Swann's Way (Paperback)
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1928. Introduction by Lewis Galantiere. Swann's Way is the first volume of Proust's life work, Remembrance of Things Past. Independently it is a unique and stimulating novel, but in a larger sense, it is an overture to a magnificent symphony, announcing its theme and mood and bringing into being its empire and notable character creations. The narrator is presumably the young Marcel Proust who divides his recollections between his boyhood at his family's country house at Combray and his parents' friend Charles Swann, an art connoisseur. In fact, the path that passes Swann's house, being one of two ways the narrator's family likes to take when they go for walks, gives the book its title. Proust uses the theme of unrequited love to draw a parallel between his young narrator's infatuation with Swann's red-haired daughter Gilberte and Swann's turbulent affair with a woman named Odette de Crecy. Proust's elegant prose makes this a classic work of art.