High Society, Low Life
Marcel Proust’s novel Remembrance of Things Past begins, as I discussed in an earlier piece (SF no. 56), with the narrator recalling the times he spent as a boy in his great-aunt’s house in the village of Combray. There were two walks the family regularly took from the house, one in the direction of a property owned by a family friend, M. Swann, and the other in the direction of an estate owned by a very grand aristocratic family with local connections, the Guermantes. The Way by Swann’s, the first walk, is the name of the first book of Proust’s novel. The Guermantes Way, the second walk, is the name of the third, and with it the narrator and reader enter a new world, of dukes and duchesses, princes and princesses, and all the high society of Paris’s fashionable Faubourg Saint-Germain.