[In Progress] Reading Proust’s In Search of Lost Time: Swann’s Way with Rebecca Goldner | Virtual Course

Date / Time

  • April 13, 2023
    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
  • April 27, 2023
    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
  • May 18, 2023
    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm
  • June 1, 2023
    6:00 pm - 7:30 pm


This course is sponsored by Susan Muller


  • Tuition for this course is $200. 10% off for Rosenbach members and the Delancey Society. Not a member? Learn more.
  • This course is limited to participants who are 18 years of age or older.
  • Please check your spam folder for your email confirmation. If you have questions, please call (215) 732-1600 or email [email protected].
  • Registration opens for Delancey Society members on March 2, for members on March 9, and for the general public on March 16.



The first volume of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, “Swann’s Way” begins in a half-awake, half-dreaming state that leads our narrator to reflect on his childhood in Combray, culminating in the now-famous madeleine episode. The madeleine offers our narrator access to memories of Combray he thought were lost to him, including a childhood moment of authorial inspiration. Next, the text takes us into the life of his neighbor in Combray, Charles Swann, detailing Swann’s tumultuous and painful love affair with Odette de Crécy, a passion that becomes inspirational for our narrator both in his own romantic experiences and as an aspiring writer. The seeds for the remaining six volumes are all planted in volume one, though it is the only part of the novel where we leave the narrator’s perspective for an extended segment, traveling into the Swann’s past to uncover details only suggested in the first two chapters. 

This class will be a guided discussion: the teacher will offer questions and passages for focus but will allow the class to discuss the text at hand for the majority of our time together, giving participants the opportunity to share their thoughts, questions and reflections in conversation. There will be no predominant perspective in the class but an open opportunity to learn from and with each other. 

Required text 

Please buy this translation of the book: Swann’s Way: In Search of Lost Time, Vol. 1 (Penguin Classics, ISBN: 0142437964) 

Swann’s Way syllabus

About the instructor

Rebecca Steiner Goldner is a faculty member at St. John’s College in Annapolis, MD, where she teaches throughout their all-required, liberal arts program of study. Her PhD is in philosophy and she has published works on sensation in ancient philosophy and tragedy. Her philosophical interests in  sensation and memory eventually led her to Proust, whom she has been reading for over 20 years and teaching in seminars for juniors and seniors as well as in St. John’s Community Programs. She recently received funding to chair a faculty study of the work of Henri Bergson (a thinker deeply connected to Proust), a project which further connected her work in philosophy to her study of In Search of Lost Time.