“A Soul Under Guise Of A Book”
67. PROUST, Marcel.
Remembrance of Things Past.
London, 1922–31. Eleven volumes. Original
blue cloth; dust jacket for
Within a Budding Grove, Vol. II
First edition in English of Proust’s masterpiece.
Issued over a number of years by two different
publishers, complete sets are quite rare.
was the son of a Jewish mother and a Roman
Catholic father, and his great work includes
lengthy passages on homosexuality. It never
stood a chance with the Nazis who added its
ample fuel to their 1933 bonfires.
In a February 1908 letter Proust men-
tioned wanting to “start a rather long work.”
Fourteen years and some two million words
later, in February of 1922, he wrote, “A la
recherche du temps perdu is scarcely begin-
ning.” Proust died nine months later, still in
the midst of revisions and additions. Of his
magnum opus he said, “I have tried to put all
my philosophy into it, to make all my `music’
resonate.” “This masterpiece, at once so lucid
and so mysterious, in which he has found the
means to express what seems inexpressible,
say what seems unsayable—it is a soul under
guise of a book” (Maurice Rostand, quoted
in Hayman, 274, 489, 387). This set consists
of all first editions in English save for
of the Plain,
first translated in 1927, here rep-
resented by the 1929 limited edition; the 1927
Cities of the Plain
in New York and is not uniform with the
English editions, making this combination
much preferred. Without the very scarce dust
jackets for 10 of the 11 volumes. A rare set in
about it when