By Lorenza Foschini, translated by Eric Karpeles (Ecco, 2010) A delightful investigation into how posthumous Proust manuscripts, and artifacts of his life, were rescued from oblivion and destruction by a wealthy French industrialist. A tale of character, intrigue and suspense told briefly and well. For further details see:
Interview with the author, Lorenza Foschini.
Marcel Proust's Search for Lost Time: A Reader's Guide to Remembrance of Things Past
By Patrick Alexander. Vintage, 2007 Easy to follow background material, synopses, character references, and much more—essentially tracking the material in this class. Good for both beginning and advanced readers of Proust.
The Banquet Years: The Origins of the Avant-Garde in France
1885-WWI, by Roger Shattuck. Vintage, 1958. One of this country's best literary critics, Roger Shattuck's comprehensive work on Proust and Proust's years still remain reference points fifty years after this book appeared—and it has never been out of print since its publication!
For the Soul of France: Culture Wars in the Age of Dreyfus
by Frederick Brown. Knopf, 2010 The Dreyfus Affair was the major political event in Proust's younger years. This excellent, very readable recent study puts Dreyfus and his tribulations in the context of the political struggle between various right wing and progressive forces in France over the course of Proust's lifetime.
The Vertigo Years
Europe 1900-1914, by Philip Blom. Basic Books, 2008. A highly interesting, very well researched survey of various triumphs, inventions, eccentricities and horrors in early 20th century Europe. Proust would have known of all of these, and indeed alluded to some of them in his writing.