Des Esseintes, the decadent hero of J. K. Huysmans' novel Against the Grain and Baron Palamede de Charlus of Proust's Remembrance of Things Past are each based in part on the same man, the first when he was young, and second during his maturity. Who was he? Entries (one per person) must be clearly written on postcards and mailed to: The Book Bag, The Washinton Post, Washington, D.C. 20071, and must include complete return address and competition number.

The winning entry will be the first correct answer drawn at random. Employes of The Washington Post Company and their families are not eligible to enter. Entries must be received no later than July 28. The winner's name and city of residence will be announced in the August 3 Book World. A Washington Post Book World book bag will be sent to the winner. BOOK BAG XLVI:

Question: Hester Prynne, in Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, is only one in a long line of literary adulterers. Name the 1930s British mystery romance and the 19th-century Russian novel with eponymous characters who commit adultery. Answer: Rebecca, by Daphne du Maurier and Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy. The winner: Robert W. Holt of Centreville, Va.