorance
6. Inclusion and exclusion
7. Art and artists
8. Intellect and intuition
9. True self and total self
10. Why a novel?
A postscript for diehard proust fans: does the narrator write in search of lost time?
Further reading

About the author: 

Joshua Landy is the Andrew B. Hammond Professor of French and Professor of Comparative Literature at Stanford University, where he co-directs the Initiative in Philosophy and Literature and co-hosts the nationally syndicated public radio program "Philosophy Talk." His books include Philosophy as Fiction: Self, Deception, and Knowledge in Proust (Oxford, 2004), How to Do Things With Fictions (Oxford, 2012), and (as coeditor) The Re-Enchantment of the World: Secular Magic in a Rational Age (2009).

"Accessible and amusing, this is a must-read for anyone who has considered reading Proust but was too afraid to try." -- Publishers Weekly, Publishers Weekly Review

Product details

ISBN : 9780197586556

Joshua Landy
160 Pages
111 x 174 mm
Pub date
Jul 2024
Very Short Introductions
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Marcel Proust: A Very Short Introduction [#754]

Marcel Proust: A Very Short Introduction [#754]

Marcel Proust: A Very Short Introduction [#754]