Books: Advanced Proustmanship

PROUST: THE EARLY YEARS (435 pp.) —George D. Painfer—Atlantic-Little, Brown ($6.50).

Life is the novelist's first draft. This elementary fact periodically brings out the detective in some critics and biographers. Treating a book as a case to be solved, the literary sleuth scours the author's life for telltale clues. With the instincts of Scotland Yard's finest, George D. Painter, a curator of the British Museum, has now tackled the massive Proust case. His findings may strike some readers as anticlimactic. It appears that Marcel Proust based Remembrance of Things Past on his remembrance...

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