“THE WALK BY SWANN’S HOUSE”. I have resolved to pare down the number of articles and other papers that I have saved through the years. One recent find is from the TLS for December 5, 2014—a letter from the translator Lydia Davis about various possible English translations of the title of “Du Coté de chez Swann”, the first volume of Proust’s “A la recherche de temps perdu”.
Lydia Davis discusses several possible titles. The book is best known in English as SWANN’S WAY. Lydia Davis’s title for the UK edition was THE WAY BY SWANN’S. Lydia Davis had originally proposed for the UK edition BY WAY OF SWANN’S and then later ALONG THE WAY BY SWANN’S.
Davis says that in his lecture notes, Nabokov called the book BY WAY OF SWANN’S PLACE and then by the time the lectures were finished, he had adopted the title THE WALK BY SWANN’S HOUSE.
I think I like Nabokov’s last title best because it reflects a quiet, even humble, beginning to a vast undertaking: THE WALK BY SWANN’S HOUSE.