The Proust Book Group

The Proust Book Group

«La vraie vie, la vie réellement vécue, c’est la littérature.» (Proust, ‘Le Temps Retrouvé’)
Time to read Proust.
Why ?
Well, personally, after my last book group meeting where I ended up discussing a transvestite who ate his own genitalia, I had no choice but to attempt to scale the giddy heights of ‘A la recherche du temps perdu’.  I mean, after plumbing the murky depths of sexual deviance and predictable (albeit unintentionally hilarious) narrative, delivered in a prose style so grating that it made me feel that I too could churn out a book like this (never a good recommendation), I had nowhere to go but up.
I had read the trashy novel. I had discussed it. I had treated it with respect. I had enjoyed the process. Nevertheless, I couldn’t help but think that it would be good to spend my reading time on a book that was, well, better written.
My whole body soared upwards, gasping for the air of something more meaningful, beautiful, challenging…
Then it came to me.
Proust. He of the book that will change your life fame(IF you read it).
‘A la recherche du temps perdu’ – the book that leaves many stranded in its foothills.
It had to be. From the ridiculous to the sublime. Time for a challenge. I’ve been limbering up for far too long. Time to climb a mountain.
Anybody fancy joining us? Our first Proust bookgroup post will be out Friday 22nd May when Connie and I will tackle Overture/Combray from Book 1 ’Swann’s Way’ (Du Côté de chez Swann).
It could take some time but slow and steady is all right by me.


You could read it in the French.

Folio gallimard produce  paperback versions as do Garnier-Flammarion

Pléiade (of the silky smooth pages) produce a leatherbound version

in French
in French

You could read it in translation.

in translation
in translation

Scott-Moncrieff (Penguin Classics) used to be the recommended version but now there are several excellent alternatives.

You could even read it online (for free) at –

5 thoughts on “The Proust Book Group”

  1. Marcel Proust and the Medicine of the Belle Époque is an exhibition at the Royal Society of Medicine Library, 1 Wimpole Street, London W1G 0AE.
    It opens on Monday 12th November 2018 and it runs until Saturday 26th January 2019.
    The novelist and essayist Marcel Proust was the author of possibly the greatest work of twentieth-century fiction, A la Recherche du Temps Perdu (In Search of Lost Time), a work that fairly bristles with medical references, metaphors, and doctors who possess varying degrees of ability. Proust’s life (1871-1922) spans almost the whole of the Belle Époque period (1870-1914), a time when profound new scientific and philosophical theories were challenging the very foundations and forcing a re-appraisal of human knowledge, theories and exploration the like of which had never been seen before.
    The exhibition is drawn from the collection of the RSM Library and includes works by members of Proust’s family (his father and brother were both distinguished doctors) and by some of the leading French physicians of the day many of whom are depicted in fictional guise throughout A la Recherche du Temps Perdu.
    Admission free
    Open to all

    Robert Greenwood
    Heritage Officer
    The Royal Society of Medicine Library
    1 Wimpole Street

  2. Super idea. I’d like to join this bookgroup. I’ve wanted to read Proust for years. Could I? Any dates to work to?

  3. Three years seems a bit optimistic to me, since I never finished it the first time round. I’m hoping this is a better time to do that, so I’m starting again, just a few pages at a time.

  4. Brava! What a good idea.
    It may take less than the 3 years it took me if you read nothing else. I read other things in between.
    You can also get the full (10 tomes) French version from Amazon Kindle for $1.99!

    1. 3 years sounds good to me. We’re at the very beginning, as you can see, and I’m looking forward to really getting into ‘A la Recherche’. I’m in no hurry. And thanks for the Amazon price information!

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