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Introduction to Proust’s Remembrance of Things Past

April 16 - May 21, 2023, Sundays 5:30-7:30 p.m. (six sessions)
925 SW Washington Street Portland, OR 97205


Proust’s magnum opus is often considered to be the greatest novel of the 20th century. It richly repays the careful attention it demands, and becomes unforgettable. First-time readers, however, may find the style and size of the work daunting. This seminar is intended for participants who have always wanted to read Proust, but who would benefit from exploratory conversation about the text with like-minded readers under professional guidance.

In six meetings, we will discuss just the first two sections, the “Overture” and “Combray.” We will take the time to consider the architecture and style of the work to help the participants get a good understanding of Proust’s overarching project. The format will be seminar-style, not lecture, and participants will be expected to listen to each other and to make contributions to the joint conversation.

Marcel Proust, Remembrance of Things Past. Vol. 1. Trans. C.K. Moncrieff and T. Kilmartin. NY: Random House, 1981. Volume 1 can be purchased separately; it also comes in a 3-volume set of the entire work.

First assignment
“Overture” pp. 3-51 in the recommended translation.

Access Program
We want our classes to be accessible to everyone, regardless of income and background. We understand that our tuition structure can present obstacles for some people. Our Access Program offers class registrations at a reduced rate. The access program for writing classes covers 60% of the class tuition. Most writing classes have at least one access spot available.

Please apply here for access rate tuition. Contact Susan Moore at susan@literary-arts.org if you have questions.

Liaison position
Every in-person class and seminar at Literary Arts has one liaison position. Liaisons perform specific duties for each class meeting. If you are a liaison for a class or seminar, the full amount of your tuition is covered by Literary Arts.

Apply here for the liaison position.


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James Cohn

Jim received his B.A. from Dartmouth College in French and German. After a Fulbright scholarship in Germany, he went on to complete an interdisciplinary Ph.D. from the University of Chicago under the direction of Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow. As a tenured professor at St. John’s College, he spent 15 years teaching the Great Books curriculum in Santa Fe. In 2006, Jim moved to British Columbia to help found and then lead Quest University Canada, a new liberal arts and sciences college. He has traveled extensively in Europe, and has been fortunate enough to study Russian in Moscow, and to have had Visiting Professor positions in Germany, Bhutan, and Hong Kong. Twenty years ago, when living in Portland, Jim founded the Delve program with the Chairman of the Board and the Director of Literary Arts. He taught the first seminars in the pilot project, which has since flourished into the wonderful Portland institution it is today. He is delighted to return to Portland and to Delve.
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