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Remembrance of Things Past Volumes 1-3 Box Set
ISBN 0394712439 / 9780394712437 / 0-394-71243-9
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Marcel Proust whiled away the first half of his life as a self-conscious aesthete and social climber. The second half he spent in the creation of the mighty roman-fleuve that is Remembrance of Things Past, memorializing his own dandyism and parvenu hijinks even as he revealed their essential hollowness. Proust begins, of course, at the beginning--with the earliest childhood perceptions and sorrows. Then, over several thousand pages, he retraces the course of his own adolescence and adulthood, democratically dividing his experiences among the narrator and a sprawling cast of characters. Who else has ever decanted life into such ornate, knowing, wrought-iron sentences? Who has subjected love to such merciless microscopy, discriminating between the tiniest variations of desire and self-delusion? Who else has produced a grief-stricken record of time's erosion that can also make you laugh for entire pages? The answer to all these questions is: nobody. [via]