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Marcel Proust

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black and white photo of Marcel Proust
Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust (given name: Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust; 10 July 1871 – 18 November 1922) was a French novelist, critic and essayist. He was one of the most important French writers of the 20th century.

His most famous work, À la recherche du temps perdu or "In search of lost time" is usually known in English as Remembrance of Things Past. He wrote it from 1913 to 1927, published in seven volumes. He wrote it while he lived in a bedroom with cork walls to keep noise from bothering him. The story tells about life in France, love, war, the Dreyfus Affair, hatred, and art.

Proust came from a Jewish family. His father was a professor of medicine and his mother came from a wealthy family. Proust was in bad health. Since he was nine, he'd suffered from asthma and was very sensitive to the environment around him. This was a major problem when it came to moving and travelling. If he was able to travel at all, he had to research the home or hotel in which he would be staying. He also had to dress warmly, even in hot weather.

During his lifetime, Proust discovered that he was homosexual, although he always managed to keep this hidden from the public. This is discussed in the fourth part of In Search of Lost Time although the narrator is not homosexual himself, merely a witness to it. Proust found it a great pity that he'd never been open about this. At the end of his life, he told the French writer André Gide that he regretted this. The only ones who knew about his homosexuality, were his friends.

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