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In The Guermantes Way Proust's narrator recalls his initiation into the dazzling world of Parisian high society. Looking back over his time in the glamorous salons of the aristocracy, he satirises this shallow world and his own youthful infatuation with it. His observations, and his experiences with his lover Albertine, also educate him in the volatile nature of desire as he walks the path towards adulthood.
Marcel Proust was born in Auteuil in 1871. In his twenties he became a conspicuous society figure, frequenting the most fashionable Paris salons of the day. After 1899, however, his suffering from chronic asthma, the death of his parents and his growing disillusionment with humanity caused him to lead an increasingly retired life. He slept by day and worked by night, writing letters and devoting himself to the completion of A la recherche du temps perdu. He died in 1922 before publication of the last three volumes of his great work.