Proust: The Captive V. V May- Sept. 2017

Course NameLocationDurationDateTime
Captive & Fugitive-ProustKentish TownSeven weeksJune - Sept 20178-10 PM Thursday eve

Proust Captive coverEvery reader finds himself. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument that makes it possible for the reader to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have seen in himself. -Marcel Proust

After completing incredibly satisfying studies of Ulysses and Magic Mountain, we have turned to the next big mountain of Modernism, Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. A wonderful group has worked through the first four volumes, overturning ideas around intimacy, jealousy, perspective, history– now we continue  through Vol. V: The Captive & The Fugitive (recommended edition: Vintage Classics, trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff). This seven week study will consider the first half of the work.

The Proust study thus far has helped us to embrace the experience of slow reading and contemplation. Proust’s writing requires a wide awake mind as the reader is drawn into dissecting the world as it is experienced and the way our minds decorate and create memories, values and paradigms of understanding. This sounds so dry; the wonder is how deeply sensual Proust’s work is– he is most concerned with the experience of intimacy and how this dance between two beings is fractured and re-imagined through the lens of perception. This volume, in particular, explores the map of passions and the hidden constructions of desire.

Here are some comments from a keen reader on Goodreads: A continuation of themes from Sodom and Gomorrah,but more obsessive,more paranoid & bewildering – an intellectual s & m of sorts where the captor himself becomes the captive. Love was never an easy game.If Proust’s intention was to make the readers experience the claustrophobia of Marcel-Albertine relationship; he has greatly succeeded.
Three strands of thought stand out:
Albertine has lost her mystique,hence Marcel is bored. She is a captive; there’s no longer a sense of conquest.
Suddenly,some hint of a rendezvous,some hidden agenda,& Marcel’s jealousy rears its ugly head- Albertine must be safeguarded like a prized jewel- the wooing starts all over again.
Peace re-established,Marcel again loses interest in her & starts moping abt his lost opportunities with other girls,the demands on his time & attention which keeps him away from his artistic pursuits & so on:”(Albertine is) a treasure in exchange for which I had forfeited my freedom, my solitude, my thought.”
Now can you really blame Albertine for wanting to have some fun on the side?

If you have not been part of this journey so far & want to join this incredible group, please email me first to discuss joining the work part way through. There will be a new Proust study starting with Volume I in early 2018. Here is how one Salonista describes the pleasure and work of reading Proust: ” This is a velvet jewel of a book that demands the attention of a lover full of enchantment and obsession ,we need not get impatient as all good lovers perfect their art in taking their time.”

Use the Paypal button below to register for the study and pay 130 pounds for the seven week study. The study starts June 8th , running until Sept. 21st (8-week break for summer) and will consider the first half of the combined texts, The Captive and The Fugitive.


Here is the reading schedule for the coming volume —it does not finish cleanly but what does?

Session 1- June. 8 th To page 50—‘And their happiness is diminished by this prudent reticence…’                     

Session 2—June 22nd To pg. 100: to ‘No doubt my love for Albertine was not the most barren…’

Sess. 3—June 29th To page 147—‘a “view” of Versailles the horse tramway station or the goods depot.”

Sess 4—July 6th   To pg. 202 (break)  ‘…asked advice from Elstir’.


*********8 week break*******

Sess. 5—Sept  7th   To pg 258:   To end of para: ‘ ‘…in favor of the newcomer in whom so many hopes were placed).’


Sess. 6—Sept. 14  pg 312:  to end of para: ‘ Vinteuil’s septet seemed to tell me that it did. But where?’

Sess. 7— Sept. 21  To pg. 369.