Marcel Proust, Portrait of Jacques-Émile Blanche, 1892
Image: RMN-Grand Palais (musée d’Ors
The third Paris show in the commemorative year offers the highlight: a huge exhibition in the French National Library on the hundredth anniversary of Marcel Proust’s death shows the birth of his main work.
Sie shows off Proust. Even before the exhibition starts, the French National Library lists in detail on a wall what rich inventory it has been able to draw from: “26 flag sheets (placards), 23 typescripts, 16 manuscript page queues (paperoles), 23 fair copy books, 75 draft books, hundreds of single sheets, four notebooks and a daily planner”. That – and quite a lot more – is offered by the Fund Proustaccumulated here since 1962, when the niece of the writer Marcel Proust, who died a hundred years ago today, sold his written legacy, which was in the family estate, to the National Library.
In 1976, a number of other previously overlooked or concealed documents came to the house from the same source, and then more and more purchases and legacies with Proust material followed, up to the famous “75 sheets”, only rediscovered in 2018, which contain the earliest known drafts to “À la recherche du temps perdu” and the acquisition of a copy of “Du côté de chez Swann”, the first volume to this cycle of novels, published in 1913, in which Proust handwritten eight pages in 1915 for his friend Marie Scheikévitch further course of action of what ended up being a seven-volume work. The National Library secured this treasure in 2021, and now it can be seen for the first time: in the show entitled “La fabrique d’un œuvre” – the fabric of a work.