Marcel Proust
Remembrance of Things Past
The day I first read Proust's prose, sitting in the undergraduate
library at Stanford, stands out as one of my great Proustian
moments.  Opening to the first page of
Swann's Way was my
eating of the madeleine.  I only intended to read a couple of
pages -- just to get the feel of it.  I would never have dared
believe I could make it through the entire work (which for the
record spans 1.5 million words!).  But within a few paragraphs I
was hooked, and never looked back   Never before and never
again, have I encountered a more brilliant author.  Every page,
and almost every sentence -- if that can be believed for a work
of this length -- sparkles with dazzling writing.   Joyce and
Faulkner and Woolf may have their admirers, but for my taste,
this is the finest novel of the twentieth century

No, I will never be able
to refer to this book
under the (bland)
name In Search of Lost
Time.  I first made its
acquaintance in the
dazzling Scott-Moncrieff
translation and later
dipped into the
Kilmartin updating of it.
Since then Enright has
further modernized
Proust's prose.  But
reader beware: a
streamlined
contemporary version
will never be possible
of this work.  You read
Proust on his own
terms -- and they are
quite exacting.