Marcel Proust Pleasures and Regrets Criticism - Essay

Anatole France (essay date 1928)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: France, Anatole. “Preface to Les plaisirs et les jours, by Marcel Proust.” In Prefaces, Introductions and Other Uncollected Papers, translated by J. Lewis May, pp. 223-28. New York: Dodd, Mead & Co., 1928.

[In the following essay, France provides a laudatory assessment of Pleasures and Regrets.]

Why did [Marcel Proust] ask me to stand sponsor to his book, and why did I promise to undertake that very pleasant but quite superfluous task? His book is like a young poet, full of rare and delicate charm. It bears with it its own commendation; it pleads its own cause and offers itself in its own despite.

Of course it is young. It is young with the author's own youthfulness. But it is old too, as old as the world. It is the leafage of springtime on the ancient branches of the age-old forest; yet it might be said that the fresh shoots sadden over the immemorial past of the woods and robe themselves in sorrow for so many dead springs.

To the goatherds of Helicon, the grave Hesiod sang the Works and Days. It would be a sadder task to sing The Pleasures and Days to the fashionable men and women of our times, if there be any truth in the saying of that English statesman who averred that “life would be tolerable were it not for its pleasures.” And so our young friend's book shows smiles tinged with languor, attitudes of fatigue which are not...

(The entire section is 535 words.)

Frank Rosengarten (essay date 2001)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: Rosengarten, Frank. “Problems of Structure, Unity and Aesthetic Philosophy.” In The Writings of the Young Marcel Proust (1885-1900): An Ideological Critique, pp. 101-17. New York: Peter Lang, 2001.

[In the following essay, Rosengarten addresses the issue of whether the fiction and sketches in Pleasures and Regrets can be viewed as a “structured, unified whole rather than a mere patchwork of miscellaneous pieces.”]

Much of the critical debate about [Les plaisirs et les jours] has centered around the question of whether it can be considered a structured, unified whole rather than a mere patchwork of miscellaneous pieces. This is an important...

(The entire section is 7785 words.)

Frank Rosengarten (essay date 2001)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: Rosengarten, Frank. “A Profusion of Intertextuality.” In The Writings of the Young Marcel Proust (1885-1900): An Ideological Critique, pp. 137-55. New York: Peter Lang, 2001.

[In the following essay, Rosengarten identifies several literary influences on Pleasures and Regrets.]

Proust's work is like a lens where all the tendencies of our literature converge.

—Simone Kadi, La Peinture chez Proust et Baudelaire

As a critical approach to various forms of literary appropriation by one writer of another writer's work—images, stylistic mannerisms, epigraphic passages, technical...

(The entire section is 8588 words.)

Roger Shattuck (essay date 2001)

(Short Story Criticism)

SOURCE: Shattuck, Roger. “Proust's Own Sound.” In The Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust, edited and translated by Joachim Neugroschel, pp. vii-xiv. New York: Cooper Square Press, 2001.

[In the following essay, Shattuck considers the central thematic concerns of the stories in Pleasures and Regrets and places the collection within the context of Proust's fictional oeuvre.]

Homer still suits us just fine. We turn to him for larger-than-life tales of bravery in battle and for the adventures of a resourceful hero finding his way home again after years of war. Odysseus' exploits will stay with us because Homer gave them the sturdy shape of epic. The...

(The entire section is 2352 words.)