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House of Combray
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The House of the Combrays
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Your email or Green-Acres logon Send the password. I drifted into the sedentary life of the French countryside, begun with long morning walks into the village for a coffee and croissant.
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She would begin reading to me in French, then translate it into English. Our marriage ended, but not my love for Proust. I continued to read the novel, often with difficulty, until the revelation of its final volume.
The House of the Combrays () - salisenbuddge.ml
Then I would make time every day to go over parts of it again, sometimes only certain passages, like a favored piece of recorded music. This went on for 10 years, in which I devoured every biography and essay about Proust I could find and became familiar with his life, which seemed to closely parallel his work. It was a solitary pursuit. The only other person I knew in Hollywood who appreciated the novel was the actor Louis Jourdan, who lived with his wife of many years in Beverly Hills in a single-level house surrounded by books, recordings and antiques.
Louis was always cast as an archetypal French lover but his passions were literature and music. I got to know him well in his later years. I would visit him two or three days a week. I could never compose music having listened to Beethoven, or play an instrument after hearing Martha Argerich or Miles Davis. Encountering this place in person would be, for me, like visiting a monument. It was sparsely furnished with Louis XV reproductions.
A large television set perched on a draped table seemed out of place. I was told by the hotel manager that the room was reserved for Proust to entertain whenever he could venture out from his cork-lined bedroom at Boulevard Haussmann, where he often lay bedridden from asthma. No doubt he absorbed inspiration from conversations here, ones that made their way into his writing. His curiosity about the inner lives of his characters was constant and his senses were acute to stimuli that might have gone unnoticed by others.
Built in the 18th century around a central courtyard, the school was formerly a Capuchin monastery. I entered the original two-story Mansard-roofed building through a large blue portico flanked by two Tuscan columns. I had no appointment. She returned my shyness with scorn. She appeared skeptical. I told her that his work inspired me and that I wanted to find out everything I could about him.
They must have them in translation. She stared at me as though wondering if I was joking. For a long time I watched the students playing soccer in the courtyard or talking in groups or reading alone. She returned, proudly displaying a stack of Xeroxed papers and handed them to me. They were about an inch thick. There were some early short stories written when he was 13, some papers in Latin and Greek, biology and chemistry.
I thanked her again and shook her hand. But the apartment on the second floor had sentimental value for him. His maternal great-uncle Louis Weil, who died 10 years before Proust moved in, had owned the building. Proust spent precious time there with his family, and it was here that he began to structure his memories, transforming the lives of his family and friends and organizing the notebooks begun in as a series of essays against the literary criticism of Charles-Augustin Sainte-Beuve.