Craig edited the description of Remembrance of Things Past Monday, July 9, 2012.
"A La Recherche du Temps Perdu" is one of the most magnificent achievements of the novelists' art (and there have been many). It's historically great in its scope -- as grand in that way as "War and Peace" -- although it's set in belle epoque France, not the Russia of the Napoleonic era. It's one of our greatest novels about finding one's vocation as an artist, and the demands it makes on one's life once one has realized that vocation. It's one of the most sensitive treatments of love, in all its forms, gay and straight, romantically passionate and quietly companionate. It anatomizes social class as well as any of the great 19th-century novels.
It's also one of those classic Romans-a-clef, novels written around fictionalized versions of the people in the author's world. The entire book takes place in Marcel's memory, as one long flashback. And the great characters in the novel (there are many) are generally composites of the many friends, loves, schoolmates, social acquaintances, and others who inspired Proust as he lived.
Finally, it's as great an enchantment as any of the novels we love. If you read nothing else, read the first eight pages or so, the first section of the "Overture" to the entire novel. It functions, as do many orchestral overtures, to introduce us to the themes that the novel will develop over its narrative arc.
Dog Lover - very limited time online for the foreseeable future edited the description of Remembrance of Things Past Tuesday, March 22, 2011.
1982 USA EDITION. Boxed set of 3 large Paperbacks. Over 3000 pages. Published by VINTAGE BOOKS a division of RANDOM HOUSE NEW YORK. Text in English.
Shelfari edited the description of Remembrance of Things Past Friday, August 21, 2009.