Marcel Proust in Audio

A la recherche du temps perdu, in audio, on 111 CDs (in French)

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I’ve long been a fan of Marcel Proust, author of A la recherche du temps perdu (or In Search of Lost Time, in English). Last year, a French publisher released a complete audio recording of this extraordinary novel, on 111 CDs, read by 6 well-known French actors. It clocks in at just over 148 hours, and I have been enjoying listening to these recordings in recent weeks. I’m not listening to it all at once, but rather one section at a time. The length and complexity of this work is part of the charm that makes this one of the pillars of French and world literature.

Since most of my readers don’t speak French, you might want to check out an English version, such as the 39-CD abridgment by Neville Jason. This is a good start, while waiting for Naxos (the publisher of this audiobook) to release a complete version in the near future.

If you’ve never read Proust, you might want to try the only part of this epic novel that is really a stand-alone section, Un Amour de Swann. In English, you could start with Swann’s Way , the first volume of the series. This is a great novel of decadence and passion, written in an inimitable style.

For some biographical information–after all, Proust’s novel was, to a large extent, about himself–you could try the excellent biography by William C. Carter, or an interesting audio biography by Neville Jason (included in the 39-CD set mentioned above). Finally, Alain de Botton’s How Proust Can Change Your Life is an unexpected approach to this dense work, while Roger Shattuck’s Proust’s Way: A Field Guide to In Search of Lost Time is a more conventional introduction and guide book to the novel. No matter where you begin, though, Proust is the kind of author you may end up adopting for life. An excellent biography in French by Ghislain de Diesbach is available for those who read the original language.

8 thoughts on “Marcel Proust in Audio

    • Yes, good point. The original post for the audio was older, so it didn’t mention that book. But I reposted it yesterday after seeing a French TV adaptation of snippets of La Recherche. So you do well to mention the Who’s Who book.

    • Yes, good point. The original post for the audio was older, so it didn’t mention that book. But I reposted it yesterday after seeing a French TV adaptation of snippets of La Recherche. So you do well to mention the Who’s Who book.

  1. RE: Full length audio book of “Remembrance of Things Past”-in your review of a French version of this work you state the following:
    “Since most of my readers don’t speak French, you might want to check out an English version, such as the 39-CD abridgment by Neville Jason. This is a good start, while waiting for Naxos (the publisher of this audiobook) to release a complete version in the near future.”
    I’ve checked the Naxos site and don’t see mention of this project, but am very interested to find out more about it as I’ve been hoping for a full length audio recording of this book for years….Do you have any information as to when Naxos might be contemplating releasing an English version?
    I wish I read French.
    Thanks very much….

    • I guess they haven’t gotten around to releasing it. They were planning to do so, when I originally wrote my review.

  2. RE: Full length audio book of “Remembrance of Things Past”-in your review of a French version of this work you state the following:
    “Since most of my readers don’t speak French, you might want to check out an English version, such as the 39-CD abridgment by Neville Jason. This is a good start, while waiting for Naxos (the publisher of this audiobook) to release a complete version in the near future.”
    I’ve checked the Naxos site and don’t see mention of this project, but am very interested to find out more about it as I’ve been hoping for a full length audio recording of this book for years….Do you have any information as to when Naxos might be contemplating releasing an English version?
    I wish I read French.
    Thanks very much….

    • I guess they haven’t gotten around to releasing it. They were planning to do so, when I originally wrote my review.

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