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  • How Proust Can Change Your Life
  • Written by Alain De Botton
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  • How Proust Can Change Your Life
  • Written by Alain De Botton
  • Format: eBook | ISBN: 9780307833495
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List Price: $11.99


On Sale: January 23, 2013
Pages: 208 | ISBN: 978-0-307-83349-5
Published by : Vintage Knopf
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Alain de Botton combines two unlikely genres--literary biography and self-help manual--in the hilarious and unexpectedly practical How Proust Can Change Your Life.

Who would have thought that Marcel Proust, one of the most important writers of our century, could provide us with such a rich source of insight into how best to live life? Proust understood that the essence and value of life was the sum of its everyday parts. As relevant today as they were at the turn of the century, Proust's life and work are transformed here into a no-nonsense guide to, among other things, enjoying your vacation, reviving a relationship, achieving original and unclichéd articulation, being a good host, recognizing love, and understanding why you should never sleep with someone on a first date. It took de Botton to find the inspirational in Proust's essays, letters and fiction and, perhaps even more surprising, to draw out a vivid and clarifying portrait of the master from between the lines of his work.

Here is Proust as we have never seen or read him before: witty, intelligent, pragmatic. He might well change your life.


Following is an excerpt from Chapter 8, "How to be Happy in Love":

Q: Did Proust have any relevant thoughts on dating? What should one talk about on a first date?

A: Advice is scant. A more fundamental doubt is whether one should accept dinner in the first place.

There is no doubt that a person's charms are less frequently a cause of love than a remark such as: "No, this evening I shan't be free."

If this response proves bewitching, it is because of the connection made...between appreciation and absence. Though a person may be filled with attributes, an incentive is nevertheless required to ensure that a seducer will focus wholeheartedly on these, an incentive which finds perfect form in
a dinner rebuff.

Q: Was he against sex before marriage?

A: No, just before love. And not for any starchy reasons, simply because he felt it wasn't a good idea to sleep together when encouraging someone to fall in love was a consideration.

Women who are to some extent resistant, whom one cannot possess at once, whom one does not even know at first whether one will ever possess, are the only interesting ones.

Q: Surely not?

A: Other women may of course be fascinating, the problem is that they risk not seeming so...

Q: Are there any secrets to long-lasting relationships?

A: Infidelity. Not the act itself, but the threat of it. For Proust, an injection of jealousy is the only thing capable of rescuing a relationship ruined by habit...The threat of losing their partner
may lead them to realize that they have not appreciated this person adequately...If someone threatens the relationship, they get jealous, wake up for a moment, have another kiss with the horny tusk, and get bored once more. Condensed into a male heterosexual version, the situation runs
like this:

Afraid of losing her, we forget all the others. Sure of keeping her, we compare her with the those others whom at once we prefer to her.
Alain De Botton

About Alain De Botton

Alain De Botton - How Proust Can Change Your Life

Photo © Vincent Starr

Alain de Botton is the author of nonfiction works on subjects ranging from love and travel to architecture and philosophy. His most recent work, The News: A User's Manual, will be released by Pantheon Books in February of 2014. His best-selling books include How Proust Can Change Your Life, The Art of Travel and The Architecture of Happiness. He lives in London, where he founded The School of Life (www.theschooloflife.com) and Living Architecture (www.living-architecture.co.uk).

  • How Proust Can Change Your Life by Alain de Botton
  • April 28, 1998
  • Self Help; Fiction - Humorous
  • Vintage
  • $15.00
  • 9780679779155

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