The World According to Proust (Hardcover)
100 years after Proust's death, In Search of Lost Time remains one of the greatest works in World Literature. At 3,000 pages, it can be intimidating to some. This short volume invites first-time readers and veterans alike to view the novel in a new way. Marcel Proust (1871-1922) was arguably France's best-known literary writer. He was the author of stories, essays, translations, and a 3,000-page novel, In Search of Lost Time (1913-27). This book is a brief guide to Proust's magnum opus in which Joshua Landy invites the reader to view the novel as a single quest-a quest for purpose, enchantment, identity, connection, and belonging- through the novel's fascinating treatments of memory, society, art, same-sex desire, knowledge, self-understanding, self-fashioning, and the unconscious mind. Landy also shows why the questions Proust raises are important and exciting for all of us: how we can feel at home in the world; how we can find genuine connection with other human beings; how we can find enchantment in a world without God; how art can transform our lives; whether an artist's life can shed light on their work; what we can know about the world, other people, and ourselves; when not knowing is better than knowing; how sexual orientation affects questions of connection and identity; who we are, deep down; what memory tells us about our inner world; why it might be good to think of our life as a story; how we can feel like a single, unified person when we are torn apart by change and competing desires. Finally, Landy suggests why it's worthwhile to read the novel itself-how the long, difficult, but joyous experience of making it through 3,000 pages of prose can be transformative for our minds and souls.
Joshua Landy is the Andrew B. Hammond Professor of French and Professor of Comparative Literature at Stanford University, where he co-directs the Initiative in Philosophy and Literature and co-hosts the nationally syndicated public radio program "Philosophy Talk." His books include Philosophy as Fiction: Self, Deception, and Knowledge in Proust (Oxford, 2004), How to Do Things With Fictions (Oxford, 2012), and (as coeditor) The Re-Enchantment of the World: Secular Magic in a Rational Age (Stanford, 2009).