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PROUST: A Biography by Ronald Hayman (HarperCollins: $29.95, illustrated )

November 11, 1990|Charles Solomon and Marcel Proust as a schoolboy.

In the decades that have elapsed since his death in 1922, critics and scholars have analyzed Marcel Proust's life in minute detail to uncover the experiences he transformed into "Remembrance of Things Past," and Ronald Hayman's new attempt is well written and scrupulously documented. Though Hayman fails to communicate the vital resonance between fact and fiction in Proust's masterpiece, as George Painter did in his celebrated two-volume study (nor does he charm the reader with his stylistic elegance, as Andre Maurois did in "Proust: Portrait of a Genius") this is a competent and workmanlike effort.

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