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Swann's Way (Penguin Great Books of the 20th Century)
ISBN 0140283269 / 9780140283266 / 0-14-028326-9
Publisher Penguin Books
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Swann's Way begins with one of the most famous incidents in all of literature -- the taste of a madeleine and tea that reawakens the elusive childhood memories of the narrator, Marcel. An image of Charles Swann, a wealthy and fashionable neighbor, precipitates Marcel's recollection of Swann's marriage to Odette de Crecy, a beautiful, manipulative woman far beneath him in social standing, and of the jealousy, aroused by Odette's many affairs with both men and women, that eventually destroys Swarm. Marcel recounts, too, his own initiation into the aesthetic pleasures and sexual intrigues of belle-epoque Paris. The themes introduced in Swann's Way -- the destructive force of obsessive love, the allure and the consequences of transgressive sex, and the selective eye that shapes memories -- form the threads that unite all the volumes of Remembrance of Things Past. [via]