By Lorenza Foschini
Jacques GuÉrin used to be a famous businessman on the head of his family's profitable body spray corporation, yet his actual ardour used to be for infrequent books and literary manuscripts. From the time he used to be a tender guy, he frequented the antiquarian bookshops of Paris looking for misplaced, forgotten treasures. the last word prize? whatever from the palms of Marcel Proust. GuÉrin pointed out with Proust extra deeply than with the other author, and whilst disorder introduced him unintentionally lower than the care of Marcel's brother, Dr. Robert Proust, he observed it as a notable chance. Shamed via Marcel's extravagant writings, embarrassed through his homosexuality, and indignant through his forget for bourgeois respectability, his relatives had began to intentionally smash and promote their inheritance of his notebooks, letters, manuscripts, furni-ture, and private results. Horrified through the destruction, and fed on with wish, GuÉrin ingratiated himself with Marcel's heirs, placating them with money and kindness in trade for the writer's invaluable, infrequent fabric is still. After years of relentless persuasion, GuÉrin was once ultimately rewarded with a hugely own prize, one he had by no means dreamed of owning, a relic he precious to the tip of his lengthy lifestyles: Proust's overcoat. Proust's Overcoat introduces a solid of fascinating and unforgettable characters, every one encouraged and affected by Marcel, his writing, and his orphaned items. jointly they show a curious and compelling story of misplaced and located, of universal issues and unusual wants.
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Extra resources for Proust's Overcoat: The True Story of One Man's Passion for All Things Proust
Guérin made his way into the rooms that had once been decorated in that bourgeois taste he had found so dispiriting on his first visit. Now he found the rooms empty and desolate. Coming into what had been the office where he had once breathlessly fingered Marcel Proust’s manuscript notebooks, he noticed, solitary and poignant, the two massive pieces of furniture that had belonged to the writer. He recognized the huge, clumsy, tarnished black pear-wood desk in the style of the second empire, with its aristocratic pretensions.
She regained her calm demeanor, and then smiled broadly at him. She seemed rather pleased with herself. Guérin was stunned by this reply. He watched the flames darting out of the fireplace beside him. Flames such as these, he thought, would be trained on the earthly remains of a genius. He got up and left the room, dazed and incredulous, inconsolable, thinking that one didn’t need war or revolution for there to be destruction. Families take it as their right to reduce to ashes any precious vestiges they choose.
Jacques, though a successful businessman, chemist, and manufacturer of perfumes, was an introverted bibliophile well known in Parisian cultural circles. Jean, more extroverted, was a painter, who shared many of his brother’s interests. Both were sexually attracted to men. Neither hid anything from the other, but that is not to say that their relationship was uncomplicated or free of tension. Dumbfounding his older brother, Jean had let their mother know that both of her sons were homosexual. This was in 1924.