- Proust both coveted and despised the society in which he lived.
- À la recherche du temps perdu is a 'feminist Gothic horror story'.
- The scene in which Vinteuil's daughter commits an act of Sadeism by spitting on a photograph of her parents sets up the whole novel.
- No one does primal scenes quite like Proust...
- The hypocricy, social fussiness, dizzy ascent and subsequent precipitous decline are all symptoms of social upheaval.
- After attending Zola's trial, Proust asked himself how to introduce history and social justice into À la recherche du temps perdu without destroying it.
- Proust was a total snob, but his book is an analysis of snobbery.
- Proust's mother was Jewish but he was baptized as a Catholic.
- The 'intermittencies of the heart' section of Volume Four: Sodom and Gomorrah is the greatest ever piece of writing on grief.
Novelist, poet, Director of the Fiction Programme at Faber Academy.