Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time has become a lifelong occupation and love of mine. In my penultimate year as a student of history and philosophy in Amsterdam, a friend recommended to me the author who was to have such a strong influence on my idea of art and life. It was on the 25th of September 1967 that I bought A la Recherche du Temps Perdu in the three volume Pléiade edi- tion. At the beginning I was perplexed and confused, it took half a year before I began to feel that I understood that work. I travelled to Venice but left Proust behind. Reading him, so difficult and hard to understand as he appeared to me, had never ceased to fascinate me; his ideas continued to work inside me, and when I took A la Recherche in my hands again, I was thrilled by the feeling that I understood him. From then on a growing love for the author began to demand expression. In 1974 I wrote my dissertation as a historian on Proust’s aesthetics. A thoroughly revised edition appeared in 1997, and a second edition in 2004, the same year as a German translation. I am very pleased that an English edition can now appear, thanks to the sensitive and conscientious work of Chris Costello. I was and remain convinced that the core of his aesthetics can liberate us from the ambivalent legacy of historicism. I had earlier believed that art and life are necessarily...
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