Third Tuesday of Every Month Tuesdays, 5:00 pm EDT - 6:30 pm EDT September 19, 2023 to June 18, 2024
Online via Zoom
The ‘With Book’ option includes a copy of Within a Budding Grove at a 10% discount.
Though attendance in last year’s course is not a requirement, it is recommended that participants have already read Swann’s Way before joining the group.
“An open book is time regained,” wrote Bernard de Fallois, a legendary French editor and Proustian who, upon dying in 2018, released a trove of previously unpublished Proust stories and caused an earthquake in the field. Marcel Proust, beginning with Swann’s Way (the first of his seven volumes), and continuing with Within a Budding Grove—the book at hand this coming September—points the way to the sensual and mysterious nature of time. Time is evanescent, and yet may, at any moment, loop back around itself. Within a Budding Grove goes on weaving the cycle of time, enriching it with the myriad chords and colors of desire (for a girl, a seascape, a painting.) Desire, Proust tells us, is the prime mover of the imagination and its secret golden lining. An inquiry into both the labyrinth of youth and the prismatic sheen of first love, Within a Budding Grove tells us how, against all odds, time is a gift if we know to become its lover.
These next ten sessions will focus primarily on Within a Budding Grove. Students will actively discuss the second volume over the course of 10 sessions within a single year. Roughly fifty pages will be discussed per live session, paying particular attention to narrative texture, intent, and tenor.
The class, in its beginnings and entirety, will allow participants to fully experience the essence of the Proustian: from the sensorial, and quietly cataclysmic, experience of the madeleine to the epiphany of the loose paving stone and the great, final ball of the Guermantes. We will also delve into each extraordinary character (biographical or not): the narrator himself, Swann, Odette, Saint-Loup, Madame Verdurin, and many others whose affect and vision deeply influenced our perception of modern sensibility. We will examine the acumen with which Proust describes the fracturing of the French social structure in response to the Dreyfus Affair, as well as his groundbreaking exploration of the versatile, at times perverse, nature of love.
Students are encouraged to use Moncrieff’s translation for ease and consistency within the group.
What to expect from this reading group: Students will actively discuss the second volume, paying particular attention to narrative texture, intent, and tenor.
Students should read the first fifty pages ahead of the first class. Roughly fifty pages will be discussed per session, and the instructor will be in touch with the group ahead of each session to indicate which particular passages the session will focus on.
Lila Azam Zanganeh
Lila Azam Zanganeh
Lila Azam Zanganeh was born in Paris to Iranian parents. After studying literature and philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure, she moved to the United States to teach literature and cinema at Harvard University. She has contributed criticism, interviews and essays to a host of publications including the New York Times, the New Yorker, Le Monde, La Repubblica, and the Paris Review. Her first book, The Enchanter: Nabokov and Happiness, was the recipient of the 2011 Roger Shattuck Prize and was published worldwide in thirteen languages. Lila serves as a Director on the Board of Trustees for the Vladimir Nabokov Literary Foundation and as a member of the Advisory Board of Libraries Without Border. She has also served as a judge for the Man Booker Prize and the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. Her forthcoming novel, Exit Paradise, will be published in 2024.
About this series
Whether you’re looking to catch up on great novels or you’re interested in exploring a new writer or literary period, our reading groups offer high-level literary discussion led by experts in the field.
Constant Flight Forward: César Aira and His Bonkers Books with Samuel Rutter
Five Sessions 6:30 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT September 27 to January 24, 2023
Dickens, Gaskell, and Collins with Amanda Hollander
Six Sessions Thursdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT September 28, 2023 to January 4, 2024
Surgery on the Sentence Level with Omer Friedlander$150
Saturday & Sunday 12:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT September 30 to October 1, 2023
Writing History with Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond$125
Saturday, 12:00 pm EDT - 4:30 pm EDT September 30, 2023
Writing Fiction for Social Justice with Ruth Mukwana$495
Once a week Mondays, 12:00 pm EDT - 2:00 pm EDT October 2 to November 20, 2023
George Eliot’s Middlemarch with Sheila Kohler
Every Other Week Mondays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT October 2 to November 27, 2023
William Faulkner's As I Lay Dying with Elizabeth Howard
Once a week Wednesdays, 6:30 pm EDT - 8:00 pm EDT October 4 to October 25, 2023
Good Moms, Bad Moms: Mothers in Contemporary French Autobiographies with Lise Schreier$225
Five Sessions Thursdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT October 5 to December 21, 2023
Belief and Doubt: The Novels of Graham Greene (and One by John le Carré) with Dennis Krieger
Five Sessions 7:00 pm EDT - 8:30 pm EDT October 5 to January 18, 2023
Writing Family Stories and Family Histories with Eraldo Souza dos Santos$150
Friday—Sunday October 6 to October 8, 2023
An Introduction to Comics with Sofia Warren$150
Saturday & Sunday 11:00 am EDT - 2:00 pm EDT October 7 to October 8, 2023
What's Italian? Collodi's Pinocchio and De Amicis’s Heart with Antonio Romani
Once a week Saturdays, 12:00 pm EDT - 1:30 pm EDT October 7 to October 28, 2023
Revising the College Essay with Kelly Jean Fitzsimmons$75
Saturday, 1:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT October 7, 2023
Members Only: The NightlightersFree
Monday, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT October 9, 2023
Genre/Gender-Bending Asian Science Fiction and Fantasy with Joy Sanchez-Taylor
Three Sessions Mondays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT October 9 to November 20, 2023
Writing Powerful, Characterizing Dialogue in Fiction with Joanna Cantor$395
Once a week Wednesdays, 7:00 pm EDT - 9:00 pm EDT October 11 to November 15, 2023
Henry Fielding's The History of Tom Jones, A Foundling with Rebecca Rukeyser
Once a week Wednesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT October 11 to December 13, 2023
How to Publish Translation Writing with Bruna Dantas Lobato$150
Saturday & Sunday 12:00 pm EDT - 3:00 pm EDT October 14 to October 15, 2023
Georges Perec's Life: A User's Manual with Evan James
Once a week Tuesdays, 6:00 pm EDT - 7:30 pm EDT October 17 to December 19, 2023
Creating a Book Marketing Plan: How to Authentically Promote Your Book and Engage Your Community with Eleanor Whitney$150
Saturday & Sunday 11:00 am EDT - 2:00 pm EDT October 21 to October 22, 2023