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The World of Proust, as seen by Paul Nadar

Overview

Marcel Proust (1871--1922) was one of the great geniuses of modern literature. Born in Auteil to wealthy bourgeois parents, he suffered delicate health as a child. During his high school years, he began to frequent salons such as that of Madame Arman, a friend of Anatole France. Troubled by asthma and neuroses, as well as by the deaths of his parents, Proust increasingly withdrew from the outer world and after 1907 lived mainly in a cork-lined room, working at night on his monumental novel À la recherche du temps...

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Overview

Marcel Proust (1871--1922) was one of the great geniuses of modern literature. Born in Auteil to wealthy bourgeois parents, he suffered delicate health as a child. During his high school years, he began to frequent salons such as that of Madame Arman, a friend of Anatole France. Troubled by asthma and neuroses, as well as by the deaths of his parents, Proust increasingly withdrew from the outer world and after 1907 lived mainly in a cork-lined room, working at night on his monumental novel À la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past).The World of Proust, as seen by Paul Nadar offers an intimate stroll through the society on which Proust's novel is based. The heart of the book consists of photographs found in the archive of Paul Nadar. These photographs make up a portrait gallery of Proust's friends and family--as well as of the aristocrats, artists, bourgeoisie,
actresses, and "tarts" who inhabit the novel. Included are portraits of Sarah Bernhardt, Jean Cocteau, Alphonse Daudet, Claude Debussy, Stéphane Mallarmé, Claude Monet, and Emile Zola. Each photograph is accompanied by a detailed caption describing the subject and the character in the novel modeled on that person.Paul Nadar (1856--1939), the son of "Nadar," was part of the famous Nadar atelier. He took over his father's business and founded the journal Paris Photographe in
1891.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Using nothing but words, Proust completely captured the vertiginous stasis of late 19th-century French society. Yet here, looking calmly back at us with poised civility, are his models-everyone from Proust's parents to Comtesse Adheaume de Chevign nee Laure de Sade and actresses Sarah Bernhardt and Rejane. Pierre-Jean Remy, in the book's preface, calls them "extensions of the family circle," and they are presented here as photographed by Paul Nadar (son of the more famous French photographer Felix Tournachon, or Nadar). Bernard, a member of the photographic archives department of the French National Ministry of Culture and Communication, threads plenty of Proust into the captions for these 138 duotones: "Her neck and shoulders emerged from a drift of snow-white muslin, against which fluttered a swansdown fan, but below this her gown... moulded her figure with a precision that was positively British," seems a perfect description of an aristocrat shown here in a Worth gown. With a new set of translations of the entire Recherche due next year (the first four volumes pubbing with Penguin Classics in the fall), look for a surge of interest in all things Marcel. (Nov.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Susan Sontag once wrote, "Life is not significant details, illuminated by a flash, fixed forever. Photographs are." This work presents such details with photographs of Proust, his family, and friends that take the reader back to late 19th- and early 20-century France. In compiling this collection, the editor used the large photographic archive of Paul Nadar, who photographed many of Proust's contemporaries. Images include members of European high society, artists and literary giants such as Anatole France, St phane Mallarm , and mile Zola. The actress Sarah Bernhardt appears frequently in these pages. Photographs of ballrooms, stage productions, and luxurious chateaux complete this collection. Each photograph includes a detailed caption about the subject's life and the individual's connection to Proust. Also included are chapters on the history of photography, the art of retouching, and Proust's life. Unfortunately, the bibliography contains only a few works on Nadar and photography, mainly listing resources relating to Proust. Highly recommended for all academic libraries that support French literature and/or history and photography curricula.-Erica Swenson Danowitz, American Univ. Lib., Washington, DC
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780262524261
  • Publisher: MIT Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2004
  • Pages: 158
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Anne-Marie Bernard, of the Photographic Archives Department of the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, is a specialist on the oeuvre of Felix and Paul Nadar.

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Table of Contents

Family and Intimates 30
Society Life 54
Literature and the Arts 90
The Ballroom and the Stage 134
Residences 142
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