The starting point of A la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past) is an experience everyone has had. We have all had a physical sensation that has reminded us so vividly of a moment in our past that we have almost ceased to be aware of the present. Marcel Proust immortalized this in the first volume of his fifteen-volume novel, in 1913. But the novel, completed just before his death in 1922, deals with many other themes. It is an account of how the narrator, Marcel, discovers his vocation as an artist and explores the nature of art. As a psychological novel, it studies jealousy and how the emotional traumas we undergo in childhood can influence our adult lives. It is the first major novel to offer a detailed account of male and female homosexuality. It is a satirical analysis of French upper-class society at the turn of the century. It also shows how this society changes with time. Philip Thody offers a straightforward analysis of how Proust's novel is constructed, what it contains, and how its themes can be related to our experiences as members of American or English society in the late twentieth century. He explains one of the most complex prose narratives in terms that both educate and entertain the reader who may be unfamiliar with Proust and his work. '...(Thody) writes in a most engagingly down-to-earth manner, conveying a real sense of enthusiasm, and positively luring the reader towards his potentially daunting subject...Professor Thody's contribution holds its own with ease.' Modern and Contemporary France.