Taking the Méséglise way, he sees Gilberte Swann standing in her yard with a lady in white, Mme Swann, and her supposed lover: Baron de Charlus, a friend of Swann's.
Gilberte makes a gesture that the Narrator interprets as a rude dismissal.
)— previously also translated as Remembrance of Things Past, is a novel in seven volumes, written by Marcel Proust (1871–1922). Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin as Remembrance of Things Past, but the title In Search of Lost Time, a literal rendering of the French, has gained usage since D. Enright adopted it for his revised translation published in 1992. Proust continued to work on it until his final illness in the autumn of 1922 forced him to break off.
It is considered to be his most prominent work, known both for its length and its theme of involuntary memory, the most famous example being the "episode of the madeleine" which occurs early in the first volume. Proust established the structure early on, but even after volumes were initially finished he kept adding new material and edited one volume after another for publication.
The last three of the seven volumes contain oversights and fragmentary or unpolished passages, as they existed only in draft form at the death of the author; the publication of these parts was overseen by his brother Robert. Proust paid for the publication of the first volume (by the Grasset publishing house) after it had been turned down by leading editors who had been offered the manuscript in longhand.
Many of its ideas, motifs and scenes are foreshadowed in Proust's unfinished novel, Jean Santeuil (1896–99), though the perspective and treatment there are different, and in his unfinished hybrid of philosophical essay and story, Contre Sainte-Beuve (1908–09).
The novel had great influence on twentieth-century literature; some writers have sought to emulate it, others to parody it.
In the centenary year of Du côté de chez Swann, Edmund White pronounced À la recherche du temps perdu "the most respected novel of the twentieth century." The Narrator begins by noting, "For a long time, I went to bed early." He comments on the way sleep seems to alter one's surroundings, and the way Habit makes one indifferent to them.He remembers being in his room in the family's country home in Combray, while downstairs his parents entertain their friend Charles Swann, an elegant man of Jewish origin with strong ties to society.Due to Swann's visit, the Narrator is deprived of his mother's goodnight kiss, but he gets her to spend the night reading to him.This memory is the only one he has of Combray, until years later the taste of a madeleine cake dipped in tea inspires a nostalgic incident of involuntary memory.He remembers having a similar snack as a child with his invalid aunt Leonie, and it leads to more memories of Combray.He describes their servant Françoise, who is uneducated but possesses an earthy wisdom and a strong sense of both duty and tradition.