Marcel Proust (1871–1922) was a French novelist, critic, and essayist. Born in Auteuil, Paris, Proust began his literary career writing criticism and short stories for Le Banquet, La Revue Blanche, and Le Figaro. At 38 years old, Proust began gathering material for what would become his monumental epic, In Search of Lost time, which he would work on for the rest of his life. Published in seven volumes between 1913 and 1927, the second volume won the Prix Goncourt, France's most prestigious literary prize. The monumental epic tracks economic and cultural change taking place in France at the end of the Third Republic; its play with the themes of memory and time earned him a reputation as one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century.