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The Seventy-Five Folios and Other Unpublished Manuscripts

Marcel Proust

Edited by Nathalie Mauriac Dyer
Translated by Sam Taylor

ISBN 9780674271012

Publication date: 04/25/2023

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Presented for the first time in English, the recently discovered early manuscripts of the twentieth century’s most towering literary figure offer uncanny glimpses of his emerging genius and the creation of his masterpiece.

One of the most significant literary events of the century, the discovery of manuscript pages containing early drafts of Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time put an end to a decades-long search for the Proustian grail. The Paris publisher Bernard de Fallois claimed to have viewed the folios, but doubts about their existence emerged when none appeared in the Proust manuscripts bequeathed to the Bibliothèque Nationale in 1962. The texts had in fact been hidden among Fallois’s private papers, where they were found upon his death in 2018. The Seventy-Five Folios and Other Unpublished Manuscripts presents these folios here for the first time in English, along with seventeen other brief unpublished texts. Extensive commentary and notes by the Proust scholar Nathalie Mauriac Dyer offer insightful critical analysis.

Characterized by Fallois as the “precious guide” to understanding Proust’s masterpiece, the folios contain early versions of six episodes included in the novel. Readers glimpse what Proust’s biographer Jean-Yves Tadié describes as the “sacred moment” when the great work burst forth for the first time. The folios reveal the autobiographical extent of Proust’s writing, with traces of his family life scattered throughout. Before the existence of Charles Swann, for example, we find a narrator named Marcel, a testament to what one scholar has called “the gradual transformation of lived experience into (auto)fiction in Proust’s elaboration of the novel.”

Like a painter’s sketches and a composer’s holographs, Proust’s folios tell a story of artistic evolution. A “dream of a book, a book of a dream,” Fallois called them. Here is a literary magnum opus finding its final form.

Praise

  • Can we read Proust’s epic today and not care to know how it came about? In these pages, hidden from public view for a whole century, we can almost feel how Proust spent a lifetime planning and writing his book, picking his way towards what would become his great contribution to humanity.

    —André Aciman

Authors

  • Marcel Proust (1871–1922), French novelist and essayist, is best known for his seven-volume masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time.
  • Nathalie Mauriac Dyer is a senior researcher at the Institute of Modern Texts and Manuscripts Division of the National Center for Scientific Research in France, where she leads the Proust team. She is the author of Proust inachevé: Le dossier Albertine disparue and co-curator of the centenary exhibit Marcel Proust: La fabrique de l’oeuvre at the Bibliothèque Nationale. She is the great-granddaughter of Robert Proust, Marcel’s brother.
  • Sam Taylor is an award-winning literary translator and novelist. He has translated more than sixty books from French, including Laurent Binet’s HHhH, Leïla Slimani’s The Perfect Nanny, and Maylis de Kerangal’s The Heart.

Book Details

  • 360 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Belknap Press
  • Preface by Jean-Yves Tadié

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