Landmark: Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu
In a special Landmark edition, Matthew Sweet and guests Jane Smiley, Jane Haynes and Christopher Prendergast explore Marcel Proust's novel A la recherche du temps perdu.
Tonight's edition of Free Thinking is devoted to one of the landmarks of European literature -- Marcel Proust's gigantic novel, A la recherche du temps perdu which is perhaps best known in English as In Search of Lost Time.
Matthew Sweet gathers together four Proust fans from very different backgrounds - the Pulitzer prize winning novelist, Jane Smiley, the psychotherapist, Jane Haynes, Christopher Prendergast, who has edited the latest translation of the book and from France, the writer, Marie Darrieussecq. The actor Peter Marinker tackles the difficult task of giving an English voice to Proust.
You can download this programme by searching under the Arts and Ideas podcasts and the broadcast date.
The novel is a modernist masterpiece which offers a symphonic account of what it meant to be alive in France as the 19th century became the 20th. To read it is to explore the mechanics of human sensibility -- it is comic, tragic, discursive, scholarly, obscene, vicious and heartfelt but above all profoundly self aware. Sometimes it reads like a journal or a gossip column; sometimes like autobiography; from times like a scholarly monograph: and often as delicious parody; the coils of Proust's language slows time right down and tempts the reader ever further into the maze of self examination.
Human attachment lies at the heart of the book - whether it's a young boy's love of his grandmother, a grown man's obsessive sexual interest in a young woman or the self deceptions of narcissim. But these are just a few of the book's facets as the mind of its narrator moves from the marriage of his bourgeois family's neighbours in the country, the Swanns, to the glamour and snobbery of the aristocracy in Paris.
Producer: Zahid Warley.