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.