Swan's Way

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-04-28
  • Publisher: Northwestern Univ Pr
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Rarely has anyone takenSwan's Waydown a stranger path, and never with such intriguing results. What begins as a meditation on the fictional identity of the elegant "swan" of Proust'sIn Search of Lost Timebecomes, through a series of turns and twists, an ingenious investigation of the character's real-life counterpart, Charles Haas. Part novel, part essay, part literary sleuthing,Swan's Wayis a critical tour de force. Through an inspired reading of Proust's text, Henri Raczymow gradually unravels the multiple contradictions of Charles Swann's personality, brought into focus by the fault lines in Proust's narrative method. The author traces Swann's evolution and the multiple ways in which his Jewish identity keeps peeping through the veneer of respectability of this sophisticated dandy. Through a parallel inquiry into the history of the Jockey Club--to which Haas, a Jew, was, like Swann, exceptionally admitted--and the transformation of the German-Jewish Haas into the fashionable British Swann,Swan's Wayevolves into an examination of the question of personal identity and posthumous survival. Haas's Jewish identity is the invisible thread that guides Raczymow through the maze of Proust's work, which serves as a backdrop against which fin de siecle French society enacts the ugly drama of anti-Semitism. Blurring the boundaries between life and fiction,Swan's Wayleads the reader ever deeper into the unresolved question of literary and personal character.

Author Biography

Henri Raczymow was born in France in 1948 and lives in Paris. He is the author of a biography of Maurice Sachs and several works of fiction and non-fiction including Writing the Book of Esther (Holmes & Meier, 1995), Pauvre Bouilhet (Gallimard, 1998) and Quartier libre (Gallimard, 1995).

Robert Bononno is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant to translate Isabelle Eberhardt, Seven Years in the Life of a Woman: Letters and Journals. His many translations include Cyberculture, Kubrick, French New Wave, and Ghost Image.

Table of Contents

First Impressions
A Clubman
Rue Rabelais
Swann's Name
Sadism, Death
Swan: To the Letter
Tissot, Painter
Madame Proust
Swan Song
The Frame and its Canvas
The Hares of the Judengasse in Frankfurt am Main
A Very Rarefied Elite
The Affair
A Grand Story
An Exercise in Futility
Seated, For Days at a Time
Haas in Love
Death Has Overtaken . . . Coda
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

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