Against Sainte-Beuve is a seminal, early work by Marcel Proust. Before embarking on his magnum opus, In Search of Lost Time, Marcel Proust fills several notebooks with drafts and fragments in which he takes a sharp stand against the contemporary literary critic Sainte-Beuve (1804–69), and instead articulates a view of the purpose and practice of literature that he will bring to fruition in his seven-volume masterpiece some years later.
Already in these early writings that were never intended for publication, we meet an illustrious writer with an idiosyncratic flair for language.
Never before published in Swedish, Against Sainte-Beuve is here presented in a magisterial new translation by Jan Stolpe.
Marcel Proust (1871–1922) was a French novelist and essayist. In his monumental À la recherche du temps perdu, published in seven parts between 1913–27, Proust developed an essayistic fictional style to which he, according to Walter Benjamin, “sacrificed in his life friends and companionship, in his works plot, unity of characters, the flow of narration, the play of the imagination.” Against Sainte-Beuve was published in French in 1954, long after Proust’s death, and has never before been available in Swedish.
Jan Stolpe is one of Sweden’s most respected translators and literary critics. He has translated, among many others, Montaigne, Balzac, Diderot, Camus, and several works from Ancient Greek, including Plato, Aristotle, and Euripides. He holds an Honourary Doctorate in Philosophy from Lund University. In 2010 he was awarded the Kellgren Prize by the Swedish Academy, and in 2020 received the Big Prize of Samfundet De Nio.