Marcel Proust

Swann’s Way – In Search of Lost Time – Volume I

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Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust was born on July 10th 1871 in the district of Auteuil in Paris, two months after the formal end of the Franco-Prussian War.

Proust was brought up in his father's Catholic faith and baptised on 5th August 1871, at the church of Saint-Louis d'Antin.

Attacks of asthma from childhood resulted in poor health and together with a lack of drive and self-disclipine meant his progress to the status of literary giant was halting and only really achieved in middle-age.

His early work was for magazines and translations of his beloved John Ruskin. An inheritance from his mother gave him both the time and money to finally engage his prodigious talents.

Proust began to shape a novel centered on a first-person narrator who, unable to sleep, spends his nights remembering hours waiting as a child for his mother to return to him in the morning. Publishers were not as keen on the work as Proust imagined they should be.

It needed a re-think. The culmination of that was to become a literary event.

To move forward he retained many of the themes and started over on what was now to become ‘À La Recherche du Temps Perdu’. Proust was now 38 years old and despite his lack of major works to date he was undaunted. ‘À la Recherche du Temps Perdu’ (‘In Search of Lost Time’) would eventually consist of seven volumes which would span some 3,200 pages and contain more than 2,000 characters.

Proust spent the last three years of his life mostly confined to his bedroom, sleeping during the day and working at night to complete his novel.

Marcel Proust died on 18th November 1922 of pneumonia and a pulmonary abscess. He was buried in the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.
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