Within a Budding Grove describes the first shoots of an astonishing love affair. When Proust's adolescent narrator travels from Paris to the sunny seaside town of Balbec he meets an intriguing set of new acquaintances who provide him with both friendship and entertainment. Most significantly of all he meets a dark-haired girl with sparkling eyes and a tiny beauty spot on her chin: the mysterious Albertine, who will become the great love of his life.
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 1889, however, his suffering from chronic asthma, the death of his parents and his growing disillustionment 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 life's work.
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