On Reading Ruskin

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Marcel Proust; Edited by Phillip J. Wolfe and William Burford

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Early in his career, Marcel Proust, who greatly admired John Ruskin, published translations of two works by the English critic – La Bible d’Amiens (1900) and Sésame et les Lys (1906). He wrote a substantial preface to each book and provided discursive notes that were themselves often small essays. Rare now, even in their French versions, the preface to La Bible d’Amiens and the notes to both books have never before been available in English. In bringing them together with the preface to Sésame et les Lys, this new book completes the translation into English of the important critical writings of Proust.

"Expertly edited and translated and . . . introduced by a brilliant forty-page essay and a fascinating bibliographical note by Richard Macksey. It is an event for celebration. . . . Proust emerges from these essays and notes as one of the truly great critics."—Gabriel Josipovici, Times Literary Supplement

"A welcome addition to English-language Proust texts and, I think, one long overdue."—Germain Brée, Kenan Professor Emerita, Wake Forest University 

"Dependable translations of remarkable early writings. Proust demonstrates, on Ruskin and on us, that in reading we discover our own mind as much as an author's. He also ferrets out the pervasive intellectual sin of idolatry."—Roger Shattuck
 

 

 

 

 

 

 


"The introduction furnishes all the information a reader needs to appreciate the Ruskin-Proust encounter and its significance in the development of Proust's own aesthetic philosophy. The translation is beautiful—the translators have remained faithful to the text, while rendering it with elegance; and they preserved its dynamism. All in all, this is a welcome addition to English-language Proust texts, and, I think one long overdue."—Germaine Brée, Kenan Professor Emerita, Wake Forest University 

"Expertly edited and translated and . . . introduced by a brilliant forty-page essay and a fascinating bibliographical note by Richard Macksey. It is an event for celebration. Proust emerges from these essays and notes as one of the truly great critics. We respond to him as a critic because we grow to trust his perceptions as a man. . . . It is good to have them in English at last, and so ably presented."—Gabriel Josipovici, Times Literary Supplement

"Richard Macksey has written a scholarly and sensitive introduction to this translation of Proust's two prefaces to Ruskin. . . . Professor Macksey gives an eloquent account of how Proust absorbed and digested Ruskin, how Ruskin forms a donation into Proust's genius. . . . Proust and Ruskin are an example of pupil and teacher wherein the pupil took, with splendid comprehension, everything the teacher knew, paid the teacher the highest gratitude, and then remade all that he had learned into a matter wholly his own. One good of this edition (the first in English) of Proust's writings about Ruskin is to remind ourselves of Proust's scholarly talents. . . . This small book is not a little one. It is, in Ruskin's phrase, a king's treasure; it contains a world. . . . It is a book promising great adventures of the imagination."—Guy Davenport, New Criterion

"The work and its introduction provide a fascinating view of the coming-of-age of one major literary figure through his reactions to another. The translations, perhaps because of the collaboration between the three scholars who are responsible for them, seen distinguished by both grace and accuracy."—Bruce E. Fleming, Magill's Literary Annual

"For the first time, these important devotional offerings from one writer to another have been brought together in translation."—The Independent

"Over and above what they tell us about Proust and Ruskin themselves, the value of these essays lies in what they have to say about the experience of reading in general."—David Gervais, Cambridge Quarterly

"A pleasure to read: the translators have managed to be faithful to the French texts while conveying the flavor of Proust's already Proustian style."—Gerald Prince, Nineteenth-Century French Studies 
ISBN: 9780300045031
Publication Date: September 10, 1989
173 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
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