Sunday, February 17, 2013

Within a Budding Grove - by Marcel Proust

US/UK Kindle Classic

1913 is the centenary of Swann's Way , the first book in French writer Marcel Proust's masterpiece, Remembrance of Things Past.  I have featured Swann's Way here more than once, so feel it is time to move on to the second volume.

If you are ready to move up to the second volume, Within a Budding Grove, published in 1919 and translated by the excellent Scott Moncrieff - then you won't mind that it is not quite free.  They hook you on the first volume and then demand a derisory amount for the second!  ($0.99 US Edition)  (£0.77 UK Edition) 

As the book begins, Swann is no longer in favor:

"My mother, when it was a question of our having M. de Norpois to dinner for the first time, having expressed her regret that Professor Cottard was away from home, and that she herself had quite ceased to see anything of Swann, since either of these might have helped to entertain the old Ambassador, my father replied that so eminent a guest, so distinguished a man of science as Cottard could never be out of place at a dinner-table, but that Swann, with his ostentation, his habit of crying aloud from the housetops the name of everyone that he knew, however slightly, was an impossible vulgarian whom the Marquis de Norpois would be sure to dismiss as— to use his own epithet— a 'pestilent' fellow."

As with any good book, there are many changes as you go along . . .  

If you have read the first book, you can hardly need urging to pick up the second - but with so many demands on our times, there are books that go unopened.  As you can buy this one with just a click, let me call it to your attention.

But whatever you do, don't reach for the version by "Prouts!" Amazing that Amazon would allow that howler on both the UK & US site.  It doesn't even credit the editor and translator, Scott Moncrieff - which is of course the only English translation out of copyright.  I won't give the link to make it easy to get by mistake - but it is easily found if you want a laugh.
If you are looking for the latest translation of this second volume, which is not free of course, the title is now In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower.  A word of caution, this volume received the harshest reviews of the six newly translated volumes published with the Penguin imprint.  However, that is not to say these new translations are not good, just that this one is not the pick of the litter.

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