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Synopsis

This is the sixth major part of Marcel Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu. When Proust set out to write the novel, he had in mind two volumes, which largely make up what are now Swann's Way and Time Regained. He ended up with five volumes in between. He didn't live long enough to see all of the novel through publication, and his first translator into English, C. K. Scott Moncreiff, died before translating the last volume. Proust worked on the book in pieces and large parts of it feel more finished than others. As one wades through Proust's famously elaborate sentences, one comes to this volume and finds it feels the least polished of the lot so far. --- At the end of The Captive, Albertine, Marcel's veritible prisoner, makes her escape back to Tansonville and Marcel is shocked and, perhaps, heartbroken. This volume opens with no time having passed. Marcel copes with Albertine's audacity by becoming further obsessed over her homosexual proclivities. He held her captive in the first place, not really out of love, but out of his obsessive need to prevent her from having dalliances with women. The reader can be forgiven if he feels Marcel is a tiny bit off his rocker. Anyway, he eventually dispatches his longtime friend Robert de Saint-Loup to bribe Albertine into returning. At the same time, Marcel seems unable to realize the disturbed qualities of his obsession. Almost shockingly, in this interval, Marcel takes in a young girl. He bounces her on his knee and maybe fondles her a bit more. He finds himself up on charges for this behavior and is given a stern talking-to by a magistrate who just asks that Marcel be a bit more discreet.

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