Magazine May 3, 2010, Issue

The Depths of Time

Marcel Proust, from a cover of In Search of Lost Time (Kathartika)

For a long time, I went to bed late. The reason was that I was reading aloud, to my wife, Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. We did it in the city and the country, so this is both City Desk and Country Life, though the locations are not New York and upstate, but Combray, a small town in the île de France; Balbec, a Channel resort; and Paris, or parts of it: the Champs-Élysées, the Bois de Boulogne, a few homes, theaters, and brothels.

I have read aloud some long books — Travels in Arabia Deserta (two volumes), The

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