The Narrator is a sensitive young man who wishes to become a writer, whose identity is kept vague. As a child, his anxiety at leaving his mother at night and his attempts to force her to come and kiss him goodnight, culminates in a spectacular success, when his father suggests that his mother stay the night with him. The Narrator's anxiety leads to manipulation, much like the manipulation employed by his invalid aunt Leonie and all the lovers in the entire book, who use the same methods of petty tyranny to manipulate and possess their loved ones. Swann's Way is considered to be Marcel Proust's 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. While there is an array of symbolism in the work, it is rarely defined through explicit "keys" leading to moral, romantic or philosophical ideas. The significance of what is happening is often placed within the memory or in the inner contemplation of what is described. This focus on the relationship between experience, memory and writing and the radical de-emphasizing of the outward plot, have become staples of the modern novel but were almost unheard of in 1913. This edition is limited to 1,000 copies.
Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust (10 July 1871 - 18 November 1922), better known as Marcel Proust, was a French novelist, critic, and essayist best known for his monumental novel À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time; earlier rendered as Remembrance of Things Past), published in seven parts between 1913 and 1927: Swann's Way, In the Shade of Blooming Young Girls, The Guermantes Walk, Sodom and Gomorrah, The Captive Girl, Vanished Albertine, and Time Found Again. He is considered by English critics and writers to be one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. Begun in 1909, when Proust was 38 years old, À la recherche du temps perdu consists of seven volumes. Graham Greene called Proust the "greatest novelist of the 20th century", and W. Somerset Maugham called the novel the "greatest fiction to date". Proust died before he was able to complete his revision of the drafts and proofs of the final volumes, the last three of which were published posthumously and edited by his brother, Robert. The book was translated into English by C. K. Scott Moncrieff, appearing under the title Remembrance of Things Past between 1922 and 1931. Scott Moncrieff translated volumes one through six of the seven volumes, dying before completing the last. This last volume was rendered by other translators at different times. The title In Search of Lost Time, a literal rendering of the French, has gained usage in modern times.