London: Allen Lane, Penguin Press, 2002. Six crown octavo volumes, each 20.5 x 13.8 cm, in box, hardcover, bound in black cloth with gilt titles on spine, colour illustrated dust jackets with spine portrait of Proust on all volumes. General Editor Christopher Prendergast, Professor of French at the University of Cambridge. Six-volume novel texts total 3,255 pages, 114 pages of Preface and Introductions. Weight (set of six volumes in box): 4 kg.
Volume 1: The Way by Swann’s, translated with an Introduction and Notes by Lydia Davis, General Editor’s Preface and Translator’s Introduction, xxxvii pp; Part I; Combray, Part II: A Love of Swann’s, Notes p. 431, Synopsis p. 448, total 451 pp. [“One of the greatest of all novels of childhood in any language.”] Cover detail from Vertige by Denis Etcheverry in the Musée Carnavalet, Paris; the back cover shows the painting in its entirety.
Volume 2: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower, translated with an Introduction and Notes by James Grieve, sometime Reader in French at the Australian National University. General Editor’s Preface and Translator’s Introduction, xv pp; Notes p. 533, Synopsis p. 546, total 554 pp. [“My greatest adventure was undoubtedly Proust”—Virginia Woolf.] “A spectacular dissection of male and female adolescence.” Dust jacket cover detail from On the Beach by Winslow Homer.
Volume 3: The Guermantes Way, translated with an Introduction and Notes by Mark Treharne, who taught French at the University of Warwick, UK. General Editor’s Preface and Translator’s Introduction, xiii pp; Notes p. 599, Synopsis p. 613, total 621 pp. [“Monumental…one of the finest of psychological novels”—Malcolm Bradbury.] Dust jacket cover detail from At the Ball by Berthe Morisot.
Volume 4: Sodom and Gomorrah, translated with an Introduction and Notes by John Sturrock, Critic and writer on Proust, Victor Hugo and Stendhal. General Editor’s Preface and Translator’s Introduction, xii pp; Notes p. 523, Synopsis p. 551, total 562 pp. [“A giant miniature, full of images, of superimposed gardens, of games, conducted between space and time”—Jean Cocteau.] “A study of jealousy, multiple identities and sexuality in all its forms.” Dust jacket cover detail from Robert, Comte de Montesquiou by James McNeill Whistler.
Volume 5: The Prisoner and The Fugitive. The Prisoner translated with an Introduction and Notes by Carol Clark, Fellow and Tutor in French at Balliol College, Oxford. Translator’s Introduction, vii pp; Notes p. 659, Synopsis p. 675. The Fugitive translated with an introduction and notes by Peter Collier, Senior Lecturer in French at the University of Cambridge. Translator’s Introduction, xviii pp; Notes p. 668, Synopsis p. 684. Total for both works of 693 pp. [”A peerless lesson in the advantages of an active memory”— Anita Brookner.] Dust jacket cover detail from Mrs Frederick R. Leyland by James McNeill Whistler.
Volume 6: Finding Time Again, translated with an Introduction and Notes by Ian Patterson, who teaches English at Queens’ College, Cambridge. Translator’s Introduction, xii pp; Notes p. 359, Synopsis p. 368, total 374 pp. [“Sublime…Proust’s great opus…In Proust’s interweave of romantic delusions, the glory of the descriptions, as the narrator strives to recapture the past, redeems everyone”—John Updike.] Dust jacket cover detail from The Balcony by Rene Xavier Prinet.
Volumes as new, box fine except for a little very minor edge wear at corners. . Near fine. Item #393
Marcel Proust (1871-1922) became a conspicuous figure in Parisian society’s salons in the 1890s, but his chronic asthma, the death of his parents and growing disillusionment caused him to lead an increasingly retired life on the Boulevard Haussmann. Proust has been seen as one of the defining voices of the modern age—satirical, sceptical, confiding and endlessly varied in his response to the human condition. Vladimir Nabokov wrote of Proust’s magnum opus: “The whole is a treasure hunt where the treasure is time and the hiding place the past…The transmutation of sensation into sentiment, the ebb tide of memory, waves of emotion such as desire, jealousy and artistic euphoria—this is the material of this enormous and yet singularly light and translucid work”.
The Scottish writer Charles Kenneth Scott Moncrieff, MC (1889-1930) introduced the wider English-speaking world to Marcel Proust’s enormous novel with the publication, in September 1922, of the first volume of his translation. Scott Moncrieff received an active commission in 1914 as an officer in the King’s Own Scottish Borderers but, while leading the 1st Battalion in the Battle of Arras in 1917, he was seriously wounded, hospitalised for nearly a year and left lame, to serve out the remainder of World War I at the War Office in Whitehall. London. Post-war, he engaged in literary work and worked with Lord Northcliffe, owner of The Times. By 1923, Scott Moncrieff’s worsening health compelled him to move to Italy.
Scott Moncrieff published the first volume of his Proust translation in 1922, and continued work on the enormous novel until his death in February 1930, at which time he was working on the final volume of Remembrance of Things Past which was finished by other hands. His choice of the title Remembrance of Things Past, by which Proust's novel was known in English for many years, is taken from the second line of Shakespeare's Sonnet 30: "When to the sessions of sweet silent thought / I summon up remembrance of things past".
The title of the present boxed set, In Search of Lost Time, has gained favour and is now widely recognised as more appropriate. Proust’s magnum opus has inspired references among many art forms and by intellectual audiences and also in popular culture, ranging from Andy Warhol to Monty Python and Pier Pasolini.