Dave Robbins: How the memory of Marcel brought me back to my student days . . .
About this time 100 years ago, an asthmatic homosexual lay in bed in a cork-lined room at No 102 Boulevard Haussmann in Paris, correcting the proofs of what would become one of the most famous – least read – books of all time.
The writer was Marcel Proust. The cork lining was to keep out noise from the street. The book was Swann's Way, the first of seven volumes that comprise In Search of Lost Time.
The book – like Joyce's Ulysses – nearly didn't get published. It was passed between publishing houses and refused by all.