Segments in this Video

"Remembrance of Things Past" (03:13)


In 1913 Paris, Marcel Proust writes "Remembrance of Things Past," that shook the literary world and is now a classic. The narrator sets off on a journey to become the artist he always wanted to be.

Marcel Proust's Early Life (04:32)

In his novel, Proust creates the characters from the paradoxes in his own personality. His innocent early life is reflected in the narrator, although he alters everything.

Marcel Proust's Asthma (01:58)

At age nine, Proust's life changes when he suffers his first asthma attack. Set apart from other children, he becomes a keen observer of other people. His mother is his greatest influence.

Proust's Early Writing Career (04:34)

As a teenager, Proust shows promise in writing. A legendary social climber, he writes a society column called "Man about Town." He transforms this world of snobbery in his novel.

Proust is Influenced by Great Artists (02:13)

Proust meets some the worlds greatest artists and transforms them into fictional characters. At 25 he publishes a collection of stories called "Pleasures and Days," which is not well received.

The Turning Point in Proust's Life (02:28)

The Dreyfuss Affair marks the turning point in Proust's life. Reflecting the conflicting views about anti-Semitism he experiences, the controversy plays a pivotal part in his novel.

Proust Disillusioned by High Society (02:03)

Disillusioned by high society, Proust begins work on a novel in seclusion, which would become the seeds of a future masterpiece. He has get to find his "voice."

Proust Translates Ruskin into French (03:56)

Proust begins translating works of art critic, John Ruskin, into French. He writes a preface for the book and comes to appreciate the power of art to withstand the power of time.

Proust Explores Grief and Depression (04:02)

Deeply grieving over the loss of his mother, Proust spends months in depression. Her death frees him to explore the nature of grief and suffering. He journeys back into childhood to renew himself.

Proust Begins his Great Novel (04:45)

The death of his mother inspires him to write again. With an abundance of ideas and memories, he experiences a joyful epiphany in which to begin writing his great work of art.

Proust Remodels his Apartment (01:56)

Proust has his apartment remodeled to accommodate his bizarre working habits. Sensitive to noise and afraid of dust, he cloisters himself for "a long work."

"Swan's Way" is Published in 1913 (04:05)

In 1913, "Swan's Way" is published. In this excerpt, Proust's simple prose, small moments are magnified and sharpened exemplified.

Characterization in "Remembrance..." (05:28)

Proust expands the middle of his novel with dark experiences taken from his own life. After the publication of the first novel, his life goes through a number of dramatic relationships.

Characterization in "Remembrance..." (01:44)

Proust explores his homosexuality and creates fiction based on his experiences. He allows his experiences to overwhelm him just as grief does when his mother dies.

Proust Receives Literary Honor (02:22)

In November 1919 Proust receives France's highest literary honor for his second novel. The novel is about an adolescent in the throws of first love.

Proust's Final Volumes (04:50)

Proust works feverishly on the last volumes of his masterpiece. After he dies in 1922 at 51 his remaining manuscripts are found stacked next to the body.

The Proustian Style (02:36)

Proust's masterpiece is compiled in a seven-part series. Scholars agree that the "Proustian style" in which an individual's consciousness is so closely examined becomes part of one's being for life.

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Marcel Proust: A Writer’s Life

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Deftly blending the personal and the historical, this program is an illuminating and accessible introduction to the life and work of Marcel Proust, whose novel Remembrance of Things Past changed the face of literature. Interviews with writers Dame Iris Murdoch, Shelby Foote, and writer-critic Roger Shattuck highlight the magnitude of Proust’s accomplishment, while dramatizations of key scenes from Proust’s life combine with rare archival footage to place his personal struggle in a historical context. The film was co-produced by William C. Carter, author of the critically acclaimed Proust biography. Archival interviews include Jean Cocteau, François Mauriac, and Celeste Albaret, Proust’s long-time friend and assistant. (60 minutes)

Length: 60 minutes

Item#: BVL11998

ISBN: 978-0-7365-5988-1

Copyright date: ©1992

Closed Captioned

Reviews & Awards

Gold Apple, National Educational Film & Video Festival

Gold Medal Award Finalist, Houston International Film Festival

Red Ribbon, American Film and Video Festival

CINDY Silver Award

5 Stars. "This title belongs in every library collection, just as Proust belongs in every library."—Video Rating Guide for Libraries

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Only available in USA and Canada.