Lost Time: Lectures on Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp – Book Review

Polish artist and soldier Jozef Czapski brought Marcel Proust’s A La Recherche du Temps Perdu to life for an audience of prison inmates in a series of lectures.

Czapski gave these lectures entirely from memory.

He and the inmates were in a Soviet prisoner-of-war camp.

They were the lucky ones as the Soviet authorities killed thousands of their fellow officers.

This is a remarkable book as it could almost be termed “A very, very short introduction” to a very, very long novel. The details are incredible as Czapski weaves elements from Proust’s life into his lectures on the novel.

Proust’s great meditation on memory allowed Czapski to remind his fellow officers that there was a world outside their prison camp and that there was a future in which to hope.

Published by Julian Worker

Julian was born in Leicester, attended school in Yorkshire, and university in Liverpool. He has been to 94 countries and territories and intends to make the 100 when travel is easier. He writes travel books, murder / mysteries and absurd fiction. His sense of humour is distilled from The Marx Brothers, Monty Python, Fawlty Towers, and Midsomer Murders. His latest book is about a Buddhist cat who tries to help his squirrel friend fly further from a children's slide.

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