Anatole France, a French poet, journalist, and Nobel Prize-winning novelist, once remarked: “Life is too short and Proust is too long.”
Published in a series of seven volumes between the years 1913 and 1927, Marcel Proust’s novel Remembrance of Things Past is a narrated telling of his own (fictionalized) life story. More than 4,000 pages, it is indeed a very challenging read. His allegorical search for truth is defined by the concept of “involuntary memory” — literally, spontaneous remembrances of things past, flashbacks, triggered by everyday actions, sights, sounds, tastes, smells.
The most famous of Proust’s literary recollections, an evocation of a profound childhood remembrance upon tasting a crumbly, tea-dipped madeleine.*