Day One in The Cork-lined Room

In Feature Articles by Dennis Abrams

By Dennis Abrams

The Cork-Lined Room

Today we begin our one-year journey through the entirety of Marcel Proust’s 20th-century masterpiece In Search of Lost Time, which will be taking place on our companion website, The Cork-lined Room. We anticipate that at a pace of 10 to 15 pages per day, excepting weekends, we should be finished in a year. The first posting about the text of the first volume, Swann’s Way, will be online tomorrow. But the conversation has already begun and articles have covered:

The top ten reasons to read Proust: #1 Reading In Search of Lost Time means that at last you’ll be reading the greatest novel ever written.  Virginia Woolf said, “My greatest adventure was undoubtedly Proust. What is there left to write after that?”  Who are you to argue with Virginia Woolf?

Which Translation Will We Read? Answer: Lydia Davis translation of Swann’s Way, published by Penguin. The remaining volumes will be those from the Modern Library’s Moncrieff/Kilmartin/Enright translation.

Supplemental Texts, with recommendations of more than two dozen books that may help illuminate your path and guide you along your journey, such as Jean-Yves Tadie’s indispensable 800-page biography Marcel Proust:  A Life; Proust by Samuel Beckett (John Calder), a book which Roger Shattuck—author of Proust’s Way:  A Field Guide to In Search of Lost Time—calls “seventy of the most probing and succinct pages ever written on Proust’s work;” and Monsieur Proust by Celeste Albaret (New York Review Books), an intimate look at the author by a woman who knew him better than no other: his housekeeper.

A short chronology of Proust’s life, which contains numerous surprising episodes to be examined in detail as we proceed through the text, including his stint of military service (!) and a loaded pistol duel with novelist Jean Lorrain (!!).

Since we announced the project nearly two weeks ago, scores of people have signed-up to participate. If you’re interested and haven’t yet emailed to let us know you’re like to be involved, please do—you’ll be in good company: Some of the readers you’ll be in conversation with include editors, translators, agents and Proust enthusiasts, and other curious readers, from around the world.

WRITE: To site curator Dennis Abrams if you wish to participate.

LOG ON: To The Cork Lined Room.

About the Author

Dennis Abrams

Dennis Abrams is a contributing editor for Publishing Perspectives, responsible for news, children's publishing and media. He's also a restaurant critic, literary blogger, and the author of "The Play's The Thing," a complete YA guide to the plays of William Shakespeare published by Pentian, as well as more than 30 YA biographies and histories for Chelsea House publishers.