The transmutation of sensation into sentiment, the ebb tide of memory, waves of emotion such as desire, jealousy, and artistic euphoria--this is the material of this enormous and yet singularly light and translucid work.
In the overture to Swann's Way
, the themes of the whole of In Search of Lost Time
are introduced, and the narrator's childhood in Paris and Combray is recalled, most memorably in the evocation of the famous maternal good-night kiss. The recollection of the narrator's love for Swann's daughter Gilberte leads to an account of Swann's passion for Odette and the rise of the nouveaux riches Verdurins.
The final volume of a new, definitive text of A la recherche du temps perdu
was published by the Bibliotheque de la Pleiade in 1989. For this authoritative English-language edition, D. J. Enright has revised the late Terence Kilmartin's acclaimed reworking of C. K. Scott Moncrieff's translation to take into account the new French editions.