Marcel Proust in Pictures and Documents

Edited by Patricia Mante-Proust. Text by Mireille Naturel, trans. from the French by Josephine Bacon. Edition Olms (www.edition-olms.com), $65 (192p) ISBN 978-3-283-01218-2
Edited by Proust’s great-grand-niece, the keeper of his estate, this homage to the life and work of the literary giant is a handsome treasury of family photographs, manuscripts, letters, notes, and other documents from family collections and national archives, many previously unpublished, with transcriptions provided in English. Reproduced here, for example, is the questionnaire the author answered at age 13, which was evidently a harbinger of his future aspirations: “Where would you like to live? In the land of the ideal, or rather my ideal.” Along with more recent photographs, select excerpts, and biographical text by Naturel (Proust and the Literary Act: Receiving and Creating), the book explores, if reductively, the people and settings fictionalized in Remembrance of Things Past (or In Search of Lost Time), and other writings. For example, pictured here is the venerable 15th-century church of Saint-Jacques, which became the beloved Saint-Hilaire in Search. Proust still has a mystifying presence in these glossy photographs, from the emaciated student among his more sturdy classmates, to, conversely, the spirited dandy suavely posing for photographer Otto. Arriving on the heels of the centennial of Swann’s Way, this is an accessible volume of memorable pictures, words, and other odds and ends. 350 photos and illus. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/21/2013
Release date: 04/01/2013
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