PROUST Marcel (1871-1922).

Lot 163
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PROUST Marcel (1871-1922).
L.A.S. "Marcel Proust", [2 ? July 1905], to Fernand GREGH; 8 pages in-8 (slight crack in the center fold of the 1st bifeuillet, small repair). Beautiful and long literary letter, and on history and politics. Literary discussion with his "dear Fernand" about the use of the adverb "comme" (about Gregh's poem, Les Ancêtres, in his collection L'Or des minutes): "When one wants to correct a spelling mistake in proofs, one goes over it fifty times without seeing it and without finding it. Impossible to find "comme croulant" which, moreover, may have existed only in the "sudden absurdity" of my memory half destroyed by incessant medication. In any case (if it exists, it will appear to me when I am not looking for it, when I reread the volume) the as that seems to me not even criticizable, but perhaps a little useless, is not the as signifier of even that", and he quotes other verses of Gregh, where it is "indispensable. No, I mean the as signifier: so to speak, which is an often useless restriction [...] I thought it might be FLAUBERT's page [in Madame Bovary]: on her eyes, on her mouth, on her feet etc. which had given you, in a purely accidental way, the idea of the beautiful development (which is absolutely different!) of their foreheads, their eyes, their collars etc. Besides, you know that St. Beuve and BALZAC (Balzac twice) have done the development of Flaubert, the same one, which is moreover in Bossuet etc. While yours has no connection whatsoever, I was just telling you this as if I were saying to you: "Maybe it's the heat that makes you prefer to stay at work today (accidental things). I am not at all convinced by your political ideas. "The tradition of French politics" who will tell us that it is anticlericalism or something else. It's like "the hereditary enemy". Some historians come and say: Don't be mistaken, it's not Germany, it's England. And they are original because we had said the opposite. Then, when the truth of this idea is exhausted, they say the opposite. In any case, to study the past in order to try to see what is wise to do for the future is risky, but to study it in order to find its characteristics and to conform to them is the narrowest nationalism. Besides, what is the use of wasting our time (you) and my strength (it is such a fatigue for me to write) for things that only the demon of perversity can make us occupy ourselves because they are not in our real temperament. In any case we can continue to prefer me Anatole Leroy Beaulieu and you Aulard without it taking us away from each other. I admit that RUSKIN has intoxicated me a little. And archaeology too. I admit that I prefer to find in a convent religious who restore Benedictine music than a liquidator who ruins everything (see St Wandrille - and for that matter everywhere). I like it that there are workers in factories, sailors on ships and monks in convents. [...] I don't really care about politics. I'm a little annoyed by all the noble socialists I see. But you can't annoy me. I hope that the reciprocal is true" .... He adds that his favorite play is Meditation; he has "rethought the Brancovan subject"; if Gregh comes to see it, "the best time is 10 ¾, 11 o'clock. It can always happen that I have a crisis and can't see you. My crises do not warn me, but that is the hour when you have the best chance."... Correspondence, vol. V, p. 283.
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