'No biography has ever before thrown so much light on the making of a masterpiece. ' Raymond Mortimer. 'Mr Painter has done his work so well that it is hard to speak in moderate terms of his skill and unobtrusive wit. ' Anthony Powell. 'Brilliant and scholarly. . . . Mr Painter's greatest triumph is in his depiction of place and people, his revelation of the raw material of the novel. ' Angus Wilson. With A LA RECHERCHE DU TEMPS PERDU Marcel Proust achieved a perfect rendering of life in art, of the past created through memory. It is both a portrait of the artist and a discovery of the aesthetic by which the portrait is painted, and it was to have a seminal influence on twentieth-century literature. George Painter's work has brilliantly captured the life of the great writer in a TOUR DE FORCE of scholarly research and literary craft.
One of the great biographies of our time, Painter's two-volume portrait of Proust was first issued in 1959 and is unlikely ever to be surpassed. It is a pleasure to have it back in print in a handsome, bulky one-volume paperback. Lovers of Proust's great novel will, of course, have read it, if only to relate the characters of A la recherche du temps perdu to the men and women who crowded Proust's own extraordinary life (this is surely the most autobiographical of novels). But this is also a book for the casual reader. Painter's insight is matched by his wit. The complex relationship between fact and fiction, characters in the book and characters in life, is convincing and illuminating. Those who have thought life two short for those wonderful seven volumes may read the biography simply as an account of an extraordinary man - and for the innumerable anecdotes of Parisian life between 1880 and 1920, which are told with a flair and a wit which matches the original actors in the comedy of Proust's existence. (Kirkus UK)