How to enter the universe of Proust? Endless sentences, books hoisted to the rank of sacred texts, a statuesque author… A century after his death, the writer has something to impress. To cross the threshold without incident, just follow Céleste Albaret. To go up the service staircase with her at 102, boulevard Haussmann, where Marcel Proust lived from 1906 to 1919, to enter directly into the kitchen and settle down near the roaring fire. Exceptionally, Proust passes a head. The first time, the young woman can observe her little lock on her forehead, her “magnificent elegance” and “this kind of restraint” that she will notice in many asthmatics, “as if to save their strength and their breath”. Then, as the years passed, Céleste Albaret, who had become Proust’s governess, wandered throughout the apartment, even to the famous bedroom with its cork-covered walls. And the reader by his side.
Originally published in 1973, object, this autumn, of a reissue in paperback (Robert Laffont, “Arion”, 458 pages, 12 euros), Mr. Proust, the memories of Céleste Albaret collected by Georges Belmont, constitutes an exceptional document, a privileged testimony on Proust, coupled with a text of great finesse and, sometimes, very funny. Arrived from Lozère to find her husband, Odilon, Proust’s driver, Céleste quickly entered the service of the writer and became his trusted wife, the one to whom he dictated notes and entrusted the task of pasting additions in his manuscript. The one who inspired the character of Françoise. She will watch over him until his death. His Memoirs make the “great man” very simple, very close, and even more in the edition proposed by Seghers, containing elegant drawings by Stéphane Manel (adaptation by Corinne Maier, 256 pages, 23.90 euros). Suddenly, the tray with the café au lait and the croissant from “Monsieur Proust”, the added leaves, the cork, everything is within reach. Once thus familiar with Proust, who may still hesitate to open In Search of Lost Time ? Dec.
On February 25, 1980, in Paris, when Roland Barthes was run over by a dyer’s van, he was about to enter the Collège de France to prepare for his next course, which was to focus on Proust and photography. Until the end, the author of the Research will therefore have occupied that of Mythologies (Seuil, 1957), which made it an object of study, but above all an existential model and the name of a hope: that of building a work that would merge with the text of life. “Finally, a writer I must tell you about is Marcel Proust (…). Proust is basically a prose-poet, that is to say that, with a simple prosaic act, he analyzes all the sensations, the memories that this act awakens in him.the young Roland, at the age of 17, ignites in a letter to his friend Philippe Rebeyrol, a letter that can be found in the precious pocket volume where the various texts that the semiologist devoted to Proust are collected (Marcel Proust. Blendsedition compiled and annotated by Bernard Comment, Points, 408 pages, 8.90 euros).
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