Within a Budding Grove

(5 stars; 5 reviews)

In Search of Lost Time or Remembrance of Things Past (French: À la recherche du temps perdu) is a semi-autobiographical novel in seven volumes by Marcel Proust. His most prominent work, it is popularly known for its extended length and the notion of involuntary memory, the most famous example being the “episode of the madeleine.”

Begun in 1909, finished just before his death in 1922, and published in France between 1913 and 1927 “… [the] novel has had a pervasive influence on twentieth-century literature, whether because writers have sought to emulate it, or attempted to parody and discredit some of its traits. In it, Proust explores the themes of time, space, and memory, but the novel is above all a condensation of innumerable literary, structural, stylistic, and thematic possibilities.”

“Within a Budding Grove” (A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleur”, literally “In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower”), the second volume in the sequence, won the Prix Goncourt in 1919. In it, the narrator meets several characters who are to prove very important in his life and in the novel – the aristocrat Robert de Saint-Loup, an eccentric snob called the Baron de Charlus and a group of girls including a certain Albertine Simonet. (Summary by Wikipedia and Andrew Coleman)

This book is part of the Legamus collection. It is public domain in the European Union, where it is hosted on Legamus' servers. It may not be legally accessed in the United States.