Swan's Way

Trade Paper – $18.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-2593-3

Trade Cloth – $26.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-1925-3
Publication Date
December 2002
Page Count
160 pages
Trim Size
5 1/2 x 8 1/2

Swan's Way

Henri Raczymow
Rarely has anyone taken Swann's Way down a stranger path, and never with such intriguing results. What begins as a meditation on the fictional identity of the elegant "swan" of Proust's In Search of Lost Time becomes, through a series of turns and twists, an ingenious investigation of the character's real-life counterpart, Charles Haas. Part novel, part essay, part literary sleuthing, Swan's Way is a critical tour de force.

Through an inspired reading of Proust's text, Henri Raczymow gradually unravels the multiple contradictions of Charles Swann's personality, brought into focus by the fault lines in Proust's narrative method. The author traces Swann's evolution and the multiple ways in which his Jewish identity keeps peeping through the veneer of respectability of this sophisticated dandy. Through a parallel inquiry into the history of the Jockey Club--to which Haas, a Jew, was, like Swann, exceptionally admitted--and the transformation of the German-Jewish Haas into the fashionable British Swann, Swan's Way evolves into an examination of the question of personal identity and posthumous survival. Charles Haas's Jewish identity is the invisible thread that guides Raczymow through the maze of Proust's work, which serves as a backdrop against which fin-de-si├Ęcle French society enacts the ugly drama of anti-Semitism. Blurring the boundaries between life and fiction, Swan's Way leads the reader ever deeper into the unresolved question of literary and personal character.
About the Author

Henri Raczymow was born in France in 1948 and lives in Paris. He is the author of a biography of Maurice Sachs and several works of fiction and non-fiction including Writing the Book of Esther (Holmes & Meier, 1995), Pauvre Bouilhet (Gallimard, 1998) and Quartier libre (Gallimard, 1995).

Robert Bononno is the recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts grant to translate Isabelle Eberhardt, Seven Years in the Life of a Woman: Letters and Journals. His many translations include Cyberculture, Kubrick, French New Wave, and Ghost Image.
"A splendid work of art . . . deftly touches on the very essence of In Search of Lost Time." --Le Nouvel Observateur
"Exciting, palpitating, pertinent, profound." --Le Figaro
"Devotees of Proust will welcome Henri Raczymow's delightful new book." --L'Express