Sodom and Gomorrah opens a new phase of In Search of Lost Time. While watching the pollination of the Duchess de Guer-mantes's orchid, the narrator secretly observes a sexual encounter between two men. Flower and plant have no conscious will, Samuel Beckett wrote of Proust's representation of sexuality. They are shameless, exposing their genitals. And so in a sense are Proust's men and women . . . shameless. There is no question of right and wrong.
For this authoritative English-language edition, D. J. Enright has revised the late Terence Kilmartin's acclaimed reworking of C. K. Scott Moncrieff's translation to take into account the new definitive French editions of A la recherche du temps perdu (the final volume of these new editions was published by the Bibliotheque de la Pleiade in 1989).
“The thing about Proust is his combination of the utmost sensibility with the utmost tenacity. He searches out these butterfly shades to the last grain.”—Virginia Woolf