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Proust by Edmund White Phoenix, £6.99, 149pp

Proust by Edmund White Phoenix, £6.99, 149pp

Perceptive, engaging and admirably concise, this is the perfect introduction to the great Marcel. We learn that Proust was a "screamingly funny" mimic who spent six years "consumed" by Ruskin. His homosexual "closetness" led him to create "female characters who are undoubtedly boys in drag". Contemporaries dismissed him as a popinjay who wrote social tittle-tattle for the papers, but Proust "was the first to describe the permanent instability of our times". White makes you itch to read him.

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