It is widely considered to be one of the summits of French and world literature and is among the 100 books of the century, according to Le Monde. Here you can download a copy of In Search of Lost Time in PDF.
In Search of Lost Time is a novel by Marcel Proust, written between 1908 and 1922, consisting of seven parts published between 1913 and 1927, the last three of which are posthumous.
Marcel Proust was a French novelist, essayist, and critic, born in Paris in 1871. He is considered one of the greatest authors of the century.
In Search of Lost Time is one of the greatest literary creations of all times, in which the transposition into the story of the life of Marcel Proust, as well as the characters and social environments of his time, shaped a new and fruitful path in the field of the novel.
A true description of French society before the First World War. The purpose behind it is to preserve, from disappearance and oblivion, the experiences and memories of the Narrator’s past.
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In Search of Lost Time in PDF
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Summary of In Search of Lost Time
The seven titles that make up the work “In Search of Lost Time” are:
Swann’s Way (1913)
It is divided into two parts. The first part narrates the childhood and adolescence of the novel’s narrator in Combray.
The reader is taken through his memories, where he can recall very important people from his childhood, such as his mother, his aunt Leoncia and his grandmother.
This part contains one of the most emblematic literary passages in French literature. It describes the narrator eating a madeleine dipped in his cup of tea.
He also recalls the daily walks through different parts of his city, such as the Guermantes way that leads to where the aristocratic class lives, whose customs are indecipherable to the child.
There are two characters that the narrator recalls with special interest, which are Swann and his future wife, Odette de Crécy, who has a bad reputation for the aristocracy, but who represents very well the yearnings of social ascent.
In the last part of this first volume, the narrator is already a teenager in love with Gilberte, Swann’s daughter. This is a preview of what will be the next volume.
In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower (1919)
The narrator tells us about the beginnings of his love life. In his adolescence, he meets a group of women, among whom Andreé and Albertine stand out. The latter will be the protagonist of later books.
The Guermantes Way (1920-1921)
Here the narrator, as the title indicates, befriends the Germantes, an aristocratic family. A trip to Doncières is particularly mentioned, during which the famous Dreyfus case is constantly and thoroughly discussed.
Similarly, a reunion occurs between the narrator, Charles Swann, and Albertine that coincides with the death of her grandmother and the news that Charles has cancer.
Sodom and Gomorrah (1921-9122)
This book focuses on the sexual relationships that Palamèdes, brother of the Prince of Guermantes, has with other men and with Albertine, in whom the narrator has a peculiar interest, especially in her sex life.
The Prisoner (1923)
This fifth installment deals with the themes of love and unbridled jealousy. The narrator is in love with Albertine, but when he suspects that she is a lesbian, he decides to keep her prisoner in his apartment.
Albertine remains under the watchful eye of Gisèle, the narrator’s friend, and the chauffeur. They tell him everything about what Albertine does and jealousy floods the narrator, making him feel that he has lost the essence of the child he was to project the family psychology.
The Fugitive (1925)
The sixth book focuses on the narrator’s tormented love for Albertine, who manages to escape from his apartment. After pulling strings to find her, he receives a telegram with the news that his beloved has died from a fall from a horse.
The narrator’s despair and spite intensifies when he corroborates through witnesses that Albertine was having lesbian relations with women from Gomorrah.
Time Regained (1927)
The narrator is reunited with childhood and youthful friends, all of whom are aged, affected by the passing of time. Between memories and reflections, a nostalgic and autumnal plot unfolds.
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FAQ about In Search of Lost Time
What is the message of In Search of Lost Time?
In Search of Lost Time is a literary work that deals with the path of life. The meticulousness in describing the narrator’s memories, makes it possible to be reflected in every aspect. The critic Roland Barthes says: “Proust is a complete system of reading the world. If such a system were admitted there would be no incident, encounter, feature or situation in our daily life that did not already have its referent in Proust.”
Who is the narrator of In Search of Lost Time?
The narrator’s name is not revealed in any of the seven books of the saga. However, we know many things about him, since it is narrated in the first person, so we can enter into the psychology and personal vision that the protagonist has of the world.
What is Proust’s style like in writing Swann’s Way?
The narration stands out for being quite descriptive at all times. The entire plot is narrated in the first person. This first volume contains one of the most climactic passages in French literature, in which the narrator describes all the sensations he experiences when he eats a madeleine dipped in tea.
How many pages are there in the book In Search of Lost Time?
The number of pages may vary according to the different editions published. However, the seven volumes can total around 3,300 pages. It can be considered a rather extensive work, although this is common when publications are made in parts.
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