Skip to Main Content
Have library access? Log in through your library
Proust's Deadline

Proust's Deadline

CHRISTINE M. CANO
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 160
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.5406/j.ctt1xcj1q
  • Cite this Item
  • Book Info
    Proust's Deadline
    Book Description:

    Marcel Prousts multivolume masterpiece, À la recherche du temps perdu, began to appear in 1913. Over the next fifty years, it gained a reputation as one of the greatest literary works of the twentieth century. But the novels classic image as a completed work was later shattered by the discovery of unpublished drafts, and the war of the Prousts? has kept scholars arguing over its definitive form ever since._x000B_Christine M. Canos Prousts Deadline presents a concise history of the publishing and reception of À la recherche du temps perdu, and sorts out the most important issues that have arisen from the ensuing debates about the text. She ultimately shows how this quintessential book about time? tells another story about times passage: the story of Prousts mortal confrontation with the temporality of writing, publishing, and reading.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09072-1
    Subjects: Language & Literature

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. A Note on Quotations
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Introduction
    (pp. 1-10)

    “Life is too short and Proust is too long”:¹ Anatole France’s wry remark has long made the rounds as a humorous summing-up, and an implicit casting-off, of one of the most important and most difficult literary works of the twentieth century, the 3,000-pageÀ la recherche du temps perdu. France’s sharp assessment, whose repetition is always greeted with delight, reveals something about the famous readerly ambivalence that haunts Proust’s novel even as its canonical status grows ever more secure. What it reveals is the extent to which all reading, but perhaps paradigmatically the reading of Proust, is defined by an...

  6. 1 Forthcoming: Announcing the Recherche
    (pp. 11-30)

    Like most novels published in France at the beginning of the twentieth century,À la recherche du temps perduwas the object of a strategic publicity campaign designed to hook the interest of readers even before the book appeared. Commissioned book reviews in the French press, excerpts published in prominent literary journals, announcements of volumes to come: these appeals to a prospective or continuing readership preceded, and then accompanied, the publication of each installment of Proust’s multivolume novel—from the appearance ofDu côté de chez Swannin 1913 to the staccato publication of volumes throughout the 1920s, several of...

  7. 2 The Dream of Simultaneous Publication
    (pp. 31-52)

    When Proust proposed his manuscript to various publishers in the fall of 1912, it was without committing to a published form for the work other than the very one in which he delivered it:Le Temps perduwas an enormous stack of pages, an indivisible block. He had long since abandoned the idea of publication in serialized form, which would have circumvented the problem of division into volumes; now that his typescript had reached the unwieldy size of 712 pages, with more waiting to be transcribed, the question of how to divide up the work was inevitable.¹ It would finally...

  8. 3 Organicism Gone Awry
    (pp. 53-82)

    When Jacques Normand, in his reader’s report for Eugène Fasquelle in 1912, wrote of Proust’s meandering manuscript that “écrire vingt volumes est aussi normal que de s’arrêter à un ou à deux” (writing twenty volumes would be just as normal as stopping at one or two),Le Temps perducomprised only two volumes. By 1927, with the publication of the posthumous volumes by the Nouvelle Revue Française, the number would expand to sixteen. In his oddly prophetic remark, Normand not only anticipates the novel’s eventual expansion but also formulates, on the basis of the one volume he has read, a...

  9. 4 Grasset’s Revenge
    (pp. 83-114)

    Some nine months before his death, Proust announced to his publisher Gaston Gallimard that theRecherchehad scarcely begun. “J’ai tant de livres à vous offrir qui, si je meurs avant,” he wrote in February 1922, “ne paraîtront jamais (À la recherche du temps perducommence à peine)” (I have so many books to offer you which, if I die before then, will never appear—À la recherche du temps perduhas scarcely begun) (Corr.,21:56). Proust’s eleventh-hour remark to Gallimard clearly indicates a state of affairs that has relatively recently come to the attention of the public:À la...

  10. Epilogue
    (pp. 115-118)

    Proust’s letters to Gallimard contain frequent complaints about delays in the publication of his books, despite the fact that his perpetual revisions were themselves the cause of more than a few delays. In November 1918, he reminded Gallimard of his desire to oversee the entire publication ofÀ la recherche du temps perdu—in other words, he added, to stay alive until the process was finished. He went on to detail a series of printer’s delays that were making it, he thought, unlikely that he would. “Maintenant je vois qu’il ne faudra pas un an pour les quatre volumes comme...

  11. NOTES
    (pp. 119-130)
  12. WORKS CITED
    (pp. 131-136)
  13. INDEX
    (pp. 137-140)
  14. Back Matter
    (pp. 141-144)