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photography and film – facts, ideas, values

A Return to Things Proust

Marilynne Robinson

He tells us that the very limitations of the art—its very departures from strict truth—have an intrinsic moral, that is, compassionate, value. He says, “A real person, profoundly as we may sympathize with him, is in great measure perceptible only through our senses, that is to say, remains opaque, presents a dead weight which our sensibilities have not the strength to lift. If some misfortune comes to him it is only in one small section of the complete idea we have of him that we are capable of feeling any emotion. Indeed it is only in one small section of the complete idea that he has of himself, that he is capable of feeling any emotion either.” The novelist’s happy discovery was to think of substituting for those opaque sections impenetrable to the human soul their equivalent in immaterial sections. Things, that is, which one’s soul can assimilate.

A book : Madame Proust


Excerpt from pages 69-77 of Madame Proust: A Biography by Evelyne Bloch-Dano, translated by Alice Kaplan, published by the University of Chicago Press. ©2007 by The University of Chicago


From an Italian Proust website, by Gabriella Alù: Photographs of Madame Proust /fascimile of her handwriting (Una pagina del manoscritto de “La Bible d’Amiens” di John Ruskin tradotta da Jeanne Weil con le correzioni di Marcel)

Images of Dr. Proust

Including one in Venice and of father and son Robert

Photos of Nathan Weil, Adèle Berncastel, Marcel’s maternal grandparents

Marie de Bénardaky
model for Gilberte, written about in French in a post on Terres de femmes. (2)

Madame Straus
One possible model for the Duchess de Guermantes

This page links to all four women suggested he used for the character.Facsimile of letter by Proust to Madame Emile Straus (unreadable but includes drawing of some character presumably is in A La Researche!)

Link to a set of sketches which will enlarge when clicked on.

This page does all the possible for the Guermantes.

Celeste Alberet:

She who probably answered that bell Proust kept on pulling by his bedside, just like Marcel. At the bottom a YouTube in which she talks about Proust.

A poem (facsimile) dedicated to Céleste.


Photo of Marcel Proust in bed, ill or dead?

Caption in Spanish:

Marcel Proust vivió torturado por su mala salud, que lo obligó a escribir gran parte de su obra en la cama.

{roughly: tortured by ill health, he was obliged to do much of his writing in bed)

Post from literary review, Terres de Femmes, quotes with Le petit pan de mur jaune section from La Prisonnière

I.e. Bergot and Vermer’s View of Delft. I have posted on the the patch of yellow in Moleskine Modality in relation to Harold Pinter’s The Proust Screenplay.
Set of links to English translations of Proust from website Ephemera.

March 1, 2008 - Posted by | Proust | ,

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