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Proust Regained

John Sturrock

19 March 1981
Remembrance of Things Past 
by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott-Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin.
Chatto, 1040 pp., £17.50, March 1981, 0 7011 2477 6
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... since the 1920s the French text of the novel has changed; the second is that there were things wrong with Scott-Moncrieff which a long stint of quiet and informed editing could finally put right. TerenceKilmartin has thus altered the original translation in two ways: changing it where changes in the French text determined changes in the English one, and improving it where Scott-Moncrieff was found ...
12 October 1989
Albertine gone 
by Marcel Proust, translated by Terence Kilmartin.
Chatto, 99 pp., £11.95, August 1989, 0 7011 3359 7
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Marcel Proust: A Biography 
by George Painter.
Chatto, 446 pp., £20, August 1989, 0 7011 3421 6
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The Book of Proust 
by Philippe Michel-Thiriet, translated by Jan Dalley.
Chatto, 406 pp., £25, August 1989, 0 7011 3360 0
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Marcel Proust. Selected Letters: Vol II, 1904-1909 
essays by Philip Kolb, translated by Terence Kilmartin.
Collins, 482 pp., £25, September 1989, 0 00 217078 7
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... poetry, humour is the first thing that fails to surface even in the best translation. A la Recherche can be funny in Scott Moncrieff’s Bloomsbury accents, funnier still in the admirable version of TerenceKilmartin, and yet Proust’s own peculiar feeling for human comedy cannot in the end be divorced from language. Charlus’s mixture of preciousness and pomposity emerges in one word when he is ...

English Proust

Christopher Prendergast

8 July 1993
In Search of Lost Time 
by Marcel Proust, translated by C.K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin, revised by D.J. Enright.
Chatto, £15, November 1992, 0 7011 3992 7
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... é de bonne heure’) has become something of a party game. To my knowledge, there are five versions currently on offer. Scott Moncrieff renders it as ‘For a long time I used to go to bed early.’ TerenceKilmartin reproduced this in his revised translation, but Enright, in his revision of Kilmartin, has altered ‘used to go’ to ‘would go’. In addition, James Grieve’s Swann’s Way offers the ...
25 June 1992
Selected Letters: Vol. III, 1910-1917 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Philip Kolb, translated by Terence Kilmartin.
HarperCollins, 434 pp., £35, January 1992, 0 00 215541 9
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Correspondance de Marcel Proust: Tome XVIII, 191 
edited by Philip Kolb.
Plon, 657 pp., frs 290, September 1990, 2 259 02187 5
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Correspondance de Marcel Proust: Tome XIX, 1920 
edited by Philip Kolb.
Plon, 857 pp., frs 350, May 1991, 2 259 02389 4
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Correspondance de Marcel Proust: Tome XX, 1921 
edited by Philip Kolb.
Plon, 713 pp., frs 350, April 1992, 2 259 02433 5
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... homosexuality was as yet more in the plan for the novel than the text; it does not come into Swann. The reason Gide himself gave for turning it down – in a letter of 1914 to Proust included in the Kilmartin selection, already apologising for ‘the gravest mistake ever made by the NRF’ – is quite different, and it bears out what I have just been saying about Proust’s fears of being mistaken for ...


Anthony Thwaite

27 October 1988
Stevie Smith: A Critical Biography 
by Frances Spalding.
Faber, 331 pp., £15, October 1988, 0 571 15207 4
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... many of her correspondents were publishers and literary editors (that is, employers), with most of whom she quickly established a remarkably lively and gossipy relationship. Diana Athill, John Guest, TerenceKilmartin, and many others, were recipients of chat, grumbles, doubts, jokes, questions, japes – often with cross-references to each other: if one editor disapproved of a new poem, she told you ...
26 January 1995
Kenneth Tynan: Letters 
edited by Kathleen Tynan.
Weidenfeld, 669 pp., £22, November 1994, 0 297 81076 6
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... when he engineered a meeting at the house of Rosamund Lehmann, and asked the actress to be godmother to his daughter. Occasionally Tynan betrays himself, without any help from footnotes. A letter to TerenceKilmartin in 1959, describing his recent visit to Cuba, has the breathless tone of a flighty girl in an Austen novel, relating a first trip to the pump rooms at Bath: ‘I spent my time in Havana ...

Be interesting!

John Lanchester: Martin Amis

6 July 2000
by Martin Amis.
Cape, 401 pp., £18, May 2000, 0 224 05060 5
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... flat The Facts is, perhaps surprisingly, of the other type (and his intensely focused Patrimony is somewhere in the middle). Kingsley Amis’s riotous Memoirs are lifelike, too much so for some. TerenceKilmartin once said that the book was ‘fantastically idle’ – which was part of the point. In a sense, it’s logical for a novelist to choose this second course, since a novelist more or less ...

The Thing

Michael Wood: Versions of Proust

6 January 2005
In Search of Lost Time: Vol. I: The Way by Swann’s 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Lydia Davis.
Penguin, 496 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118031 5
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol.II: In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by James Grieve.
Penguin, 576 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118032 3
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. III: The Guermantes Way 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Mark Treharne.
Penguin, 640 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118033 1
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. IV: Sodom and Gomorrah 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by John Sturrock.
Penguin, 576 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 9780141180342
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. V: ‘The Prisoner’ and ‘The Fugitive’ 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Carol Clark and Peter Collier.
Penguin, 720 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118035 8
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In Search of Lost Time: Vol. VI: Finding Time Again 
by Marcel Proust, edited by Christopher Prendergast, translated by Ian Patterson.
Penguin, 400 pp., £8.99, October 2003, 0 14 118036 6
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The Proust Project 
edited by André Aciman.
Farrar, Straus, 224 pp., $25, November 2004, 0 374 23832 4
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... is a homage to the era: the translation appeared between 1922 and 1930. Scott Moncrieff died in 1930, and the last volume was translated by Andreas Mayor. The whole work was substantially revised by TerenceKilmartin for an edition of 1981 (in relation to the Pléiade text of 1954), and revised again by D.J. Enright in 1993 (in response to what Prendergast calls ‘the curiously monstrous 1987 Pléiade ...

His Peach Stone

Christopher Tayler: J.G. Farrell

2 December 2010
J.G. Farrell in His Own Words: Selected Letters and Diaries 
edited by Lavinia Greacen.
Cork, 464 pp., €19.95, September 2010, 978 1 85918 476 9
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... not ready for primetime: Rab Butler, drunk, tried to warm up the audience with some anti-semitic jokes (‘A Scotsman, an Irishman and a Jewboy – that sort of thing,’ according to Martyn Goff; TerenceKilmartin walked out), and Farrell then followed the 1972 winner, John Berger, in denouncing capitalism and Booker’s treatment of Guyanese workers. David Lean optioned the novel a year later, and ...

Roth, Pinter, Berlin and Me

Christopher Tayler: Clive James

11 March 2010
The Blaze of Obscurity: The TV Years 
by Clive James.
Picador, 325 pp., £17.99, October 2009, 978 0 330 45736 1
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... generation, he first began to claim the world’s notice as a student comedy impresario in late 1960s Cambridge before setting up shop as a pen for hire in London. Working chiefly for Karl Miller, TerenceKilmartin and Ian Hamilton, on the Listener, the Observer and the New Review, he quickly made a name for himself as a versatile, witty literary journalist with a non-waffling mode of address that was ...

What most I love I bite

Matthew Bevis: Stevie Smith

27 July 2016
The Collected Poems and Drawings of Stevie Smith 
edited by Will May.
Faber, 806 pp., £35, October 2015, 978 0 571 31130 9
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... rather that the poem comes at you as some sort of rueful spell, or as a form of observance to a feeling that isn’t quite sure of itself. ‘The awful thing about “love”,’ Smith wrote to TerenceKilmartin, ‘is that it is easily so completely forgotten, & best so. Because when called up again it is always something false, made up really. Or sounds so.’ That qualifying coda is a key to her ...

The Best Stuff

Ian Jack: David Astor

1 June 2016
David Astor: A Life in Print 
by Jeremy Lewis.
Cape, 400 pp., £25, March 2016, 978 0 224 09090 2
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... suggested he write a profile of the young queen, Astor replied, ‘Oh, no, he’s much too close to her.’) Astor’s instinct found several others who were crucial to the paper’s success. TerenceKilmartin, first encountered by Astor during his wartime adventure in France, was made literary editor (Connolly had long gone) after a spell as a radio journalist in Jerusalem. Michael Davie was ...

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