Sodom and Gomorrah: Vol. IV of Proust Second half

Course NameLocationDurationDateTime
Sodom and Gomorrah by Proust P2Kentish TownSix Weeks16 Mar - 18 MayThursday evenings

marcel-proust“Every 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

Our grand journey through Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time now turns to Volume IV: Sodom and Gomorrah. A wonderful group has worked through the first three volumes, overturning ideas around intimacy, jealousy, perspective, history.

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. Our next volume Sodom and Gomorrah, in particular, explores the map of passions and the hidden constructions of desire.

If you have not been part of this study so far and would like to join this incredible group, please email me.

Chris Power’s review in the Guardian offers some useful perspective: “If volume one of In Search of Lost Time represents the novel’s overture, and volumes two and three are concerned chiefly with Marcel’s jejune preconceptions about society and their subsequent explosion, then Sodom and Gomorrah is, as its title suggests, unabashedly about forbidden passions. From Marcel’s chance witnessing of a spur of the moment coupling between an aristocrat and a tailor to the male bordellos of Paris, the book bulges with accounts of love at its most urgent, jealous, lubricious and clandestine.”

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.”


  • Facilitated by Toby Brothers
  •  Thursday evenings 8 pm – 9:50 pm  March- May 2017
  • Six meeting study begins 16 March 2017 finishes 18th May
  • Recommended edition: In Search of Lost Time, Vol 4: Sodom and Gomorrah by Marcel Proust, trans. Moncrieff & Kilmartin & Enright; Vintage Classics edition; ISBN: 978-0099362517
  • £125 for six meeting study includes background materials and opening notes


TO REGISTER for the study, please use the secure PayPal payment button below to pay £125. Opening notes will be sent shortly after registration.

If you have any questions about this study, please contact us.

This study will have the energy and open exploration that a new Salon study offers. . . To inspire, I offer you this keen reader’s reasons to study Proust:

Can Proust Really Change Your Life? Let’s Find Out
September 28, 2009 by pubperspectives
By Dennis Abrams

You know you’ve been meaning to. You’re pretty sure that you’ve got a dusty copy of Swann’s Way sitting around somewhere. You’ve probably even read the book’s famous opening line, “For a long time I would go to bed early,” and thought to yourself, well, not now, maybe some other time.
That time has finally come. Publishing Perspectives is launching The Cork-Lined Room, a blog devoted to the reading, discussion and study of Proust’s masterpiece of 20th century literature, In Search of Lost Time.
Join us, (there is safety in numbers) and see what you’ve been missing all these years.
Should you need further encouragement, here are ten reasons why you should join in and make Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time your next big literary project:

10. You’ll finally be reading the work of one of the great prose stylists of all time. Long, sensuous sentences that cast a spell like no others: Glorious descriptions of nature, art, music, and fashion, full of witty conversation and aphorisms galore.

9. You will be constantly putting the book down to underline another memorable passage, all the while asking yourself, “How does he know that?”

8. You’ll be surprised to learn that Proust is surprisingly funny. Yes, In Search of Lost Time is a literary masterpiece, it’s long, and it’s French, it can’t possibly be funny. But it is. Truly.

7. You should do it because it’s there. At 3,000 pages and over 1.25 million words, it’s the Mt. Everest of literature, but you can reach its peak without an oxygen mask or the assistance of a Sherpa. By way of comparison, it took David Chase 86 episodes and six seasons to tell the story of The Sopranos and the Harry Potter saga is 4,224 pages long and contains over one million words. Given that, Proust doesn’t seem nearly as daunting.

6. You’ll learn nearly all there is to know about love, jealousy, obsession, memory, and time. It will, if you let it, change your life: it is one of those rare books that provides an entirely new way of perceiving and understand the world.

5. You’ll have the thrill of accomplishment. Think of the sense of pride you’ll have in having read, comprehended, and enjoyed In Search of Lost Time.

4. You’ll meet lots of fascinating people from all levels of French society. Harold Bloom wrote that “Proust’s greatest strength, amid so many others, is his characterization: no twentieth-century novelist can match his roster of vivid personalities.” Of course, Harold’s not always right, but this time he is.

3. You’ll impress your friends. Consider the following piece of dialogue. Them: “Did you catch last night’s episode of Lost?” You: “No, sorry, I was so enthralled reading Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time that I couldn’t bring myself to turn on the television.” Game, Set and Match (Of course, you should say it nicely).

2. You’ll be able to relax knowing that for the next few months at least, you will not have to worry about what you’re going to be reading next.

1. And finally, and most importantly, reading In Search of Lost Time means that at last you’ll be reading the greatest novel ever written. Virginia Woolf said, “My greatest adventure was undoubtedly Proust. What is there left to write after that?” Who are you to argue with Virginia Woolf?