Just finished reading Monsieur Proust's Library

Charming, short, easy-to-read study of how Proust's favorite authors figured into his masterwork. Get it here.

Excerpted here in The Paris Review and

3 Muhlstein videos from her speech on Charlus at the Center for Fiction (playlist is about 45 minutes for all three)



The Guermantes Way: III p 198-219

p 200 | Jules MÉLINE (French statesman, 1838–1925; Prime Minister during the Dreyfus Affair, 1896-98) 

p 202 | The Gentiles:  In this rant, used to mean "barbarians," actually referring to aristos & salonistes.

p 202 | The Terror:: The Reign of Terror (5 September 1793 – 28 July 1794) also known simply as The Terror (French: la Terreur), was a period of violence that occurred after the onset of the French Revolution, incited by conflict between rival political factions, the Girondins and the Jacobins, and marked by mass executions of "enemies of the revolution."

          Cherry trees (top); Pear trees (bottom)

p 204 | Quincunx: square with a dot in each corner & one in the middle. A standard pattern for orchards.

p 206 | Boucheron : very exclusive Parisian jewelry store (scroll down to 1900 on the right)
p 207 | Pythia: (Greek mythology) the priestess of Apollo at Delphi who transmitted the oracles.
p 213 | Counter-jumper: (Old-fashioned derogatory) a sales assistant in a shop.
p 213 | LouisThe Louis d'or (French money) issued under Louis XVIII of France was a 20 franc coin. 
p 214 | Exiguous = extremely scanty; meager
p 215 | Place Pigalle: the (former) red-light district in Paris; now it's more hip.
poster by Jules Cheret, c. 1896-99

p 217 | Devil's Island: French penal colony off the coast of French Guiana in South America.

p 218 | College of Augurs: Roman augurs were part of a collegium of priests who shared te duties and responsibilities of the position. The augur was a priest & official in the classical world, especially ancient Rome and Etruria, whose role was to interpret the will of the gods by studying the flight of birds: flying in groups or alone, what noises they make, direction of flight and type of bird. This was known as "taking the auspices." The ceremony and function of the augur was central to any major undertaking in Roman society — public or private — including matters of war, commerce, and religion, e.g., "This augers well for us."
p 219 | Prince Eugène


The Guermantes Way: III p 180-198

p 180 | History of Telephones (wiki); in France, specifically
p 181 | Officer's cloth
p 182
| Battle of Austerlitz (Battle of the Three Emperors, 1805)
p 184
| Académie française; website
p 187
| Easter in Florence
p 189
| Street vendors under awnings
p 190 |
CLAUSTRATION: : the act of confining in or as if in a cloister
p 191 |
SEAGIRT: surrounded by the sea
p 192 | Giotto's "Envy" (with serpent)
p 193
| Re-post of Adam Gopnik's piece on Dreyfus in The New Yorker
p 194
| L'Intransigeant was founded in July 1880 by Henri Rochefort. The evening paper immediately established itself as a platform for radical ideas in support of national interests and against political moderates at home. The paper was, from the start, hostile to German interests.
p 198 | Institut de France is a French learned society, grouping five académies, the most famous of which is the Académie française.
p 198 | Pierre Paul Leroy-Beaulieu: French economist
p 198 | Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques


At Doncieres... III 161-69

Prince de BORODINO (Saint-Loup’s cavalry captain at Doncières; not a real person). However Proust biographer George D. Painter thinks that Prince de Borodino is based on Count Alexandre Joseph Colonna-Walewski.
ROUHER, Eugène (Minister under Napoleon III, 1814–84): III 171
FOULD, Achille (Minister of Finance under Napoleon III, 1844–1924)
NAPOLEON I (BONAPARTE) (Emperor of France, 1769–1821): Napoleon Bonaparte (15 August 1769 – 5 May 1821) was a French military and political leader who rose to prominence during the latter stages of the French Revolution and its associated wars in Europe. As Napoleon I, he was Emperor of the French from 1804 to 1815. His legal reform, the Napoleonic Code, has been a major influence on many civil law jurisdictions worldwide, but he is best remembered for his role in the wars led against France by a series of coalitions, the so-called Napoleonic Wars. He established hegemony over most of continental Europe and sought to spread the ideals of the French Revolution, while consolidating an imperial monarchy which restored aspects of the deposed Ancien Régime. Due to his success in these wars, often against numerically superior enemies, he is generally regarded as one of the greatest military commanders of all time, and his campaigns are studied at military academies throughout much of the world. Napoleon was born in Corsica to parents of noble Genoese ancestry. He trained as an artillery officer in mainland France. He rose to prominence under the French First Republic and led successful campaigns against the First and Second Coalitions arrayed against France. He led a successful invasion of the Italian peninsula.
NAPOLEON III (French leader, 1808–73). Charles Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte (20 April 1808 – 9 January 1873) was, as Louis-Napoléon Bonaparte, the first President of the French Republic 12/20/1848–12/2/1852 and, as Napoleon III, the emperor of the Second French Empire. He was the nephew and heir of Napoleon I. Elected President by popular vote in 1848, he initiated a coup d'état in 1851, before ascending the throne as Napoleon III on 12/2/1852, the forty-eighth anniversary of Napoleon I's coronation. He ruled as Emperor of the French until 4 September 1870. He holds the unusual distinction of being both the first titular president and the last monarch of France.  The Second French Empire was overthrown three days after Napoleon's disastrous surrender at the Battle of Sedan in 1870, which resulted in both the proclamation of the French Third Republic and the cession of Alsace-Lorraine to the newly formed German Empire. After six months as a prisoner in Germany Napoleon spent the last few years of his life in exile in England, with Eugénie and their only son. The family lived at Camden Palace, Chislehurst, where he died on January 9, 1873 during surgery for a bladder stone; an autopsy showed he also had a fatal kidney disease. He was haunted to the end by bitter regrets and by painful memories of the battle at which he lost everything; Napoleon's last words, addressed to Dr. Henri Conneau standing by his deathbed, reportedly were, "Were you at Sedan?" He had many mistresses. His father was Louis Napoléon Bonaparte, Prince Français, Comte de Saint-Leu (2 September 1778 – 25 July 1846), King of Holland (1806–10), was the fifth surviving child and the fourth surviving son of Carlo Buonaparte and Letizia Ramolino. His brother was the first Emperor of the French, Napoleon I, and his son was the last, Napoleon III.
Mathilde Laetitia Wilhelmine Bonaparte, Princesse Française (May 27, 1820 – January 2, 1904), was a French princess and Salon holder. She was a daughter of Napoleon's brother Jérôme Bonaparte and his second wife, Catharina of Württemberg, daughter of King Frederick I of Württemberg. “I have my own key.”
BISMARCK, Otto von (German statesman, 1815–98). Struck by Prince de Borodino’s resemblance to Napoleon III:  III 168. (person)  Napoleon III was taken prisoner at Sedan and kept in Germany for a while in case Bismarck had need of him to head a puppet regime; he later died in exile in England in 1873. The remainder of the war featured a siege of Paris, the city was ”ineffectually bombarded”; the new French republican regime then tried, without success, to relieve Paris with various hastily assembled armies and increasingly bitter partisan warfare.
Sedan, Ardennes, France:  During the Franco-Prussian War, on 2 September 1870 the French emperor Napoleon III was taken prisoner with 100,000 of his soldiers at the First Battle of Sedan. Due to this major victory, which also made the "Second Reich" of Germany possible, 2 September was declared "Sedan Day" (Sedantag) and a national German holiday in 1871. It remained a holiday until 1919.
House of Hohenzollern is a noble family and royal dynasty of electors, kings and emperors of Prussia, Germany and Romania. It originated in the area around the town of Hechingen in Swabia during the 11th century. They took their name from their ancestral home, the Burg Hohenzollern castle near Hechingen.
Gaston Alexandre Auguste, Marquis de Galliffet: Prince de Martigues (Paris, January 23, 1830 – July 8, 1909), was a French general, best known for having taken part in the repression of the 1871 Paris Commune. He was Minister of War in Waldeck-Rousseau's cabinet at the turn of the century, which caused a controversy in the socialist movement since independent socialist Alexandre Millerand also took part in the same government, and was thus side by side with the Fusilleur de la Commune ("Commune's executor").
General François Oscar de Négrier (2 October 1839 – 22 August 1913) was one of the most charismatic French generals of the Third Republic, winning fame in Algeria in the Sud-Oranais campaign (1881) and in Tonkin during the Sino-French War (August 1884 – April 1885).
Paul Marie Cesar Gerald Pau, (November 29, 1848- January 2, 1932) was a French General, a commander of an army at the beginning of World War I.
GESLIN DE BOURGOGNE, Jules-Henri, (French military leader, 1818-77)
Charles THIRON (French actor, 1830-91)
Frédéric Febvre (1835–1916) was a French actor.  Born in Paris, after the usual apprenticeship in the provinces and  Parisian theatres, was called to the Comédie-Française in 1866, making his debut as Philip II in Don Juan d'Autriche. He soon became the most popular leading man in Paris, not only in the classical repertoire, but in contemporary novelties.
AMAURY [Ernest-Félix Socquet] (French actor, Odéon troupe, 1849–1910): Amaury (Ernest-Félix Socquet, dit), acteur français, né à Paris en 1819. Elève du Conservatoire, il y obtint doux accessits de comédie el tragédie, et en sortant de l'école fut engagé à l'Odéon, où il n'a jamais quitté.


Proust et Einstein

..."The NRF finally published Camile Vettard's article "Proust et Einstein" on August 1. Although Proust told Gallimard that Vettard "flatters me too much," the novelist was delighted by the comparison. Vettard had found, among other similarities, that Proust and  Einstein "have the sense, the intuition, the comprehension of the great natural laws."    {Marcel Proust: A Life by William C. Carter, p 789}


p III 39:  Grand Escalier at the Paris Opera

p 40 | Charles I, Emperor of Austria
       | This may be the Prince of Saxony he means; the dates work, but we're not sure what year it is in the text. "I don't know the number. My cousin told me I had only to ask for her box."
p 41 | Henri d'Orleans, duc d'Aumale|, looking like a medallion of Henri IV -->
p 45 | halcyon's (kingfisher) nest

p 52  | Whoa! Where did this recording of La Berma come from? (Hint: keep your eyes closed.)



Pages for June

v3: Move to a new apartment in a wing of the Hôtel de Guer­mantes (1). Poetic dreams spurred by the name Guermantes dissipate (4). Françoise & friends at lunch downstairs (12). Jupien (14); his niece (16).  The name Guermantes, having shed its feudal connota­tions, now whispers a new mystery -- the Faubourg Saint-Germain (28). The Guermantes’s doormat: threshold of the Faubourg (31).
A gala evening at the Opéra (39). Berma in Phèdre once more (39, 49). The Prince of Saxony? (40). The Faubourg Saint-Ger­main in their boxes (44). The Princesse de Guermantes’s stage box: water-goddesses & bearded tritons (44).



Pages for May

For 5/31: Françoise holds court at lunch-time below stairs (12).  Jupien (14); his niece (16). 

 Move into a new apartment in a wing of the Hôtel de Guer­mantes (1). Poetic dreams conjured up by the name Guermantes dispelled one by one (4-12).

Finish In the Shadow of Young Girls/Budding Grove.... if you haven't already...
The rejected kiss (701). The attraction of Albertine (702). The multiple utilization of a single action (707). Straying in the budding grove (716). The different Al­bertines (718). End of the season (724). Departure (728).


Notes for April (II p 677- )

p 680 | A game of "ferret" (jeu du furet or hunt-the-slipper). On his blog, Charles Matthews calls it "ring-on-a-string."
p 682 | Visit Trianon without getting up a party in Louis XVI costume (scroll down)
p 683 | Laura Dianti (portrait by Titian)

Notes for April (II p 671-77)

p 670 | Sophocles : greatest Greek tragedian, 497 B.C.
  Jean Racine, b. 1639. He was educated at The Petites écoles de Port-Royal, a place of intellectual excellence and educational experimentation.
| Athalie: Racine tragedy 1691.
| Esther: Racine drama 1689.
p 671 | Greek chorus
| Joad (Google translation from the French)
| Robert Garnier, French poet, b. 1544
|Antoine de Montchrestien, b. 1575. Aman = Haman
|Charles Sainte-Beuve, b. 1804, French literary critic; Proust wrote Contre Sainte-Beuve (Against Sainte-Beuve)
|Gustave Merlet, French literary academic, 1829–91.
|Nicolas Deltour, French professor & writer, 1822–1904.
|Edouard Gascq-Desfossé, French textbook author, c. 1886-1909.
p 676 | human life to zoophytes (invertebrate animals that resemble plants, such as sponges, corals and sea anemones)
p 677 | "Harmony in pink and gold": Fictional painting name, but sounds like he's referencing Whistler (surprise!): Finding a parallel between painting and music, Whistler titled many of his paintings "arrangements", "harmonies", and "nocturnes", emphasizing the primacy of tonal harmony. (Wikipedia)
|theogony : description of the creation of the gods.
| peacock       or        peony


Notes for March (II p 651-53)

Monet, Regatta at Sainte-Adresse
Balbec through Elstir’s eyes (651).

p 652 | Claude Monet, Regattas at Argenteuil.The Regatta at Sainte-Adresse (1867);  Regatta Society of Le Havre. 

 A regatta probably looked a lot like this.

 By the 1870s, about 200 sailboats were moored in the Argenteuil basin. Many were owned by Parisians (only a half-hour away by train), but others could be rented. Renoir’s painting shows the boats & spectators at a regatta. At least two were run every month between early spring and fall.
Renoir, A Regatta at Argenteuil

Vittore Carpaccio, Legend of St. Ursula (large)

Bucentaur = Large Venetian barge(of the Doge)


Notes for March (II 634-51)

Saint-Loup engaged to a Mlle d’Ambresac? (634). Albertine (635). Andrée (636). Gisèle (637). Days with the girls (643). Françoise’s temper (649). Balbec through Elstir’s eyes (651).

p 637 | Giotto's Idolatry.

         | Diabolo
...I was taking a short stroll with Albertine, whom I had found on the beach tossing up and catching again on the end of a string a weird object which gave her a look of Giotto's 'Idolatry'; it was called, as it happened, a 'Diabolo,' and has so fallen into disuse now that, when they come upon the picture of a girl playing with one, the commentators of future generations will solemnly discuss, as it might in front of the allegorical figures in the Arena Chapel, what it is that she is holding. II 637 
p 640 | Which would you rather have as a friend, Alceste or Philinte? Two characters from The Misanthrope, a 17th-century comedy of manners in verse written by Molière. Alceste: protagonist and "misanthrope," is quick to criticize the flaws of everyone around him, while Philinte is a polite man who recognizes the importance of occasionally veiling one's true opinions in a social context; considered to be Alceste's foil. (Wiki)
p 640 | Le Gaulois : French daily newspaper, founded 1868.
p 643 | ineluctable = inevitable ; atavusm = throwback, reversion to past style
p 644 | inflorescence = floral axis, flower cluster (girls as flowers); Dreyfusism = anti-Semitism (in this context, i.e., going back to the past. Note that Dreyfusards were pro-Dreyfus); clericalism = maintaining power of religious hierarchy ; anterior = preceding ; cryptogamous = member of a formerly recognized taxonomic group that included all seedless plants and plantlike organisms, such as mosses, algae, ferns, and fungi ; papilionaceae = legume, pea, bean family.
p 649 | Gisèle is a slacker!
p 651 | Eulalie is the retired domestic servant in Combray, who visits Aunt Léonie with the Curé and has an ongoing rivalry with Françoise (cf I 41-51).  St. Eloi (Elegius; patron saint of goldsmiths & coin collectors) ; Cimmerians = ancient equestrian nomads of Indo-European origin.


Notes for March (v II p 629)

Albertine’s antipathy for Bloch (627).
On p 629, Albertine calls Bloch a "Yid." She calls him other things in other translations, as well as in the original French. So we began a discussion of Proust and Jewishness. Here are some links relevant to our talk last night.  

  • Links to full texts in French & English (scroll down)
  • Info may be here, but I have no access. Another JSTOR article here 


Proust... the mini-series

Found this blog mentioned in the ongoing conversation of the Proust Yahoo group. Interesting photos, no?


Proust for Nook -- all books in one file! (Modern Library ed.)

In Search of Lost Time, complete & unabridged, 6 books: Volumes I-VI: Swann's Way, Within a Budding Grove, The Guermantes Way, Sodom and Gomorrah, The Captive & The Fugitive, Time Regained.

Also for kindle.


Notes pp 608-627 v II

My grandmother and Saint-Loup (608). Saint-Loup and Bloch (609). Still lifes (613; cf. 373). Afternoon party at Elstir’s (615). Yet another Albertine: a well-brought-up girl (619). Albertine on the esplanade: once more a member of the little band (623). Octave, the gigolo (625). Albertine’s antipathy for Bloch (627).

p 608 |  Pierre-Joseph Proudhon (1809 – 1865) was a French politician, mutualist philosopher and socialist. He was the first person to call himself an anarchist.
p 613 | Still life painting: for example, Vincent Van Gogh's Still life with bottle, two glasses, cheese and bread, 1886, Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam.

p 614 | Another clash between intelligence and sensibility vs will: going to Elstir's party.

p 617 | Strawberry tart

p 625 | Golf in 19th century Cabourg; see the map here. Click the + to zoom in & map to remove the photo. You can see the public golf course just south of the Grand Hotel. {Zoom in closer to see the Promenade Marcel Proust right along the beachfront, and a gift shop called "A la Recherche du Temps Perdu."} Here's a history of Victorian golf.

p 628 | Alexandrine: a verse in iambic hexameter 
Arouet=Voltaire: François-Marie Arouet (1694–1778), pen name Voltaire:  French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit and advocacy of civil liberties, including freedom of religion, freedom of expression, free trade and separation of church and state. Voltaire was prolific, writing in almost every format, including plays, poetry, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken supporter of social reform, despite strict censorship laws with harsh penalties for those who broke them. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma and the French institutions of his day.  Voltaire was one of several Enlightenment figures (along with Montesquieu, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau) whose work and ideas influenced important thinkers of the American & French Revolutions.

p 628 | Cavelleria rusticana ("Rustic Chivalry"): a one-act opera by Mascagni (1890)