This study reveals reading to be one of the main activities to occupy the inhabitants of the world of Marcel Prousts novel A la recherche du temps perdu. Characters do not just read books but have access to the journals and newspapers of a rapidly expanding print industry. They receive letters and postcards from family and friends. The posters of a nascent advertising industry tempt them to spend an evening at the theatre or a holiday by the sea, and new forms of communication, such as telegraphy, enter their lives and require new strategies of deciphering. All human activity is glossed by means of a series of metaphors of reading, extending the readers domain beyond the written text. Through a series of illuminating analyses, Teresa Whitington shows how this web of references builds into a specifically Proustian account of both the outer, social context of reading and the inner, psychological world of the reader. Proust offers a contribution to the history of reading in the France of his own lifetime and suggests that reading is the very condition of the writing of his fiction.