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  • Writer's pictureMetin Tiryaki

In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu) - Marcel Proust

In Search of Lost Time (À la recherche du temps perdu) is Marcel Proust's most famous work of seven books. Proust started to write the book in 1909 and continued until his death (1922); The book was published in France between 1913 and 1927. The author, whose mother was the daughter of a wealthy Jewish family and whose father was a doctor, suffered from asthma at the age of nine and had suffered from this disease all his life. The writer, who could not complete his education due to his illness, had a youth period that was devoted to literature, was fond of entertainment and was in love. Proust, who had almost never worked in his life, continued to live with his family's earnings until his parents died, with the small fortune left to him after their death, and even lived at home for ten years without leaving his room.

In Search of Lost Time, it can be defined as Proust's childhood, youth and adult memories and autobiography. Considered among the best works of the twentieth century, and even in history, the work consists of approximately 3200 pages, 1,2 million words and 2000 characters. One of the reasons for the work, which is among the most difficult books to read, to get this title is the excess of the number of characters; In addition, 20th century French aristocracy and society, titles, places, historical events specific to France (especially the Dreyfus Incident, which is frequently discussed), art and theater activities can be counted among the factors that make it difficult for foreigners to read. In addition to all these, even the simplest things (for example, an ordinary door or a dress) require a lot of time and patience to read because of the pages of descriptions.

The book is sold in the market in lots of different versions; One of them is in the form of separate books (As 6 or 7), and in the other version, the whole work is collected in 2 volumes. The text of the 2-volume version is very small and difficult to read and carry because each book is approximately 1500 pages; I highly recommend staying away from this version (Note: It still looks good in the library :).

In Search of Lost Time consists of 7 books. These are, in order:

1) Swann's Way

2) In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower

3) The Guermantes Way

4) Sodom and Gomorrah

5) The Prisoner

6) The Fugitive

7) Time Regained

The first four books were completed during Proust's lifetime, revised and edited by the author himself; The last 3 books were published by his brother after Proust's death, and there are some disconnections that will not go unnoticed by the attentive readers.

Basic summary of the book is; The first book focuses on Proust's childhood and family memories, his neighbors Mr. Swann, his wife Odette and their daughter Gilberte. The second book focuses on his rapprochement with Gilberte and the girls (especially Albertine) he met in Balbec after the separation; In the third and fourth books, you see their newly moved landlady, the Guermentes, and the French society they have just stepped into, and hundreds of characters and titles. The fifth book is based on Albertine, who is now living with herself. In the sixth book, Albertine's separation, her friend Andre and her encounters with Gilberte again are the subject, while the last book goes back to the beginning, so to speak, on the catch of time, at the same time the First World War and the war that took place at that time. He also analyzes the society's view of the war.

The work, which can be roughly summarized on this axis, is written on Proust's inner world, his thoughts on art, politics, music and theater, and of course his loves. The fact that all three of the people he is interested in and mentioned as girls in the book are unisex also forms a kind of support for the claims about the author that he is Homosexual.

As a final word, if we come to my personal opinion about the book; As a literary masterpiece, it is beyond all known works and authors, it is impossible for anyone to say anything about the incredible descriptions, the skillful writing of all moods and thoughts, the thousands of pages of effort; But I have to admit that I was very bored while reading it. I think that it is necessary to read other books in order to read this work slowly, to spread it over a long time and to prevent boredom. Of course, in the meantime, it would be appropriate to read the articles and articles of many local and foreign writers on understanding Proust beforehand and make a preparation.

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