Given the length of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time and the minuteness of the portion that I’ve read, it would be fair to ask whether I’ve ever really started it. In 1992 Chatto and Windus brought out a revised version of the original Scott Moncrieff and Kilmartin translation, and in 1994, somewhere in the closing stages of my D.Phil., I bought the first volume. How soon I began reading it I can’t remember, but I do distinctly recall thinking that the shape of the sentences and the metaphorical suggestiveness of the language was utterly gripping, and that the pace natural to reading it was not a fast one, but a leisurely, contemplative one; the book was definitely the one for me, but definitely not at that particular moment.
Most significantly, this translation removed Scott Moncrieff’s very literary and Shakespearean title, Remembrance of Things Past, in favour of a more literal rendering, one that transforms the rememberer a more active searcher. I believe that this translation has now been further superseded, but it’s still the one I want to go back to.