Dr. Jules Cotard: Was he the model for Proust's character?
Note that Seize Mai was the day of a constitutional crisis, MacMahon resigned, and back in the park, while two men watched Odette parading down the avenue, one made a comment about being with her on that day (1877, in real history time). The parading, since Gilberte is already 12-ish, would have to be about 14-15 years later, say 1891-ish. This part of the novel was originally part of Place Names: The Name, but Proust's publisher thought v. 1 was getting too long, and so it was cut, to begin v.2.
There is so much space given to describing the changes of Cottard and Swann, that you could even say that the doctor changed from a buffoon to a well-respected man and Swann changed in the opposite way.
Here are some photos in the Library of Congress of Bernhardt performing in the U.S. Nice crowds.
In this exquisite portrait by Nadar (there were many, and he was the best), La Berma was only 20 years old. BTW, born Jewish & illegitimate.