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Through the exclusive documents that Patricia Mante-Proust inherited, she revisits her rich family history in images and anecdotes This first publication of a collection of original Proustian treasures includes numerous documents from the family's collection in the National Archives and items found in the drawers of Aunt Léonie's famous house in Illiers-Combray, as well as correspondence, rare and unpublished manuscripts, and memories rediscovered in the places that Proust frequented and loved. Its purpose is to celebrate a life and an era that, through the magic of an inimitable style, will live for eternity. For a long time I used to go to bed earlyis probably one of the most famous quotations from French literature, the very first words of an epic structure compared by its author to a cathedral. In the case of Remembrance of Things Pastit is impossible to distinguish between the author and the work. No writer has ever pushed introspection and remembrance to such a level. Through his prodigious quest for the flavor of the little madeleine cake, he has acquired an almost mystical aura for generations of readers throughout the world. Proust has often been described as feverish, excessively shy, a recluse in his cork-lined room; yet, between visions and real-life experiences, who was Marcel Proust in reality? Could the famous Questionnaire that he compiled and answered and that bears his name shed any light on this enigma?
Patricia Mante-Proust is the great-grand-niece of the writer and the keeper of his estate. Mireille Naturel is the general secretary of The Society of Friends of Marcel Proust. She is the author of Proust and Flaubert: the Secret of Writing and Proust and the Literary Act: Receiving and Creating, the editor of How Proust is Received Abroad and Correspondence and Manuscripts, and she produced the critical edition of Swann in Love for Flammarion.