Kirk McElhearn reads Proust in Paris & London

Kirk McElhearn, an American in Paris & London, has written a wonderful essay on re-reading Proust. The pleasures are even greater, the second time around, because you know the characters and you know what's going to happen. Try this page to read his reviews of critical texts, audio books, and biographies.


Pages for October

10/6 ::The name Simonet (519, 528, 578). Rest before dinner: different aspects of the sea (523).

10/13 :: Dinners at Rivebelle (529). The astral tables (533). Euphoria induced by alcohol and music (534-39).

10/20 ::  Euphoria induced by alcohol and music (539-53)

10/27 ::  Meeting with Elstir (553). A new aspect of Albertine (558-64).


Side quotes Archives

How Aunt Léonie was like Louis XIV...
My mother was afraid lest Françoise develop a genuine hatred of my aunt, who was doing everything in her power to annoy her. However, Françoise had come, more and more, to pay an infinitely scrupulous attention to my aunt’s least word and gesture. When she had to ask her for anything she would hesitate, first, for a long time, making up her mind how best to begin. And when she had uttered her request, she would watch my aunt covertly, trying to guess from the expression on her face what she thought of it, and how she would reply. And in this way — whereas an artist who had been reading memoirs of the 17th century, and wished to bring himself nearer to the great Louis, would consider that he was making progress in that direction when he constructed a pedigree that traced his own descent from some historic family, or when he engaged in correspondence with one of the reigning Sovereigns of Europe, and so would shut his eyes to the mistake he was making in seeking to establish a similarity by an exact and therefore lifeless copy of mere outward forms — a middle-aged lady in a small country town, by doing no more than yield whole-hearted obedience to her own irresistible eccentricities, and to a spirit of mischief engendered by the utter idleness of her existence, could see, without ever having given a thought to Louis XIV, the most trivial occupations of her daily life, her morning toilet, her luncheon, her afternoon nap, assume, by virtue of their despotic singularity, something of the interest that was to be found in what Saint-Simon used to call the ‘machinery’ of life at Versailles; and was able, too, to persuade herself that her silence, a shade of good humour or of arrogance on her features, would provide Françoise with matter for a mental commentary as tense with passion and terror, as did the silence, the good humour or the arrogance of the King when a courtier, or even his greatest nobles, had presented a petition to him, at the turning of an avenue, at Versailles.

From Contre Sainte-Beuve:
Perhaps, too, they may grant me that ravishing thing: a pleasure of the imagination, a pleasure of no reality, the only true pleasure of the poet; in a minute of real life they may grant me one of the rare moments that bring no disillusionment in their train. And from this impression and others like it something common to them all is liberated, something whose superiority to our everyday realities, even the realities of thought, and passion, and sentiment, we shall never be able to account for. Yet this superiority is so positive that it is almost the only thing we can never doubt. And when we recognise this thing, this common essence of our impressions, we feel a pleasure like no other pleasure, and while it stays with us we know that death is negligible. And after we have read pages containing the loftiest thought and the noblest sentiments and have remarked, “That’s really quite good,” if, suddenly and without our knowledge why or wherefore, from some seemingly casual word a breath of that essence is wafted to us, we know that this is Beauty.


Notes for Sept 1, 2011 (p 522-32)

p 522 | Pencil drawings  by Pisanello. The drawing of Sigismund of Luxembourg is in the Louvre; did Proust see it there?
Gallé's glassÉmile Gallé, Art Nouveau artist who worked in glass.

p 523 | confraternity: a group of men united for some particular purpose, esp Christian laymen organized for religious or charitable service; brotherhood [from Medieval Latin: confraternitas; see confrère, fraternity]
reliquary:   (Ecclesiastical Terms) a receptacle or repository for relics, esp relics of saints [from Old French reliquaire, from relique relic]
| predella : (Art) a painting or sculpture or a series of small paintings or sculptures in a long narrow strip forming the lower edge of an altarpiece or the face of an altar step or platform.
| reredos:  a screen or wall decoration on the wall at the back of an altar, as a tapestry, painting, or piece of metalwork or sculpture.
|  <-- gray mullet 
p 526 | butterfly signature of James McNeill Whistler; his painting of Lady Meux, titled "Harmony in Pink and Grey."
| What Marcel saw out the window.... click "Photo Gallery" for Grand Hotel (modern) photos.  Webcams at Balbec.  
p 527 | First mention of Dreyfus! (So the year is maybe summer of 1895?)
p 529 | Cauteries... cautery: Agent or instrument that destroys abnormal tissue by burning, searing, or scarring, including caustic substances, electric currents, lasers, and very hot or very cold instruments.
p 531 | a fortiori: for similar but more convincing reasons.


Le Cercle de la Rue Royale (p 481)

Le Balcon du Cercle de la Rue Royale, by James Tissot, 1868

p 481 |  The Rue Royale was an exclusive men's club, not snooty enough for Saint-Loup's family, whose father had been  president of the Jockey Club, since Jews were occasionally admitted (see Charles Haas, far right).  From left to right: Comte de La Tour-Maubourg, Marquis de Lau, Comte de Ganay, Comte de Rochechouart, C. Vansittant, Marquis de Miramon, Baron Hottinguer (former owner of the painting), Marquis de Ganay, Gaston de Saint-Maurice, Prince de Polignac, Marquis de Gallifet et Charles Haas (standing on the step, not quite in... Haas was the main model for Charles Swann).


Notes for August (p 467-81)

p 467 | Monomotapa was a Kafir territory in SE Africa, thought to be mythological, but attested to by Portuguese & Dutch sources from the 16th century onward, and continuing as far northward as beyond the Zambezi. La Fontaine (1621-95) seems to have chosen it as an example of an exotic distant land.  [fn 1, re: The Two Friends (VIII, 11), p. 423, The Complete Fables of Jean de La Fontaine, by Jean de La Fontaine, Norman R. Shapiro. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 2007} See also Wikipedia for Kingdom of Mutapa.

Alfred de Musset
p 475 | Alfred de Musset  (1810 – 57; Académicien): French dramatist, poet, novelist & lover of George Sand. L'espoir en Dieu was a poem published in La Revue des Deux Mondes in 1838.

p 476 | Mme Cornuel: Anne-Marie Bigot, dame Cornuel (1614 (?) - 94), French salonista, aphorist, and wit of the 17th century. She is credited with saying "No man is a hero to his valet."
| ... swallow-tail coat: The front is cut away, leaving just the tails in back. See this page and Wikipedia.

p 478 | ... pepla: variant of peplum (flounce or short, flared flap attached at the waist of a dress, blouse, coat, etc., and extending around the hips).
|... fandangle: variant of fandango (foolish act, nonsense).
|... calumniate: slander
|... rigmarole: foolish or incoherent rambling talk or nonsense; an involved, fussy, time-wasting procedure
 p 480 | ...consanguinity: blood relationship, or other close association or connection
Duke d'Aumale

| Duke d'Aumale: (Prince) Henri Louis d'Orléans, duc d'Aumale (1822–97), 5th son of Louis-Philippe, King of the French & Duc d'Orléans and Marie Amalie of Bourbon-Sicilies, was a leader for the Orleanist cause of a constitutional monarchy in France (Wiki).
| ...Princesse Murat/Queen of Naples: This was Caroline Bonaparte.

p 481| Victoria carriage: French carriage, named for Queen Victoria at least by 1844, and renowned for its elegance. It was first imported into England by the Prince of Wales in 1869, where it rapidly gained popularity. It was usually pulled by one or two horses. The victoria was a low, light, four-wheeled, doorless vehicle with a forward-facing seat for two persons covered with a folding top, or calash, and a removable, elevated coachman’s seat above the front axle. The graceful body curved down from the coachman’s seat to the floorboards, and up again like a gently sloping chair. The Grand Victoria had a rumble seat for two extra passengers.  (Brittanica)


Video Proust

Ronald Bergan on his role in the longest film ever. Okay, this 3-year-old post from the Guardian references this "home video" recording of A la recherche du temps perdu. You can go to this website, type in a page number (9, 24 and other random numbers worked for me; 1 did not), click voir, and watch regular people read a page o'Proust. I will do one too, as soon as I can figure out how. Anyone else?


Notes for July (v ii p 449-)

| M. first sees Charlus at Tansonville:  “Gilberte, come along; what are you doing?” called out in a piercing tone of authority a lady in white, whom I had not seen until that moment, while, a little way beyond her, a gentleman in a suit of linen ‘ducks,’ whom I did not know either, stared at me with eyes which seemed to be starting from his head; the little girl’s smile abruptly faded, and, seizing her trowel, she made off without turning to look again in my direction, with an air of obedience, inscrutable and sly."
 by Armand Guillaumin
p 450 |  "Possessing, by virtue of his descent from the Ducs de Nemours and Princes de Lamballe, documents, furniture, tapestries, portraits painted for his ancestors by Raphael, Velasquez, Boucher, ..."
Lebourg: Notre-Dame de Paris et la Seine 

| "a ‘modern style’ of decoration, employing Lebourg or Guillaumin."

|"she regarded Princes as enviable above all other men because they were able to have a Labruyère, a Fénelon as their tutors..."  

French noble titles - Notes for July (v ii p 449-)

From a rather interesting article on French nobility and/or titles over at Heraldica.org:
"The origin of modern titles like duke, marquis, count lie in public offices held under Merovingian kings (6th-8th c.).
  • A duke (Latin dux, literally "leader") was the governor of a province, usually a military leader.
  • A count (Latin comes, literally "companion") was an appointee of the king governing a city and its immediate surroundings, or else a high-ranking official in the king's immediate entourage (the latter called "palace counts" or "counts Palatine").
  • A marquis was a count who was also the governor of a "march," a region at the boundaries of the kingdom that needed particular protection against foreign incursions (margrave in German).
  • A viscount was the lieutenant of a count, either when the count was too busy to stay at home, or when the county was held by the king himself.
  • A baron (a later title) was originally a direct vassal of the king, or of a major feudal lord like a duke or a count.
  • A castellan (châtelain) was the commander in charge of a castle.  A few castellanies survived with the title of "sire."
"An edict of 1575, rarely enforced, established a minimum size and income for the land to which the created title was attached, thus establishing a hierarchy which was purely notional:
  • duc (duke)
  • marquis (marquis)
  • comte (earl)
  • vicomte (viscount)
  • baron (baron)"


Proust Online Course

Professor Carter's online Proust course appears to be ongoing.


Biographical essay

Here's a short biographical essay by Charles Matthews at his Proust-reading weblog.


Notes for July (v ii p 446-49)

p 446 | "horseman beloved of Ares" (Greek god of war)
| "shore of Amphitrite" (Greek goddess of the sea, wife of Poseidon)
| "swift-shipped Meniers": probably refers to Henri Menier (1853-1913), a wealthy French yachting enthusiast, but may also include the rest of the family.
p 447 Charles Leconte de Lisle, French poet, 1818-94. 
| José-Maria de Heredia, Cuban-French poet, 1842-1905. Académician
| Parnassians: As a reaction to romantic poetry, this 19th century school of mostly French poets emphasized art for art’s sake, strict form & meter, and emotional detachment. 
| Suez Canal board (M. de Marsantes)
| Stereoscope: a 3-dimensional photo viewer; special cameras took these pictures.
p 448 | Incarville; Incarville to Cabourg [Balbec]
| Podestà:  Italian officials
| Renaissance medals:   historical records of events & leading figures of the Quattrocento, intended to be the chief source for posterity for the lives of deliberately glorified individuals. a recent sale; images
p 449 | violas da gamba, violas d'amore
| Phoenix Club: fictional exclusive club, founded by Charlus & his society friends
| Jockey Club: elite society gathering-place; photo
| Comte de Paris:  Philippe d'Orléans, Count of Paris (1838 – 1894) was the grandson of Louis Philippe I, King of the French. He was a claimant to the French throne from 1848 until his death.


Notes for July (v ii p 443-46)

p 443 | M. Legrandin (in Combray, engineer & man of letters; in Balbec, Mme de Cambremer’s brother).
| Jules-Amédée Barbey d'Aurevilly (1808-89), Catholic dandy & polemicist from Normandy who wrote novels of provincial life in a belated Gothic-Romantic and derivatively Balzacian vein.
p 444 | "... Zeus Kronion. ..." here, and elsewhere, Bloch borrows tags from Leconte de Lisle's poems & translations from the Greek.
| "... black Ker.." female spirit of violent death (Greek).

| Samuel Bernard (1651-1739) Protestant banker who provided important funding for France during the reigns of Louis XIV & Louis XV.


Pages for July

July 7: Bloch and his father (443; cf. 476). The stereoscope (447).   M. de Charlus’s strange behavior (455).

July 14: Mme de Villeparisis is a Guermantes (456). I recognize him as the man in the grounds of Tansonville (458; cf. I 199). Further weird behavior (463).

July 21:  Mme de Sévigné, La Fontaine and Racine (467). Charlus comes to my room (471). Dinner at the Blochs’ with Saint-Loup (474). To know “without knowing” (477). Bloch’s sisters (477).

July 28:  The elegance of “Uncle Solomon” (481). Nissim Bernard (482); his lies (485). Bloch and Mme Swann in the train (489). Françoise’s view of Bloch and Saint-Loup (490). Saint-Loup and his mistress (490). 


Notes for June (v II p 427-37)

p 427 | François-Adrien Boieldieu, French composer, 1775-1834, mostly operas, sometimes called "the French Mozart."
| Eugène Labiche, French playwright, 1815-88. Some consider him the equal of Molière; his plays are more complex & less coarse than other French farces. Académicien

p 428 | "... the wrong notes of ...." Anton Rubinstein, Russian pianist & composer, 1829-94. -->

| According to The Esoteric Curiosa and other Proust scholars, Robert de Saint-Loup was, at least partially, based on Proust's blond friend Paul Ernest Boniface de Castellane, the Marquis de CastellaneV

p 434 | caravanserais: a large inn enclosing a courtyard providing accommodation for caravans. Scroll down for a look. 
| 'lighftboy':  Bloch's funny pronunciation of 'liftboy' (with a long 'i'). See p 435-6. 

p 435 | corn-chandler:  retail dealer in corn, grains, and seeds. 
| punter:  gambler, esp. one who bets against a bookmaker. 
| phalanx:  A group of people or similar things forming a compact body or brought together for common purpose. 

p 436 | Stones of Venice by John Ruskin.  See Venice images here.

William Morris' Kelmscott Press Edition of Ruskin

Actual leaf from the Ruskin's notebook, at the Morgan Museum, NYC
p 437 | "Ill-breeding" = "la mauvaise education"
| photo of poppy fields
| “Common sense is the best distributed thing in the world, for everyone thinks he is so well-endowed with it that even those who are hardest to satisfy in all other matters are not in the habit of desiring more of it than they already have.” --  Rene Descartes
| The frequency of the virtues that are identical in us all is not more wonderful than the multiplicity of the defects that are peculiar to each one of us.
| But the variety of our defects is no less remarkable than the similarity of our virtues. p 438


Notes for June (v II p 415-22)

Duc de Nemours
p 415:  | The Marquise mentions the Duc de Nemours carrying a package up to her father. He was really Prince Louis d'Orléans, 2nd son of future king, Louis-Philippe. 
| The "unfortunate" Duchesse de Praslin had been murdered in 1847, most likely by her husband Charles de Choiseul-Praslin, an event that indirectly affected the start of the 1848 Revolution. Read the sordid story here
p 416: | The Choiseul family of Champagne.
Louis the Fat
| Louis the Fat (Louis le Gros) = Louis VI, King of France, 1108-37.
| Louis de Loménie (French scholar & writer, Académicien, 1815–78).
| Louis-Mathieu Molé, 1781-1855, French statesman, 18th Prime Minister, Académicien.
| Ximénès Doudan, French writer, 1800-82.
| Joseph Joubert, 1754-1824, writer, see samples translated by Paul Auster.
|"...the materialist position appeared to be crumbling..." 

p 420 | Saumur=historic west/central French town that has military training schools.
| Doncières is in Lorraine in northeastern France.

| Monocles, old and new
p 422 | Carriage-and-pair  -->

p 425 | Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher, 1844-1900.

| Pierre-Joseph Proudhon,  French philosopher, 1809-65. 
| Comte de Marsantes = Saint-Loup’s father


Dennis Abrams on three trees at Hudmisil

Quoting from The Proust Project.

Dinner Guests of Mme de Villeparisis' Parents

  • CHOPIN, Frédéric (French/Polish composer, 1810-49)
  • LISZT, Franz (Hungarian composer, 1811-86)
  • LAMARTINE, Alphonse de (French poet, 1790-1869)
  • CHATEAUBRIAND, François-René, Vicomte de (French writer & statesman, 1768-1848)
  • BALZAC, Honoré de (French novelist, 1799-1850)
  • HUGO, Victor (French poet, novelist & playwright, 1802-85)
  • VIGNY, Alfred de (French poet, 1797-1863)
  • Molé, Mathieu Louis (French judge & statesman, 1781-1855)
  • FONTANES, Louis, Marquis de (French man of letters & statesman, 1757-1821)
  • VITROLLES, Eugene Francois Augusto d'Arnaud, Baron (French politician, 1774-1854)
  • BERSOT, Ernest (French philosopher & journalist, 1816-80)
  • PASQUIER, Etienne Denis, Duc de (French statesman & author, 1767-1862),
  • LEBRUN, Pierre-Antoine (French poet, 1785-1873)
  • SALVANDY, Comte de (French writer & politician, 1795-1856)
  • DARU, Pierre-Bruno, comte (French politician & writer, 1767-1829)
  • STENDHAL [Henri Beyle] (French novelist, 1783-1842)
  • MÉRIMÉE, Prosper (French novelist, 1803-70)
  • SAINTE-BEUVE, Charles-Augustin (French writer, 1804-69); information on Sainte-Beuve's ideas about literary criticism and Proust's response to them (Contre Sainte-Beuve)
Dennis Abrams, over at The Cork-Lined Room, notes why it is important to pay attention to Proust's -- and his characters' -- name-dropping. 

Notes for May (pages 388-94)

Mme BLANDAIS: wife of the notary from LeMans on holiday at the Grand Hotel (388).  ... 

...a young page who attracted the eye no less by the unusual and effective colouring of his hair than by his plant-like epidermis. Inside, in the hall, corresponding to the narthex, or Church of the Catechumens in a primitive basilica...(388)
  The narthex of a church is the entrance or lobby area, located at the end of the nave, at the far end from the church's main altar. Catechumen, in the early Church, was the name applied to one who had not yet been initiated into the sacred mysteries, but was undergoing a course of preparation for that purpose. 

"...like those pupils of Mme. de Maintenon who, in the garb of young Israelites, carry on the action whenever Esther or Joad ‘goes off.’ (389)
Françoise d'Aubigné, Mme de MAINTENON, (mistress, later wife of Louis XIV, 1635-1719)

Boys of humble background might become pages, or apprentice footmen. Unlike the hall boys, who did heavy work, these pages performed light odd jobs and were liveried when the aristocrat was entertaining.

...The arborescent page... (389)  arborescent:  Like a tree in structure, growth, or appearance; branching. About 1675, from Latin arborescens, present active participle of arboresco (“become a tree”). All one image: he's set on "alien soil" witn a "vegetable immobility."
Apple tree in bloom
"...I sought to carry them back in my imagination to that roadside, to multiply them, to spread them out, so as to fill the frame prepared for them, on the canvas, all ready, of those closest to the outline of which I knew by heart, which I so longed to see—which one day I must see again, at the moment when, with the exquisite fervour of genius, spring was covering their canvas with its colours..." (390)

..."sun radiant" ... ("soleil rayonnant", 390) : quoting Baudelaire's Chant d'automne (Song of Autumn)

... Leconte de Lisle's beautiful image of birds & boats (391), from the Oresteia of Aeschylus.

...The church at Carqueville, "quite buried in its old ivy" (391-2) is based on the church at Criqueboeuf. Another picture is here.
 Mme de Villeparisis paints flowers in watercolor (392), as did Proust's great friend & benefactor, Madeleine Lemaire.  She illustrated Proust's book of stories, arranged introductions, and invited him to her salon. 
... the conversational talent of Louis-Philippe...( 394). Wiki.  His museum.


Notes for May (p II 387-88)

But before all this I had drawn back my own curtains, impatient to know what Sea it was that was playing that morning by the shore, like a Nereid. (387)

THE NEREIDES (or Nereids) were 50 Haliad Nymphs or goddesses of the sea; patrons of sailors & fishermen, who assisted men in distress; goddesses who had the sea's bounty in their care. Individually they also represented facets of the sea, i.e, salty brine, foam, sand, rocky shores, waves and currents, as well as the skills possessed by seamen. The Nereides dwelt with their elderly father Nereus in a silvery cavern at the bottom of the Aegean Sea. Thetis was their unofficial leader, and Amphitrite was the queen of the sea. Together with the Tritones they formed the retinue of Poseidon.  In ancient art, they were depicted as beautiful young maidens, sometimes running with small dolphins or fish in their hands, or riding on the back of dolphins, hippokampoi (fish-tailed horses) and other sea creatures.
"...disclose to my wondering eyes the nymph Glauconome, whose lazy beauty, gently breathing, had the transparence of a vaporous emerald beneath whose surface I could see teeming the ponderable elements that coloured it? She made the sun join in her play, with a smile rendered languorous by an invisible haze which was nought but a space kept vacant about her translucent surface, which, thus curtailed, became more appealing, like those goddesses whom the sculptor carves in relief upon a block of marble, the rest of which he leaves unchiselled..."   
 GLAUKONOME was the Nereid of the "mastering the grey" sea. (cf. Hesiod, Apollodorus)

"...seated beside Mme. de Villeparisis in her barouche..."  (A 4-wheel fancy carriage with a fold-up hood at the back and with two inside seats facing each other.)
Saint-Mars le Vêtu ... or Quetteholme (387): fictional towns near Balbec;   FÉTERNE. The Cambremer estate near Balbec (388).


Pages for May 2011

May 5: Different seas (387). Drives with Mme de Villeparisis (387). The ivy-covered church (391). Mme de Villeparisis’s con­versation (394, 408). Norman girls (396). 

May 12:  The handsome fisher-girl (402). The three trees of Hudimesnil (404; cf. I 254). The fat Duchesse de La Rochefoucauld (416).

May 19: My grandmother and I: intimations of death (419).  Robert de Saint-Loup (421). My friendship with him (430), but real happiness requires solitude (431; cf. 664).

May 26:  Saint-Loup as a work of art: the “nobleman” (432). A Jewish colony (432). Va­riety of human failings and similarity of virtues (436). Bloch’s bad manners (442). Bloch and his father (443; cf. 476).  


I said to myself: "Here I am: this is the Church of Balbec. This square, which looks as though it were conscious of its glory, is the only place in the world that possesses Balbec church. All that I have seen so far have been photographs of this church—and of these famous Apostles, this Virgin of the Porch, mere casts only. Now it is the church itself, the statue itself, they, the only ones—this is something far greater."


Pages for April 2011

April 7:   My grandmother’s kindness (334). The sea in the morning (341). Balbec tourists (345). 

April 14:  Bal­bec and Rivebelle (346). Mme de Villeparisis (349). M. and Mlle de Stermaria (351). An actress and three friends (352). The weekly Cambremer garden-party (355). 

April 21:  Resemblances (358). Po­etic visions of Mlle de Stermaria (364). The general manager (367). Françoise’s Grand Hotel connections (369). 

April 28:  Meeting of Mme de Villeparisis and my grandmother (371). The “sordid moment” at the end of meals (372; cf. 613). The Princesse de Luxembourg (377). Mme de Villeparisis, M. de Norpois and my father (381). The bourgeoisie and the Faubourg Saint-Ger­main (384).


Balbec is Cabourg

Map showing Paris to Cabourg; click the + to zoom in.

Balbec is the fictional name of Cabourg, a town near the sea in the Basse-Normandie region of France. Proust spent the summers of 1907 and 1914 in the Grand Hôtel at Cabourg. Random walk site.
Gare de Dives-Cabourg, Dives-sur-Mer. From Gregory Deryckère 

Train station in Balbec-Plage (right);

Proust in Cabourg (photos and audio); 

The Grand Hotel still looks like a great place for les vacances  (below)

Getting ready for Balbec

Full text of Place-Names: the Place (at the end of Swann's Way)
Place-names on the way to Bal­bec-Plage (326).

[p303] Gare Saint-Lazare : Important Parisian railway station

 ..."certain skies painted with an almost Parisian modernity by ..."Andrea Mantegna (1431-1506) and Paolo Veronese (1528–88): 

(above)  Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, marquise de Sévigné (1626-96)  [p305]; one of her many letters (right)
[p308] "... not the enraptured traveller Ruskin speaks of..."
John Ruskin (1819–1900) was an English art critic and social thinker, also remembered as a poet and artist. His essays on art and architecture were extremely influential in the Victorian and Edwardian eras. He was also a great traveller and travel writer; see this Times article.
[p309] Chardin or Whistler 
[p310] Marcus Atilius Regulus: Roman general and consul; not sure what text his mother is quoting. 
[p311] Villa Montretout
[p314] Mme de Simiane: "Mme de Sévigné corresponded with her daughter for nearly thirty years. A clandestine edition, containing twenty-eight letters or portions of letters, was published in 1725, followed by two others the next year. Pauline de Simiane, Mme de Sévigné's granddaughter, decided to officially publish her grandmother's correspondence." (wiki)
[p322] Trocadéro museum, changed from Proust's time, now contains the Musée national des Monuments Français, which is where M. saw the casts of the statues of the church.
[p324] Quimperlé ; Pont-Aven


Pages for March 2011

3/3: Cruel memories (278). Gilberte’s strange laugh, evoked in a dream (281; cf. 217). Fewer visits to Mme Swann (283). Exchange of tender letters, progress of indifference (286). 

3/10: Exchange of tender letters and progress of indifference (286). Approach of spring: Mme Swann’s ermine and the guilder-roses in her drawing-room; nostalgia for Combray (288). Odette and the “Down-and-outs Club” (290). An intermediate social class (295).

3/17:  NEW BOOK! Part 2 PLACE-NAMES:  THE PLACE (searchable text online)
Departure for Balbec (299). Subjectiveness of love (300). Contradictory effects of habit (301). Railway stations (303). Françoise’s simple and infallible taste (309).  Alcoholic euphoria (312). Mme de Sévigné and Dostoyevski (315). Sunrise from the train (316); the milk-girl (317). Balbec church (322). “The tyranny of the Particular” (324).

3/24: Place-names on the way to Bal­bec-Plage (326). Arrival at Balbec-Plage (327). The manager of the Grand Hotel (327, 332). My room at the top of the hotel (333; cf. I 8). Attention and habit (333, 339). My grandmother’s kindness (334). 


Radio Proust has been updated

Have a look at the Radio Proust website at Bard.  Many updates, videos, new photographs, and links to information and courses.


Notes for February [241-51]

  • Grebe:  a diving bird without webbed feet. Really nice photo of a French grebe is here; look at the large size to see feather details. [p.242]
  • Cockade : a badge on a hat; more pictures here. [p.242]
  • Lohengrin is an opera by Richard Wagner (wiki). Here's a synopsis of Lohengrin at the Metropolitan Opera House website. [p. 246]. 
  • 1928 lithograph advertising Maitre Fleurs Naturelles, an important Parisian florist of the day. [p.243]
  • LACHAUME was -- and still is -- one of the important florists in Paris. Probably as expensive as Odette said... [p.244]


Mariano Fortuny

Thanks to VA for finding this terrific page highlighting one gorgeous Fortuny gown, as well as the video that follows. We'll read more about him later in the book, but it's interesting that this sale page quotes Proust.  Wonder what it sold for...

And here's a video from Otis Fashion College showing more of his gorgeous clothes:

UPDATE 5/9/11: Thanks to un home sobrer in Barcelona for sending this link to a Fortuny exhibition held there some time ago. He points out that Mariano Fortuny Madrazo (Granada 1871 - Venice 1949) was the son of Catalan painter Marià Fortuny i Marsal,  who died all too soon in Rome in 1874. This kind of international cultural sharing is quite amazing!

Notes for February 2011 [229-49]

  • Gift books of P.-J. Stahl [229]: P.-J. Stahl was the adapter of Little Women and Hans Brinker and is the pen-name of M. Pierre-Jules Hetzel, the publisher of the magazine Magasin d'éducation et de récréation ("Education and Entertainment Magazine") and longtime editor of Jules Verne. Reproduction here. More about Hertzel & Verne here.  "Molly remembered the quality of illustration in her children's books 'The pictures in our books were well drawn, but colour was very rare and highly prized' she recalled (A London Child, p. 51). She had a copy of P. J. Stahl Little Rosy's Voyage Round the World (1869) in English, it was a 'prime favourite' because each adventure was accompanied by a full-page illustration by Lorenz Frolich.

Battle of Grathe Heath by Lorenz Frolich
Louis XVI  drawing rooms (1643-1715); includes voyeuse chairs, with padded backs, so men could sit astride & rest their arms on them, perhaps to watch gambling. History of furniture link here.
Japanese Iris

Mlle Lili, heroine of the story
two intaglios cut into a topaz [230]
Parma violets [231]
Lespinasse [232]
du Deffand [232]

Henry Gréville (October 12, 1842, Paris - 1902), pen name for Mrs. Alice Durand, born Fleury, was a French writer.  This gown was an illustration in one of her books. [233]

Louis XV silk [233]

Empire samovar
Empire Samovar

samovar is a heated metal container traditionally used to heat and boil water in and around Russia, as well as in other CentralSouth-EasternEastern European countries, and in the Middle-East. Since the heated water is usually used for making tea, many samovars have an attachment on the tops of their lids to hold and heat a teapot filled with tea concentrate..  Though traditionally heated with coal or charcoal, many newer samovars use electricity and heat water in a similar manner as an electric water boiler. Antique samovars are often displayed for their beautiful workmanship. [233]

Jockey Club [234]
Scullion, male counterpart to Scullery maid, servant who performed menial kitchen jobs (washing, cleaning, etc.) in large households during Middle Ages and Renaissance. [237]


Redfern fashion,  c. 1913... [238]
Fecit? (made it, created it)
Raudnitz [238]


Proust Literary Tour

Information on touring all the fun Proust sites in France.

Pages for February 2011

2/3:  Odette’s “winter-garden” (228): splendor of the chrysan­themums and poverty of the conversation: Mme Cottard (234); Mme Bontemps (234); her sassy niece Albertine (237); the Prince d’Agrigente (239);

2/10:  Mme Verdurin visits Mme Swann (239-42). Mmes Cottard & Bontemps, flowers, hats, invitations (242-50)

2/17:  Painful New Year’s Day (251). “Suicide of that self which loved Gilberte” (255). Clumsy interventions (256). Letters to Gilberte: “one speaks for oneself alone” (259). Odette’s drawing-room: retreat of the Far East & invasion of the 18th century (261-65).

2/24: New hair-styles and silhouettes (265; cf. I 278).  A sudden impulse interrupts the cure of detachment (271); Aunt Léonie’s Chinese vase (272). Two walkers in the Elysian twilight (273). Impossibility of happiness (274). The opposing forces of memory and imagination (276). Because of Gilberte, Marcel declines a dinner-party invitation where he would have met Albertine (277).


Random Proust Sightings

February 15, 2011 Posted by Vicky Raab
When I started “The Evolution of Bruno Littlemore,” I began to have worrisome Proustian flashbacks of being a chimp in a weird but normal family of very cute chimps in very cute outfits who lived in my house and ate coveted breakfast cereals with me—Wheat Chex, Corn Chex, and Rice Chex—who are maybe on “The Ed Sullivan Show” around the time of the Beatles?  Read more New Yorker Book Bench blog
Published there in 2005 and discovered in a Paris book shop by FSG editor Lorin Stein (who commissioned an English translation, appearing in paperback this month), 03 is a single paragraph that runs for 85 pages, a young man's simultaneously punkish and Proustian meditations on his attraction toward a mentally disabled girl at a bus stop. The Daily Beast