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The first reader who believed in Marcel Proust

The letters that the French novelist exchanged with the editor who knew how to value his work are published in Spanish.

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The first reader who believed in Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust (1871-1922) wrote thousands of letters, many of m so as not to have to speak. They were a substitute for conversation, and almost a mania, as it shows that to communicate with his mor some days preferred leave him long notes next to a vase. Philip Kolb, in charge of canonical edition of his correspondence, gared more than five thousand letters, and considered that it meant one-tenth of total. Two hundred of whom Proust crossed and editor and critic Jacques Rivière now see Spanish light in editorial La fingernail RoTa. His translator, Juan de Sola, pondered relevance of se missives as Rivière was " person who really took Proust seriously" and "his first detector".

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Lost first letter that Rivière directed to Proust, is retained answer of this on February 7, 1914, which begins with a "I finally find a reader who senses that my book is a dogmatic work and a construction!" "And how happy I am for that reader to be you." That day, his "spiritual friendship" was founded. John of Sola recalls that at that time Proust was a "worldly and light" writer, who had unsuccessfully published Pleasures and Days (1896), while Rivière was passing by being a "known character" in literary world.

Letter from Marcel Proust to his editor and friend Jacques Rivière. © Fonds Rivière-Fournier. Bibliothèque de Bourge

Rivière had begun collaborating in Nouvelle Revue Française, a magazine of rapid influence that was also unfolded in editorial, NRF, when Proust managed to publish first installment in search of Lost time in November 1913, after several rejections, Including that of NRF itself. When author offered to pay for publication of his own book, editor Bernard Grasset accepted without even finishing reading manuscript, and in January 1914 for part of Swann fell into hands of Rivière, which fascinated it recommended André Gide and Gaston Gallimard who treats Sen to publish following volumes in NRF. "Do as much as I can to get to him: Believe me, later it will be an honor to have published Proust," he recommended to Gallimard. In 1916 novelist left Grasset by NRF, and in 1917 he received first tests of shadow of girls in Bloom, second volume of his great literary project.

Empathy between m was immediate. Sick by n, Proust let him know: "I do not receive anyone" at home, but in case of Rivière: "It will make me dream to chat with you if that day I do not feel bad." "Unfortunately, I can't know in advance, my crises don't warn." His exchange of letters reflects "how literary world worked at beginning of twentieth century", says Sola, referring to favours, enmity, commissions, editing process, etc. In letters that survived time it is noted unconditional admiration that were professed, advice provided and also reproaches, mood changes, and balances that Rivière had to do to not offend author and try to mediate when Serious differences arose between Proust and Gallimard. The insistence that Proust collaborated in magazine gave rise to famous pieces, such as article in which Proust came out in defense of Flaubert, among or things, for innovative use of verbal times, although regretting that "re may not be a single beautiful metaphor in to "Give work" by author of Madame Bovary.

A friendship of respect and admiration

After a few days he regained joy when he learned that Proust would dedicate novel to him: "For Jacques Rivière, as a token of a grateful, profound, curious, impatient, anticipatory friendship." In time, Rivière returned gesture to him, when he published Aimée: "Marcel Proust, a great portrait of love, dedicates this unworthy sketch to his friend J. R." Unfortunately, he was already dying when he received copy, and could not see dedication. Céleste Albert, his assistant, wrote to Rivière saying that "Mr. Marcel Proust does not realize anything, that is why he does not know yet that you sent him his book".

Intellectual complicity, not without controversies, favored a personal relationship to such an extent that when Rivière once hinted to have money problems, Proust offered to it. "If I see myself in a predicament, and since I propose it, I will resort to you without slightest haste," Rivière accepted.

Change of editorial

The passage to NFR was not simple. Proust complained that publication of his second book "is going to be postponed from week to week, after month to month, and finally from year to year". In fact, he only saw light in June 1919. "My friendship is saddened by disgust you may feel for postponement" of book, lamented Rivière, who took years to tutear author.

The exchange of letters often included constant counting of respective health states. Sample 10 December 1919 letter. "Dear friend, I have been so tired all morning and all afternoon that I now have a horrific asthma crisis: I will take a medicine to try to calm myself and be able to undress." That same day Rivière, Gallimard and Leon Daudet presented mselves in ir house to announce award of Goncourt Prize by shade of girls in flower.

Trust flowed in both directions, and Proust did not hesitate to resort to him to ask for advice, as day he asked: "Would it be advantageous for my books to submit (with options to achieve it, if not, would not) to academy?". His friend, who considered that in academy liked aggressive, thorny and evident writers, was Frank: "You are still too recent, it is too green for your tastes."

The correspondence remained until a few weeks before death of Proust, who feverish, in his last letter was offended by lines that Rivière proposed to redo with a view to give an advance in magazine of following novel. "Dear Jacques, forgive me but one hates you when you see that for you re is not life of ors, soul of ors, but only ten lines, even if y are so bad that y spoil everything." With death of novelist, Rivière collaborated decisively in edition of posthumous volumes of In Search of lost time.


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