Benjamin Taylor, Proust: The Search, New Haven, Yale University Press, “Jewish Lives”, 2015
Biographie, 224 pages
Marcel Proust came into his own as a novelist comparatively late in life, yet only Shakespeare, Balzac, Dickens, Tolstoy, and Dostoyevsky were his equals when it came to creating characters as memorably human. As biographer Benjamin Taylor suggests, before writing In Search of Lost Time, his multivolume masterwork, Proust was a literary lightweight, but, following a series of momentous historical and personal events, he became—against all expectations—one of the greatest writers of his, and indeed any, era. This insightful, beautifully written biography examines Proust’s artistic growth and stunning metamorphosis in the context of his times. Taylor provides an in-depth study of the author’s life while exploring how Proust’s personal correspondence and published works were greatly informed by his mother’s Judaism, his homosexuality, and such dramatic historical events as the Dreyfus Affair and, above all, the First World War. Benjamin Taylor is a founding member of the Graduate Writing Program faculty at the New School and the author or editor of six previous books, including The Book of Getting Even and Saul Bellow: Letters.