Item description for Within a Budding Grove (Remembrance of Things Past, 4) (Pt. 2) by Marcel Proust...
First published in 1919, Within a Budding Grove was awarded the Prix Goncourt, bringing the author immediate fame. In this second volume of In Search of Lost Time, the narrator turns from the childhood reminiscences of Swann's Way to memories of his adolescence. Having gradually become indifferent to Swann's daughter Gilberte, the narrator visits the seaside resort of Balbec with his grandmother and meets a new object of attention---Albertine, "a girl with brilliant, laughing eyes and plump, matt cheeks."
For this authoritative English-language edition, D. J. Enright has revised the late Terence Kilmartin's acclaimed reworking of C. K. Scott Moncrieff's translation to take into account the new definitive French editions of la recherch du temps perdu (the final volume of these new editions was published by the Bibliothque de la Pliade in 1989).
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Marcel Proust was born in the Parisian suburb of Auteuil on July 10, 1871. His father, Adrien Proust, was a doctor celebrated for his work in epidemiology; his mother, Jeanne Weil, was a stockbroker's daughter of Jewish descent. He lived as achild in the family home on Boulevard Malesherbes in Paris, but spent vacations with his aunt and uncle in the town of Illiers near Chartres, where the Prousts had lived for generations and which became the model for the Combray of his great novel. (In recent years it was officially renamed Illiers-Combray.) Sickly from birth, Marcel was subject from the age of nine to violent attacks of asthma, and although he did a year of military service as a young man and studied law and political science, his invalidism disqualified him from an active professional life. During the 1890s Proust contributed sketches to Le Figaro and to a short-lived magazine, Le Banquet, founded by some of his school friends in 1892. Pleasures and Days, a collection of his stories, essays, and poems, was published in 1896. In his youth Proust led an active social life, penetrating the highest circles of wealth and aristocracy. Artistically and intellectually, his influences included the aesthetic criticism of John Ruskin, the philosophy of Henri Bergson, the music of Wagner, and the fiction of Anatole France (on whom he modeled his character Bergotte). An affair begun in 1894 with the composer and pianist Reynaldo Hahn marked the beginning of Proust's often anguished acknowledgment of his homosexuality. Following the publication of Emile Zola's letter in defense of Colonel Dreyfus in 1898, Proust became 'the first Dreyfusard, ' as he later phrased it. By the time Dreyfus was finally vindicated of charges of treason, Proust's social circles had been torn apart by the anti-Semitism and political hatreds stirred up by the affair. Proust was very attached to his mother, and after her death in 1905 he spent some time in a sanitorium. His health worsened progressively, and he withdrew almost completely from society and devoted himself to writing. Proust's early work had done nothing to establish his reputation as a major writer. In an unfinished novel, Jean Santeuil (not published until 1952), he laid some of the groundwork for In Search of Lost Time, and in Against Sainte-Beuve, written in 1908-09, he stated as his aesthetic credo: 'A book is the product of a different self from the one we manifest in our habits, in society, in our vices. If we mean to try to understand this self it is only in our inmost depths, by endeavoring to reconstruct it there, that the quest can be achieved.' He appears to have begun work on his long masterpiece sometime around 1908, and the first volume, Swann's Way, was published in 1913.
In 1919 the second volume, Within a Budding Grove, won the Goncourt Prize, bringing Proust great and instantaneous fame. Two subsequent sections--The Guermantes Way (1920-21) and Sodom and Gomorrah (1921)--appeared in his lifetime. (Of the depiction of homosexuality in the latter, his friend Andre Gide complained: 'Will you never portray this form of Eros for us in the aspect of youth and beauty?') The remaining volumes were published following Proust's death on November 18, 1922: The Captive in 1923, The Fugitive in 1925, and Time Regained in 1927."
Marcel Proust lived in Auteuil. Marcel Proust was born in 1871 and died in 1922.
Marcel Proust has published or released items in the following series...
Reviews - What do customers think about Within a Budding Grove (Remembrance of Things Past, 4) (Pt. 2)?
Perception and cognition Sep 12, 2006
I cannot imagine trying to read Proust's Everest of a novel until I've had enough life experience to be able to identify with his insights. How on earth was a man who died young and was confined to a bed for so many years able to learn so much about life and common human experience, emotion and perception? I don't know how, but I thank God that he was.
For modern readers, Proust is definitely an acquired taste that rewards patience. I never thought reading the works of one author would make those of others seem so much easier to read. But such is the case with Proust. Nevertheless, one shouldn't regard his writing as therapy or medicine; it may read like self help at times, with its frequent use of the first-person plural, but it is a story first of all. His writing is just more detailed and insightful than that of all but a handful of modern novelists.
Within a Budding Grove is a primer on patience and perception, one that will probably make you a better reader, perhaps a better writer, and certainly a more interesting human being. Struggle on patiently. You will get used to the labyrinthine sentences, paragraphs that run on for pages, and gargantuan chapters (if they can be called that) that don't really begin or end anywhere tidy. Eventually, you will likely come to enjoy it.
My only criticism: at times one does get annoyed by the slow pacing. For instance, I knew that this is the volume that introduces the reader to Albertine. But it did take about 600 pages for the narrator to meet her! That said, there are plenty of tasty morsels along the way. Read it, not so much for the simple story or the minutely detailed descriptions, but for the numerous insights and the astounding wisdom.
In Search of Lost Time Volume II Within a Budding Grove (Modern Library Classics) Mar 4, 2006
Montcrief's translation, is the quintisential Proust. The, beautiful, florid prose is reminiscent of a time and a place that no longer exists, and captures the French aristocracy in the advent of WWI -- full of old-world trappings, yet abounding with subtle reminders of the globalization that was to follow. Proust's style and vision are directed admirably towards his artistic goal of appreciating art through sublimation, and express his idea that a true understanding of art comes first through appreciation, and then expression through a medium. This volume is full of Proust's own philosiphies on art, life and the people who abound in both. His observations, pointed and amusing, keep this volume relevant. Considering the wave of expatriate and existentialist writers who propogated Paris after the Great War, this book is truly the last in a line of works that view life in a grand, sweeping and elegant manner. Within a Budding Grove brought Proust fame and acclaim in his own time, and in ours can be seen as a masterpiece reflecting a time past, yet glimsping assiduously into the future. For those "in search of lost time" this is truly a great read.
beautiful Dec 21, 2005
How can anyone summarize even a single volume of Proust's massive six volume novel? Within a Budding Grove (sometimes translated as In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower) is the second installment of In Search of Last Time. We find the narrator perhaps marginally older on vacation with his grandmother living in a luxurious hotel in Balbec off the coast. This volume, paired with the first (Swann's Way), is really the introduction to the work entire if you can believe it. In it, the narrator perhaps matures slightly; he cultivates his keen awareness of art, meets new people, and ultimately falls out of love with Gilberte and falls in love with Albertine. His relationship with his grandmother is certainly expanded, and the reader comes to learn that the narrator is not merely motivated by a trivial pursuit of pleasure and bourgeois charm. He is in fact, a truly full human being, complete with fear, love, desire, and ambition. He meets one of my favorite characters in the whole book, the impressionist painter Elstir, a character clearly based Monet, Manet, Pissaro, and others. He introduces the narrator to Albertine through his paintings, and teaches him about the joys of life and art. There are some passages in this section of the book (the latter half) which I just can't resist from quoting,
"I could never have believed that I should now be dreaming of a sea which was no more than a whitish vapour that had lost both consistency and colour. But of such a sea Elstir, like the people who sat musing on board those vessels drowsy with the heat, had felt so intensely the enchantment that he had succeeded in transcribing, in fixing for all time upon his canvas, the imperceptible ebb of the tide, the throb of one happy moment; and at the sight of this magic portrait, one could think of nothing else than to range the wide world, seeking to recapture the vanished day in its instantaneous, slumbering beauty" (pg. 657).
also (how French is this?),
"For a convalescent who rests all day long in the flower-garden or an orchard, a scent of flowers or fruit does not more completely pervade the thousand trifles that compose his idle hours than did for me that colour, that fragrance in search of which my eyes kept straying towards the girls, and the sweetness of which finally became incorporated in me. So it is that grapes sweeten in the sun. And by their slow continuity these simple little games had gradually wrought in me also, as in those who do nothing else all day but lie outstretched by the sea, breathing the salt air and sunning themselves, a relaxation, a blissful smile, a vague dazzlement that had spread from brain to eyes" (pg. 669).
I certainly cannot add any insights into the greatness and profundity of this work which has not already been said by Edmund Wilson or Vladimir Nabokov. Within a Budding Grove is a deeply felt, beautiful and fleeting segment of one of the finest novels of the last century, I urge you to read it.
PROUST: NEED ONE SAY MORE? Aug 28, 2005
This is a great copy of Vol. 2 of A la recherche du temps perdu [In Search of Lost Time] or [Delving into Things Past]. Each volume in the septrology may be read individually as an independent novel. This is, of course, the very best translation available in English; probably the very best that will ever be available in English: certainly the next best thing to reading the original French.
Note: Proust is not quick reading, and one who tries to read too quickly will just as quickly lose the tread of the narrative. This text has its own time scale, and the reader must adjust his/herself to the text--not the other way around. In this stream of consciousness narrative, the narrator (/author) digresses as he speaks (/thinks): he digresses, digresses, digresses; and then, he returns, returns, returns to the point where he began. One has to follow his line of thought: this is the art and beauty of the text.
Proust's achievement is one of the greatest edifices of Western art, perhaps comparable only to Wagner's Ring cycle.
Proust Paradox Jun 3, 2005
It's my experience, reading this novel, to be perpetually grateful for the miracle of Proust, grateful, too, that he waited until his maturity to write; as someone who's spent time in writing workshops, I can only imagine the dissipation of his energies into anemic prototypes had he been persuaded to publish prematurely. Lovingly written, every word endowed with love of life and maturity's distillation of life experience, it is a novel (which reads like a memoir) of a life devoted to the connoisseur's pursuit of pleasure-how can that not alienate? Proust is consciously writing for an elite of mental or temperamental sympathy. To say that reading Proust has helped me through hard times is true-yet how can I-someone who has, to paraphrase a T-shirt I saw recently, a blackbelt in keepin' it real-not resent a courtesan with three ladies to aid in her toilette-however tenderly rendered?
The mature Proust's vision of love-in this novel at least-is adolescent and self-absorbed, and there is no sense of a selfless or mature love, such as that of a parent for a child, which contains a dying to self as opposed to an expansion of self. (One thinks here of the authorial contempt for the too-giving parent, Vinteuil.) I pity Marcel: to lose oneself-the burden-to lose time-sometimes-is very refreshing indeed. Mired in the adolescent and egotistical point-of-view, without benefit of even the illusory counterpoint of an adult lover's (Swann's) point-of-view, the narrative does sometimes suffer from too much Marcel. Coddled, effete, he finely calibrates the shades of disillusionment that possession as opposed to reflection offers-the "psychological impossibility of happiness"-after having his wildest fantasies (Berma! Bergotte! Balbec!) fulfilled time and again. And he universalizes his singular temperamental trait, that inability to live in the moment.
Proust is only too conscious of his weaknesses, and as a result, we get his poetics: "I am aware that this is to blaspheme against the sacrosanct school of what these gentlemen term `Art for Art's sake,' but at this period of history there are tasks more urgent than the manipulation of words in a harmonious manner," Norpois says, and one is laughing out loud with pleasure at the dissonance between Marcel's lofty musings on Berma and the cold spiced beef jiggling in its cubes of aspic, the delicious conflict of temperaments.
He gives me back to myself-it's a long time since I've felt the sole inhabitor of my consciousness and had the leisure to puzzle out my sensations. Usually my mind is full to the brim like this: "Mommy-mommy-mommy-here comes little bear! What does little bear say?! Mommy-mommy-mommy-mommy-moooooommy! Here's little bear! Little bear is talking!" So that I don't have mental space or leisure to process even the simplest sensation, how the sun feels on my shoulders, for instance. Visiting Proust's cool room of mirrors and ocean waves returns that feeling to me, and that is precious. There is something precious in his extremity-his lack of apology for a sensitive and aesthetically-driven nature that is anathema to middle-class American values. And that rhythm like ocean waves! It gets in your head, lowers your blood pressure, no doubt alters brain wave patterns, the chemicals in neuropathways.
There is something so extreme (admirable!) in Proust's sensibility-the extremity of his pursuit of pleasurable sensation intellectually reorganized and savored-that one feels-paradoxically-something dehumanizing in his gaze. His musings on the protoplasmic nature of young girls frankly chills me! Yet I see it as part of the "green fuse," the life force pagan and repugnant at times. So, what happens in Vol.3? I can't wait, yet at the same time I hope for something I may not get.