Cover image for Marcel Proust
Marcel Proust
Tadié, Jean-Yves, 1936-
Personal Author:
Uniform Title:
Marcel Proust. English
Publication Information:
New York : Viking, 2000.
Physical Description:
xx, 986 pages ; 25 cm
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PQ2631.R63 Z925213 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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Marcel Proust was arguably the greatest writer of the 20th century. This biography by the acknowledged world authority on Proust redefines the way we look at both the artist and the man.

Author Notes

Jean-Yves Tadie , the world's foremost expert on Proust, is Professor of French Literature at the Sorbonne. Editor of the Pleiade edition of Proust's masterpiece, A la recherche du temps perdu , Tadie's books include Proust et le roman, Lectures de Proust and Proust .

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Writing the biography of an author means interrogating not only the life but also the books that the life produced. In this monumental biography of Proust, Tadie measures his subject's life by focusing steadily on the influences that shaped his seven-volume masterpiece, Remembrance of Things Past. This singlemindedness gives form and coherence to the wealth of material that Tadie has accumulated during 30 years of careful research: no detail of Proust's childhood, his amatory relations, or his health troubles finds its way into the book unless it sheds light on the origins of the massive novel. Of course, as a process that defies external control and eludes direct inspection, literary creation yields its secrets only to the most assiduous analysis. Devotees of Proust's art will applaud Tadie for sustaining such analysis even through outwardly uneventful periods when only the slightest hints evinced the continuing growth of Proust's genius. Cameron likewise deserves high praise for a deft translation that preserves the nuances of both Tadie's exceptional scholarship and Proust's supple prose. With the publication this year of both Tadie's work and William C. Carter's excellent life of Proust [BKL Mr 1 00], readers now face an embarrassment of riches. Those who want all the social and personal complexities of Proust's life may prefer Carter, but those determined, above all, to understand how life transmutes into fiction will gravitate to Tadie. --Bryce Christensen

Publisher's Weekly Review

"He lived in order to write, and his life... became his laboratory," notes Tadi, editor of the definitive Pliade edition of Proust's magnum opus, A la recherche du temps perdu. Compared with William Carter's more conventional biography, published earlier this year (see Forecasts, Feb. 7), Tadi's masterful literary biography, originally published in France in 1996, is more impressionistic at times but succeeds in more clearly mapping the "history of a mind." Tadi, a professor of literature at the Sorbonne, constructs a model of the novelist's intellectual progress and literary development. In the early pages, when portraying Proust as a rich, somewhat aimless young man shuttling between the worlds of letters and high society, the account is a bit static. But throughout, Tadi quite ably makes biographical detail relevant to his literary analysis. For example, after discussing the comparative failure of Proust's debut miscellany, Les plaisirs et les jours, and his failure to complete his first novel, Jean Santeuil, Tadi argues that Proust needed aesthetic recharging. With impressive erudition, he convincingly argues that the novelist received this energizing from his struggle to translate Ruskin's Bible of Amiens into French. Tadi contends that it was the decline of Proust's social life combined with a worsening asthmatic condition that led him to take up what would become his life's work. Tadi arguably knows Proust and his great work better than any previous biographer; his narrative skillfully meshes the creation of A la recherche with all the aspects of Proust's life that inspired and informed it. 16 pages of b&w photos, not seen by PW. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This mammoth new biography of Marcel Proust has already been a best seller in France. Tadi (French literature, Sorbonne) is one of the world's leading scholars of Proust, about whom he has been publishing books since 1958. The author, who was editor of the Pleiade edition of In Search of Lost Time, delves into all aspects of Proust's life, including his middle-class childhood, his asthma, being a writer in the 1890s, and his homosexuality. The book is also a work of literary criticism. Tadi not only analyzes In Search of Lost Time but the books, paintings, music, and other influences that led Proust to write his masterpiece. Tadi argues that the biographer must interpret the facts of the subject's life and make choices based on those facts. This is especially difficult in Proust's case as he divulged little about his inner life after he left school. While much of his correspondence survives, many key letters do not, including those to his secretary, Alfred Agostinelli. However, Tadi has left no stone unturned in this magnificent biography, certain to be a standard for years to come. Highly recommended for larger literary collections and academic libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 4/15/00; for a forthcoming interview with Tadi, see LJ 9/1/00. Note also the release next month of Marcel Proust: Selected Letters. Vol. 4: 1918-1922, HarperCollins UK, dist. by Trafalgar.DEd.]DRon Ratliff, Emporia P.L., KS (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Table of Contents

Translator's Notep. xix
Prefacep. xxi
Acknowledgementsp. xxvii
I Rootsp. 1
Auteuilp. 1
Illiersp. 7
The Weil Familyp. 13
Jeanne Proustp. 21
Adrien Proustp. 27
II Childhoodp. 37
The Curlsp. 40
The Evening Kissp. 41
At the Champs-Elyseesp. 43
Onanismp. 47
The Underworld of the Swimming Poolp. 49
The First Attack of Asthmap. 50
Childhood Readingp. 52
III The Schoolboyp. 55
An Unassuming Pupilp. 55
Rhetoriquep. 64
Madame Strausp. 73
Philosophiep. 77
Magazinesp. 83
IV Summer Holidays (1889-91)p. 88
Ostende, the Finalysp. 88
Madame Arman de Caillavetp. 90
Proust and Francep. 92
Military Servicep. 93
Gaston and Jeannep. 99
The Death of the Grandmotherp. 102
The End of National Servicep. 103
L'Ecole Libre des Sciences Politiquesp. 106
Le Mensuelp. 111
V From Le Banquet to La Revue blanchep. 123
Wildep. 124
Princesse Mathildep. 125
Bergsonp. 127
Le Banquetp. 129
Friendshipsp. 137
A Portraitp. 139
Holidays 1892p. 142
Renanp. 146
Platonic Lovep. 147
Other Friendsp. 149
Willie Heathp. 151
Madeleine Lemairep. 153
The Encounter with Robert de Montesquioup. 156
Musicp. 164
VI The Genesis of Les Plaisirs et les Joursp. 166
Saint-Moritzp. 166
The New Term, 1893p. 173
How Not to Choose a Careerp. 175
Further Essays for La Revue blanchep. 177
A Stormy Friendshipp. 178
Leon Delafossep. 180
Autumn at Versaillesp. 186
The Chateau de Reveillonp. 187
Reynaldo Hahnp. 191
Trouville, Moonlight and 'Baldassare'p. 194
'La Confession d'une jeune fille'p. 198
The New Term, 1894p. 200
The Philosophy Degreep. 203
Alphonse Daudetp. 207
Faurep. 209
La Vie Parisiennep. 211
'Portraits de Peintres'p. 212
A Phantom Librarianp. 214
VII The Pleasures of Jean Santeuilp. 216
Kreuznachp. 216
Saint-Germain-en-Layep. 217
Dieppep. 218
Beg-Meilp. 219
Harrisonp. 222
Landscapesp. 223
Reveillonp. 225
Chardin and Rembrandtp. 227
A Dinner Party at Boulevard Malesherbesp. 229
Saint-Saensp. 230
A Publication Constantly Deferredp. 232
An End to Jealousyp. 233
Bourget's Influencep. 234
Proust in Lovep. 236
Lucien Daudetp. 239
The Death of Louis Weilp. 244
A Forewordp. 245
Proust and Mallarmep. 249
Les Plaisirs et les Jours: an Appraisalp. 252
Reception of Les Plaisirs et les Joursp. 254
The Death of the Grandfatherp. 256
The Death of Edmond de Goncourtp. 257
Hygiene for Asthmaticsp. 258
The Break-upp. 258
At Mont-Dorep. 260
VIII From Jean Santeuil to Dreyfusp. 262
Autumn 1896p. 262
An Imperial Visitp. 265
Fontainebleaup. 266
Being a Writer in 1896p. 271
Against Stendhal?p. 273
The Writing of Jean Santeuilp. 275
What is Jean Santeuil?p. 281
Winter 1896-7p. 284
Summer 1897p. 290
Proust as Reader of Balzacp. 291
Autumn 1897p. 297
The Death of Daudetp. 298
How Proust Became a Dreyfusardp. 299
The Novel of the Dreyfus Affair: Proust and Francep. 303
Robert de Flersp. 307
Summer 1898p. 308
Proust as Art Critic: Rembrandt and Moreaup. 311
The Cafe Weberp. 314
Comtesse Greffulhe or Unavailing Beautyp. 315
Charles Haasp. 320
Spring 1899p. 323
Interval by the Lake Shorep. 326
IX The Bible of Amiensp. 339
The Discovery of Carlylep. 339
Reading Emersonp. 343
The Artist According to Ruskinp. 345
But Who Was Ruskin? And How Did Proust Know about Him?p. 350
'Pelerinages Ruskiniens en France'p. 355
The Journey to Venicep. 363
How to Translate?p. 368
1900 Draws to a Closep. 369
The Second Trip to Venicep. 371
Concluding La Bible d'Amiensp. 373
Anna de Noailles' Circlep. 374
The Death of Edmond de Polignacp. 376
Antoine Bibescop. 378
Bertrand de Fenelonp. 386
The Trip to Belgium and Hollandp. 392
1903p. 398
Charles Ephrussip. 402
Whistlerp. 404
Salonsp. 405
Robert's Weddingp. 407
Casa-Fuertep. 408
Albufera and Louisa de Mornandp. 410
The Duc de Guichep. 413
Gabriel de La Rochefoucauldp. 416
Radziwillp. 417
Francis de Croissetp. 419
The Death of a Fatherp. 425
X Sesame and Liliesp. 429
Translation in 1900p. 429
Beginning Sesamep. 432
The Press Reception for La Bible d'Amiensp. 433
Proust and Saint-Simonp. 434
The Stages of the Translationp. 435
Other Publicationsp. 437
Daily Lifep. 444
Social Gatheringsp. 448
Literary Workp. 450
The Whistler Exhibitionp. 455
On Readingp. 455
The Death of Madame Proustp. 458
Mourning (1905-6)p. 460
Proust and Moneyp. 467
Summer and Moving Housep. 468
XI The Renaissance of Literaturep. 477
Returning to Lifep. 477
Gainsboroughp. 477
'Filial Feelings of a Parricide'p. 478
Days Spent Readingp. 482
Les Eblouissements by the Comtesse de Noaillesp. 483
Musicp. 486
A Grandmotherp. 488
Summer 1907 in Cabourgp. 490
'Impressions of the Road in a Motor Car'p. 498
The Return to Parisp. 499
Gustave de Bordap. 502
Towards Sainte-Beuvep. 502
XII Contre Sainte-Beuvep. 504
Pastichesp. 504
Living for Writingp. 507
Financial Speculations and Virtuous Habitsp. 509
Contre Sainte-Beuvep. 510
Cabourg, Summer 1908p. 513
Versailles in the Autumn of 1908p. 516
Sainte-Beuve (late 1908-9)p. 518
The Metamorphosis of Contre Sainte-Beuve (1909-11)p. 529
The Death of Madame Caillavetp. 539
1910p. 541
Celine and Nicolas Cottinp. 543
Cabourg 1910p. 545
Autumn 1910p. 547
Jean Cocteaup. 549
1911p. 552
From Pelleas to Saint Sebastienp. 554
Cabourg 1911p. 557
Autumn 1911p. 559
Albert Nahmiasp. 560
The Novel of 1911p. 562
XIII 'Le Temps perdu' (1912-13)p. 563
An Overview of the Writing Processp. 563
The Division into Volumes and Choice of Titlep. 566
1912p. 567
Cabourg 1912p. 571
Autumn: In Search of a Publisherp. 574
Beginning Againp. 578
Bernard Grassetp. 580
Agostinellip. 585
Cabourg 1913p. 587
Title and Structure, 1913p. 590
Proofs and the Grasset Editionp. 593
Launch and Publication of Du cote de chez Swannp. 595
The Fugitivep. 598
XIV The Novel of 1914p. 600
Compositionp. 600
Celeste Albaretp. 609
A Review of the Press and Other Reactions to Swannp. 610
From One Publisher to Another: The Return of Fasquelle, Gide and the NRFp. 612
Music and Pianolap. 613
Financial Debaclep. 615
Agostinelli Disappearsp. 617
Warp. 619
Cabourg for the Last Time, Forssgrenp. 620
Military Discharge, Against Chauvinismp. 622
Daily Life in 1915p. 623
Friends Living or Deadp. 624
Fighting the Armyp. 627
Proust, the Press and the Warp. 628
An End to Speculationp. 630
Writing in 1915p. 632
Writing in 1916p. 635
Daily Life in 1916p. 637
Musicp. 638
Readingp. 640
From Grasset to Gallimardp. 642
Gaston Gallimardp. 644
Paul Morandp. 646
1917: The Ritzp. 648
With Gallimardp. 649
A Hectic Lifep. 650
Helene Soutzop. 652
Healthp. 653
New Friendshipsp. 654
The Death of Emmanuel Bibescop. 659
XV The Novel of 1918p. 664
From Sodome to La Fugitivep. 664
War in the Novelp. 667
M. de Charlus' Pleasuresp. 670
Daily Life in 1918p. 674
Henri Rochatp. 678
History, War, Politicsp. 681
Readingp. 684
Publishers and New Editionsp. 685
The Saint-Simon Pastichep. 687
The Foreword to Propos de peintre, De David a Degasp. 688
Daily Life in 1919p. 689
Sydney Schiffp. 692
Rue Laurent-Pichatp. 694
Publishing in 1919p. 698
Press reception of A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleursp. 701
Readingp. 702
The Quarrel of 'The Intelligence Party'p. 703
Rue Hamelinp. 704
The Prix Goncourtp. 706
Daily Life in 1920p. 709
Jacques Rivierep. 709
Le Cote de Guermantes Ip. 711
Reception of Le Cote de Guermantes Ip. 714
Social Lifep. 715
Pierre de Polignac, Boni de Castellane and Othersp. 717
Literary Friendsp. 721
Newspaper Surveysp. 722
Introductions and Articlesp. 723
Proust and Anatole France (Conclusion)p. 724
Health Problemsp. 728
'Cursus honorum'p. 728
XVI Between Life and Deathp. 731
Healthp. 731
Magazines and Correspondencep. 732
Preparation for Le Cote de Guermantes II--Sodome Ip. 735
Francois Mauriacp. 737
The Launch of Guermantes IIp. 738
Reception of Le Cote de Guermantes II and Sodome et Gomorrhe Ip. 739
Discussions with Gidep. 740
Farewell to Montesquioup. 741
Preparation for Sodome et Gomorrhe IIp. 743
An Exhibitionp. 744
Rochat Leavesp. 746
The Norwegian Philosopherp. 747
New Year's Eve, 1921p. 749
1922p. 749
Reactions to Sodome IIp. 754
Sodome et Gomorrhe II, III, IVp. 756
Additionsp. 758
The End of Le Temps retrouvep. 762
Daily Life in 1922p. 765
Albertine disparuep. 772
Deathp. 775
List of Abbreviationsp. 781
Notesp. 783
Select Bibliographyp. 930
Indexp. 935