Articles about Proust

From LitHub:
 How the French Reread Proust. There Are Three Types of People, and All of Them Reread Proust By Laure Murat 7/16

When Marcel Proust Was an Anxious Debut Novelist. On the Launch of In Search of Lost Time By William Carter 7/16

Six Writers on the Genius of Marcel Proust: Siri Hustvedt, Edmund White, Andre Aciman, Francine Prose, Aleksandar Hemon, and Daniel Mendelsohn  7/16

Literary Frenemies: Jean Cocteau and Marcel Proust By Claude Arnaud 10/16

On the Boyhood Classmates Who Drove Proust to Write.   First He Was Transfixed, Then He Was... Disappointed.   By Caroline Weber  5/18

On the horribly awkward night James Joyce met Marcel Proust. By Jonny Diamond 5/20

Really, Here’s Why You Should Read Proust. His Biographer Makes the Case.  By William C. Carter 7/16  

Two Never-Before-Published Letters from Marcel Proust to His Neighbor.   Lydia Davis Translates a Couple of Requests for Quiet 8/17  

The Polish Army Officer Who Conjured Proust in a Soviet Prison Camp: On Józef Czapski's Wartime Lectures  By Eric Karpeles  11/18

Interesting Random Links to the Man & the Novel

  • Someone asked The Paris Review which translation of Proust to read and their answer is "Start with Davis, then switch to Montcrieff/Enright.

  • From Paul La Farge’s Favorite Reads from 2011: "...And finally, the award for Most Shocking Rhythm Change near the End of a Long Novel goes to Marcel Proust for Le Côté de Guermantes, in which the narrator, having done more or less nothing for many hundreds of pages, finally, in a fit of rage, stomps on the Baron de Charlus’s hat." (12/15/11)

  • Lorin Stein, new editor of the Paris Review, on Jewish writers...  "...The other writers, the ones who are our age—for them it’s a fact of life that doesn’t need to be celebrated particularly. It almost sounds odd to call Lipsyte a Jewish writer. We call Proust a Jewish writer, I think, because he wrote so much about being Jewish. (Plus—if you can claim Proust, you claim Proust.) ..." (6/2/11)

  •   "...Through his eyes we see what actuates the dandy and the lover and the grandee and the hypocrite and the poseur, with a transparency unexampled except in Shakespeare or George Eliot. And this ability, so piercing and at times even alarming, is not mere knowingness. It is not, in other words, the product of cynicism. To be so perceptive and yet so innocent—that, in a phrase, is the achievement of Proust. It is also why one does well to postpone a complete reading until one is in the middle of life, and has shared some of the disillusionments and fears, as well as the delights, that come with this mediocre actuarial accomplishment."      From The Acutest Ear in Paris : Christopher Hitchens examines the Davis translation in The Atlantic Monthly, Jan 2004 

  • One-minute video of Alain de Botton telling why he wrote his self-help book, How Reading Proust Can Change Your Life. See many other videos by searching on "Marcel Proust."

  • Stephane Heuet's series of graphic-novel versions of RTP. Amazing books. NPR interviewed (4 minutes) Heuet when the combined & re-translated English edition came out in 2016 to mixed reivews.


Paul Murray, author of Skippy Dies, is reading Proust.

Angel: What are you reading? Murray: I’m reading Within a Budding Grove. Proust.

Angel: Is In Search of Lost Time a book you’ve meant to read for a long time and finally got around to reading?  Murray: Well, actually I was pretty daunted by it, so I’d set it by for my retirement. But the book I’m working on now has a French narrator so I thought I should bone up on French culture. I’m reading it in English, but I thought that this was a key text and it is the key text. I’m realizing while I’m reading it that it is so influential. 

Angel: Which translation are you reading? Murray: I’m reading the Scott Moncrieff translation.  

Angel: How many hours a day do you devote to that? Murray: Nabokov wrote an essay about the first volume in which he says, “In Search of Lost Time makes up 4,000 pages which are about a month’s reading.” That’s Nabokov. It took me a month to read the first volume. The sentences are so convoluted you have to read almost every single one twice. The first time round you’re just looking for the verb, then you go back and work out what he’s talking about. So it’s slow going. And I’m reading other stuff, too. {....}


The starting eight.... And then there were four...

Congratulations on regaining time.... 
Lynn, Monica, Terri & Renée 


Newly discovered Proust novellas to be published in October 2019

Update: 08/08/2019:  Lost Proust stories of homosexual love published as Le Mystérieux Correspondant (The Mysterious Correspondent).

Paris (AFP) 05/08/2019 - 19:40

"Fans of Marcel Proust will soon have the chance to read nine novellas from early in his career that were only unearthed last year, the Fallois publishing house said Monday. It will issue the collection on October 9 under the title The Mysterious Correspondent and Other Unpublished Novellas.

The nine texts were originally to be part of his first book, Les Plaisirs et les Jours (Pleasures and Days), a collection of poems and short stories published in 1896.  But Proust, who was still in his 20s, later decided not to include them.

They were uncovered by Bernard de Fallois, a noted Proust specialist who died last year, and founder of the Fallois publishing house. Bernard de Fallois had previously discovered a Proust novel that went unpublished in his lifetime, Jean Santeuil, as well as an unfinished text called Contre Sainte-Beuve. Both were eventually published in the 1950s.

The newfound texts show a young writer dabbling in new narrative techniques while exploring such risqué themes for the era as physical love and homosexuality. "Because of their audacity, he probably thought they would offend a social milieu dominated by traditional moral forces," the publisher said. The 180-page collection will include facsimiles of the original texts as well as analysis and critiques.

Proust, who died in 1922 at the age of 51, has been hugely influential for subsequent generations of authors, in particular for the masterpiece In Search of Lost Time, also called Remembrance of Things Past.


Time Regained VI pp 27-31

Edmond & Jules (by Nadar)
 p. 27 | The Goncourt brothers offer an intimate view into late 19th century French literary society:

 p. 27 | Eugène Fromentin (1820–76) was a French painter and writer. Madeleine is a character in his novel Dominique (1862), known for its psychological depiction of characters content with second best in life and love. In the novel, Dominique falls in love with the unattainable Madeleine, a friend’s married cousin. To overcome his disappointment, he throws himself into a Paris literary career, only to realize that his work is mediocre. 

p. 27 | Charles Blanc  (1813-82) was a French art critic.  Paul Bins, comte de Saint-Victor  (1827-81), known as Paul de Saint-Victor, was a French author and critic. Charles Sainte-Beuve (1804-69) wrote novels and poetry, but was primarily known as a French literary critic. Proust disagreed with his belief that in order to understand an artist and his work, it was necessary to understand that artist's biography and refuted it in his collection of essays Contre Sainte-Beuve ("Against Sainte-Beuve"). Philippe Burty (1830-90) was a French art critic who supported the Impressionsts, Japonism, and the revival of etching.

p. 27 | Eugène Gautier (1822-78) was a French classical violinist and composer. 

p. 27 | Les Maîtres d'autrefois ("The Masters of Past Time", 1876), art criticism by Fromentin, was an influential appreciation of early Dutch & Belgian painting, including Rubens & Rembrandt. He also contextualizes the art by noting that the Dutch Golden Age painting develops shortly after Holland won its independence. 

p. 28 | Francesco Lazzaro Guardi (1712–93) was an Italian painter, one of the last practitioners of the classic Venetian school of painting. 

p. 28 | Miramiones: Nuns of the order of S. Genevieve, named after they combined with another order of which Mme. de Miramion was the founder in 1665, for education & nursing (A Glossary of Ecclesiastical Terms, ed. Shipley).

p. 28 | Little Dunkirk, a retail shop near the Pont-Neuf that sold "... French and foreign merchandise..." (Birnie, An Economic History of Europe, 1760-1930)

p. 28 | Gabriel de Saint-Aubin (1724-80) was a French draftsman, printmaker, etcher and painter. 

p. 29 | Fermiers Généraux (publishers): a fictitious edition, referring to the 18th-century edition of La Fontaine's Contes et nouvelles en vers, which the Goncourts admired as an unparalleled example of book production (Patterson notes). The Oyster and the Litigants by Jean de La Fontaine. 

the du Barry
p. 29 | La Faustin: Edmond Goncourt novel (1882), exploring the life of a Parisian actress.

p. 30 | "...the du Barry...": Jeanne Bécu, Comtesse du Barry (1743–93) was the last mistress of Louis XV.

p. 30 | Château de Jean d'Heurs: a former abbey in Meuse where the Goncourt cousins, who kept an excellent kitchen, lived.  

p. 31 | Léoville: Wine from Château Léoville Barton.

p. 31 | The brill (Scophthalmus rhombus) is a species of flatfish in the turbot family.


Time Regained VI pp 1-27

p 1-4 | the two ways (in French, with photos; translation to come); also here.
p 7: Chinese porcelain bowl

p 7 | ... Léa dressed as a man... (cross-dressing)

p 8 |... Pascal's gulf.... From a poem titled "Le Gouffre"  ("The Gulf"), the opening lines of Baudelaire:

"Pascal avait son gouffre, avec lui se mouvant.
— Hélas! tout est abîme, — action, désir, rêve,"

"Pascal had his abyss that moved along with him.
— Alas! all is abysmal, — action, desire, dream,"

p 12 | Marienbad: Mariánské Lázně, a spa town in the Czech Republic. Most of its buildings are from its Golden Era in the second half of the 19th century, when celebrities & European rulers came to enjoy the curative carbon dioxide springs.

Empress Theodora
p 17 | Empress Theodora: (c.497-548 AD), powerful Byzantine empress, wife of Justinian I, said to have been a low-born actress.

p 21 | ...battle of Ulm...: on 16–19 October 1805 was a series of skirmishes that allowed Napoleon I to trap an entire Austrian army under the command of Karl Freiherr Mack von Leiberich with minimal losses and to force its surrender near Ulm in the Electorate of Bavaria  (wiki).  The Battle of Lule Burgas (1912) was here in the First Balkan War. (Sidenote: its emperor was Theodosius I. We see the fictional Theodosius II visit Paris twice during the novel.)

p 23 | La Fille aux yeux d'or (The Girl with the Golden Eyes): 1835 novel by Balzac, part of La Comédie humaine.

p 25 | Joseph Fourier (1768–1830) was a French mathematician and physicist known for initiating the investigation of Fourier series & their applications to problems of heat transfer and vibrations. The Fourier transform and Fourier's law are also named in his honor; also generally credited with discovering the greenhouse effect.

p 25 | Tobolsk is a town in Tyumen Oblast, Russia, located at the confluence of the Tobol and Irtysh Rivers. Founded in 1590, Tobolsk is the second oldest Russian settlement east of the Ural Mountains in Asian Russia, and is a historic capital of the Siberia region. In the early 1900s, it was famous as the administrative center of Grigori Rasputin's home province, and is located close to his birthplace.

p 26 | the Goncourt Brothers produced the Goncourt Journal together from 1850-1870, then by Edmond alone till 1896. It was a candid chronicle of the literary and artistic Parisian world in which they lived. Proust paid the Journal a tribute by including a pastiche* of it in Time Regained. Some say the Journal's obsessive chronicling of the most minute details of its authors' social lives and rendering of them into literary art anticipates Proust's novel.  (wiki) 

* A pastiche is a work of visual art, literature, theatre, or music that imitates the style or character of the work of one or more other artists. Unlike parody, pastiche celebrates, rather than mocks, the work it imitates. (wiki)


The Fugitive V pp 732-52

p 736 | "...Venus was the desire of Jove...": Not sure here, but sources say Jove was the father of Venus.
photo: Lionel Allorge

p 737 | Chevreuse Valley, sw of Versailles.

p 742 | Fabrice del Dongo : Romantic hero of Stendhal's La Chartreuse de Parme.

p 744 | paintings by Titian in the Louvre (at left, Woman with a Mirror (c. 1515).

p 746 | (Mme de) Pompadour provided Louis XV...: Wikipedia disputes this here.

p 751 | ... geometry in space..., psychology in time...


The Fugitive V pp 712-32

p 720 | War of 1870 is the name used by the French for the Franco-Prussian War.

p 722 | Gilbert the Bad | see v. 1, p. 145:  "You may depend upon it, Mme. Octave," replied the Curé. "Why, it was just his Lordship himself who started the outcry about the window, by proving that it represented Gilbert the Bad, a Lord of Guermantes and a direct descendant of Geneviève de Brabant, who was a daughter of the House of Guermantes, receiving absolution from Saint Hilaire."  ... "Gilbert's brother, Charles the Stammerer, was a pious prince, but, having early in life lost his father, Pepin the Mad, who died as a result of his mental infirmity, ...Gilbert, wishing to be avenged on Charles, caused the church at Combray to be burned down, the original church, ... Nothing remains of it now but the crypt, into which Théodore has probably taken you, for Gilbert burned all the rest." 

p 725 | Da capo: an Italian musical term that means "from the beginning" (literally, "from the head").

p 731 | Gabriel Fauré: Le Secret (video), song for voice & piano in D flat major, Op. 23/3 (1880-81); Duc de Broglie's Secret du Roi; Golgotha (According to the Gospels, Golgotha was, a site immediately outside Jerusalem's walls where Jesus was crucified... Matthew's and Mark's gospels in Latin rendered Calvariæ Locus, from which the English word Calvary derives, trans. place of skulls, or Proust's Calvus Mons, or Bald Mountain); the Parc des Buttes-Chaumont in NE Paris, is the 5th largest park in the city.

p 732 | Pascal's Pensées : The Pensées ("Thoughts") is a collection of fragments on theology and philosophy written by 17th-century philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal.