Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Remembrance of Things Past (Swann's Way) - by Marcel Proust

2011 may be the year to move reading Remembrance of Things Past by Marcel Proust (also titled À la recherche du temps perdu - In Search of Lost Time) from your "to do" list to your Kindle.

If you have never read Remembrance of Things Past, you need to download the first book in the heptalogy, which is Swann's Way(US Edition)  (UK EditionHowever, the free versions on Kindle are corrupted. Punctuation is screwed up and diacritical marks appear as the wrong characters. For example: Fran?ois instead of Françoise.  [ed.- Please note, this has been corrected as of 2012 and the free US version is now good, despite the reviews of the previous corrupt free version.  I would guess the UK version is also fixed.]

Also, pay no attention to the one star rating because it is due to this not being the most recent translation. Of course it is not, because the new translation by Lydia Davis is still in copyright and is more expensive. The free and inexpensive versions are the first translation by Scott Moncrieff.

Moncrief's version is fine if you are a first time reader of Proust. This is an absolutely wonderful translation of a wonderful book. Later translations are for returning readers interested in reading different versions. This translation of "Swann's Way" was published before Proust's death.

I will leave you with a quote highlighted by some Kindle readers:
"in my cowardice I became at once a man, and did what all we grown men do when face to face with suffering and injustice; I preferred not to see them"
NOTE! While doing this blog I solved one mystery and uncovered another. Proust's opus was translated again recently by 6 authors and is now in 6 volumes called The Penguin Proust. The first volume, retitled The Way by Swann's (UK title), was translated by Lydia Davis and there appeared to be no US Kindle version - although there are paperbacks and hardbacks with that title. However, I found it under the title Swann's Way but not credited to Lydia Davis. You may buy it here. (That is the US title for her translation.) Skeptics can download the free sample, where they will find Ms. Davis' forward. (Apparently Amazon read the comment I sent them and they corrected the cover and have now credited Ms. Davis with the translation.)  (Deutsch edition)

Now the mystery . . . The Kilmartin correction of Moncrieff's translation, as amended by Enright is in six volumes. I believe I have identified Volumes 2-6 for the Kindle -- but I cannot find Volume 1!   [ed. This has been corrected and Volume 1 has now been added! (UK edition)]

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