Jean-Yves Tadié: the keys to Proustian genius

Jean-Yves Tadié has published a biography of Marcel Proust.

” In Search of Lost Time »is a fiction of Marcel Proust published in sevenvolumes (1913 to 1927). A “work-world” that can be explored ad infinitum.Watch out, masterpiece! This monumental fresco is a meditation on memory, art and time. In Search of Lost Time »is considered (worldwide) asthe bestromance of all time. As pointed outthe eminent Proust specialist Jean-Yves Tadie in ” The Cathedral of Time » (folio):One of the qualities of “In Search of Lost Time” is to be interested in simple people, in the world of the countryside, in the working classes. This interest was that of Proust himself“.

Novelist, essayist andeditor ( it’s been a long timepresided over the destinies of Folio), Jean-Yves Tadié isemeritus professor of literature at the University of Paris-Sorbonne and former professor at the University of Oxford;It isotherwise the editor of “In Search of Lost Time” in the Pléiade. He is (among others) the author of many works devoted to Proustsuch as :” Proust and the novel », “Readings of Proust », « Proust (Discoveries), “ The Unknown Lake, Marcel Proust, sketch of an epic », « Proust and society ».

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Jean-Yves Tadié: Proust and society

Jean-Yves Tadieis alsothe preface to the “Seventy-five Sheets”, unpublished by Proust published by Gallimard in 2021Because the elusive “seventy-five sheets” of 1908 are an essential piece of the puzzle. Long before the Contre Sainte-Beuve, they don’t just give us the oldest version of In Search of Lost Time. Through the reading keys that the writer has forgotten there, they give access to the primitive Proustian crypt. “A book is a great cemetery where on most tombs you can no longer read the erased names”, we read in Recovered time. A reader adds: (cf. “In 1908, Proust outlines in these precious pages the work of a lifetime. He has not yet freed himself from biographical elements that are too obvious, so the shadows of his beloved ones still surface there: Jeanne his venerated mother, Robert the jealous younger brother, an eccentric grandmother, a libertine uncle… Everything is already there, in place, the meticulous demiurge novelist is only putting together the scattered pieces of his titanic poem.

Finally, Jean-Yves Tadié is the author of a biography of Marcel Proust in two volumes (Folio), which he enriches on the occasion of the centenary of Proust’s death. Forthe readersfrom Atlantico, here is an excerpt from the foreword.

Thanks to the talent and passionate work of Jean-Yves Tadié, the author of “Research” remains alive. Cheer.Annick GEILLE

“Why a new biography of Proust? You might as well ask a painter why new still lifes, new portraits. A moment arrives when one thinks one can make a synthesis of existing work, rejecting what seems unverifiable, taking account of new discoveries, and above all, what only the work of an editor allows one to know, the history of manuscripts, that of the work as it is written: the true biography of a writer, of an artist, is that of his work. It’s also the only one that doesn’t end in death. Proust said of Ruskin: “The events of his life are intellectual and the important dates are those when he enters a new form of art. Another feature of this work is that he wanted to justify all his assertions, hence the abundant notes—but you don’t have to read them—which refer to the proofs. There remain the unresolved questions, following the disappearance, momentary or definitive, of important documents: the correspondence of Proust and Agostinelli, most of the letters to his father and several of those to his mother. The letters received by the writer have rarely been preserved; his books were widely dispersed. Now the task of the critic is to enclose a library in a single book; that of the biographer, a man (or a woman). Very often, when the magician opens his box, the man has disappeared, or the work. The novelist does not know the soul of his characters in all its recesses; neither does the biographer; you have to accept it. We show how the individual is first of all a type: the child of a bourgeois family, the pupil of Condorcet, that of Sciences-Po, the asthmatic, the “young poet” who sends more letters than he doesn’t receive any, the sea bathing spa guest. What does it mean to be a writer in 1890, or an invert, or a patient, or a doctor? By regular cuts in the history and culture of the time, we hope to escape the boredom of the too particular anecdote. Then comes the moment when the great artist ceases to be a type and, irremediably different, escapes history and structures. Precisely because interpreting is more difficult than recounting, and because it is necessary to take into account the hypothesis, this book is also a demonstration. Since 1959 when we published on Proust, we have inspired other works; in a sense, we are now taking back our property. This is the case, in particular, of our edition of À la recherche du temps perdu in the Bibliothèque de la Pléiade in 1987-1989, and of its introduction, elements of which we will find here, those which tell the story of the ‘work. We just stayed true to ourselves. After having studied the art of the writer in Proust and the novel, painted a panorama of criticism in Lectures de Proust and published, with a team, most of the preparatory sketches of the novel, and an abundant choice of its variants, there was little left for us but to tackle this irritating problem: can we tell the story of Proust’s life? How? ‘Or’ What ? Why ? One readily criticizes the long, scholarly, “American-style” biographies, and the professors who write them. However, we will not find in this big book a single fact without meaning, and few that do not lead to the work: this is how, as often as possible, we have dated the introduction of a theme, an image, of a character, in the novel in gestation, since it is a single novel. Proust reused everything from his life and his thoughts. And we ourselves, although constantly overwhelmed by the surprises of his art, we thought we understood what he knew, what he thought or felt, and wanted to pass it on to readers, to those so numerous across the world, from America to China and Japan, who love this work and this man. Some unknown facts, and an interpretation: a life is like a score; there are many ways to replay it: do not abuse the rubato; not to play either, as the grandmother of the Proustian hero said, “too dry”. The tone of the biographer, his voice get along and grow old. Such is a procurator; another, hagiographer; another, melodramatic. A life is interpreted like a sonata, or a play: it is better to imitate Berma and choose a transparent, invisible game. Which is not giving up writing: style is made of sacrifices. »

“(…) The biography of a great writer is not that of a man of the world, or of a pervert, or of a patient: it is that of a man who draws his greatness from what he writes, because he has sacrificed everything to her, and his littleness, for that matter. This counts, of course, but it is made to be overcome. Jouhandeau noted in a notebook, which he did not publish himself, stories of a bath boy; he would have done better to reflect on the story of Sodom and Gomorrah, or to show how Proust passed from one to the other, by what metamorphosis. So, what events make up such an existence? You cannot tell a life story without linking the events that make it up: this is the double meaning of the word “relation”. And yet, life is lived from day to day in confusion, uncertainty: Proust himself feared for a long time that he would not be able to fulfill his vocation – until 1908; he was then thirty-seven years old. Yet he writes: “Everything is connected in an artist’s life according to the implacable logic of interior evolutions. » (…)

Copyright Jean-Yves Tadié /Gallimard/Folio/Volume)

Jean Yves Tadie the keys to Proustian genius

Proust unprecedented event at the BNF

On the occasion of the 100e anniversary of the death of Marcel Proust, the BNF presents a exposure “which brings together for the first time capital and unpublished pieces”. See information below.

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Jean-Yves Tadié: the keys to Proustian genius

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