When, in 1896, Marcel Proust published his first book, he was twenty-five. It was a disparate collection of tales, prose poems, verses, portraits, and satires, some written at least five years earlier, entitled Les Plaisirs et les jours. This is the work (with the addition of a few items of juvenilia) newly translated and now offered to the public as Proust’s Complete Short Stories. Given the mixed nature of the contents, this title seems an approximation: the stories are there, but so are other things.

Les Plaisirs et les jours did not make much of an impression when it appeared, though it was not for want of the author’s attempts to publicize it. Through the good offices of Mme Arman de Caillavet, the Egeria of Anatole France, then regarded as one of the leading writers of the age, Proust solicited a preface from the great man (a preface said to have been written in part by the lady herself)....

 
Popular Right Now