PROUST, Marcel (1871-1922)

Autograph letter signed « Marcel Proust » to Marie Scheikévitch
[Paris], 16th April 1918, 1 p. in-8°

« I will arrange to see you very soon »

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PROUST, Marcel (1871-1922)

Autograph letter signed « Marcel Proust » to Marie Scheikévitch
[Paris], 16th April 1918, 1 p. in-8°
With envelope
Paper clip marks, previous mounting on margin (see scans)

Affectionate letter from Marcel Proust to Marie Scheikévitch in which the writer must, with regret, postpone the appointment made with her

« Madame,
Je ne pourrai pas venir jeudi et je le regrette beaucoup. Mais je m’arrangerai pour vous voir très prochainement car j’en ai un grand désir. Je ne vous écris que ces deux lignes parce que je souffre beaucoup des yeux.
Votre bien respectueux ami
Marcel Proust »

The abuse of night work, combined with the burning of constant fumigations, had tired the sight and damaged the eyes of Marcel Proust, who, however, as if he had known that time was running out, refused to rest.

An intimate of Proust who did much effort in using her network for the publication of the first volume of The Search :

Marie Scheikevitch (1882-1964) was the daughter of a wealthy Russian magistrate and art collector who settled in France in 1896. George D. Painter described her as “one of the smartest and most prominent ladies of the new generation.” Patron of artists and writers, she frequented salons and then founded her own. She was friends with Jean Cocteau, Anna de Noailles, Reynaldo Hahn, the Arman de Caillavet family, among others.
A feeling of singular quality united Marcel Proust to Marie Scheikévitch. Although they met briefly in 1905 in Mme Lemaire’s salon, it was in 1912 that they really get to know eachother. There followed a correspondence that lasted until 1922, the year of the writer’s death. Seeing each other “almost every day” as she would later say (friends writing all the less as they see each other more), we know only 28 letters from Proust addressed to her.
She opened to him the doors of her salon, frequented by all that Paris had of illustrious personalities in literature and arts, so that he paid tribute to her in Sodome et Gomorrhe under the veil of Madame Timoléon d’Amoncourt, “a charming little woman, of a spirit, like her beauty, so ravishing, that only one of the two would have succeeded in pleasing “.
A fervent admirer of the writer, she spent a great deal at the time of the publication of the first volume of The Search, trying everything to put Proust in touch with the Parisian personalities she considered most capable of helping him. It was she who recommended him to her lover Adrien Hébrard, the influential director of the newspaper Le Temps, to obtain the famous interview of November 12, 1913 by Élie-Joseph Bois, on the eve of Swann‘s publication: This was the first significant article published in the major press and devoted to The Search. To thank her, Proust sent her a major inscription (recently acquired by the BnF) when Swann was published.

Lettres à Madame Scheikévitch (1928), p. 101
Correspondance, Kolb, t. XVII, n°72
Marcel Proust II – Biographie, Jean-Yves Tadié, Folio, pp. 391-392