September 10, 2012

Massive Proust audiobook coming this fall


Hopefully the next version of Remembrance of Things Past will find a way to evoke the scent of madeleines.

Naxos AudioBooks has finished recording the audio for Marcel Proust’s notriously long novel, Remembrance of Things Past. Originally published in France between 1913-1927 in seven volumes as A la recherche du temps perdu, the first translation to English was done by Charles K. Scott-Moncrieff in 1922; in 1981, Terence Kilmartin re-translated it under the more accurate title, In Search of Lost Time, but it’s the original Scott-Moncrieff version and title that Naxos has decided to use for its audiobook.

There is an existing audiobook of Remembrance of Things Past, recorded between 1996-2000, but it is an abridged version that spans 36 CDs, whereas the new one clocks in at 120 discs that take 153 hours to get through. Recording the full, unabridged text took classical actor Neville Jason—winner of a diction prize from the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art—45 days to complete. He also did the earlier recording, and spoke to the New York Times about the difference in recording the two:

These things sort of take over in ways you didn’t expect. This second time, it seemed such a massive task that I put it off for years. But once I started, it wasn’t so daunting: it’s just a question of keeping going. As an actor, I approach it like a play. It’s a performance, really — a sort of one-man show.

Watch Jason discussing the book here:

The last volume in the audiobook, Time Regained, is due out October 29.


Nick Davies is a publicist at Melville House.