I have often thought of my spouse as rather Proustian. Like the famous French novelist, the Husband’s art always has as a main theme- Time, & like Marcel Proust, he takes a very long time to produce his work. There are 12 volumes of Proust’s novel- A la Recherche du Temps Perdu which was published over 14 years. This monumental work changed the traditional narrative to recreate the sense of memory, the past together in thought with the present, as each moment of the present becomes the past.
One of the Husband's rather Proustian pieces
It is a landmark in gay literature. Volume 4 - Sodom & Gomorrah has long sections about homosexuality, & the entire novel contains gay characters, considerations, & experiences. Proust was not really at home with his sexuality. His trysts were most often with the lower classes & with his own servants. His deepest relationship was with his chauffeur, who lived with his wife in Proust’s townhouse. He also had an affair with his secretary, Albert Nahmias, who gave the name for the novel’s love interest, Albertine.
When he went to male brothels & sex clubs, Proust liked to be whipped & humiliated & who among us does not? Wealthy from his inheritance, he typically slept during the day & wrote at night, lying in his blue bed, in his bedroom, which was walled with cork for silence. The bedroom is on permanent on display at Musée Carnavalet in Paris.
Born in 1871, Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust was the son of a wealthy Catholic doctor & his Jewish wife & grew up in Paris near the Champs-Elysées. He had his first asthma attack at the age of 9 & suffered from it for the rest of his life.
His father died in 1903, & his mother in 1905. Before their deaths, Proust mixed with the richest & highest of society in France ,mostly in the Paris Town Houses or at the country estates & chateaux of his wealthy friends. He based many on his characters on real life people. After the deaths of his parents he increasingly withdrew from social life & lived mainly in the bedroom of his apartment on the Boulevard Haussmann. His last public appearance was at the New Year's Eve ball given by the discreetly gay Comte de Beaumont in 1921.
I have only read volume #1: Swann’s Way, but my bucket list has me reading the entire work before I check out. I suppose I need to get started. A la Recherche du Temps Perdu is considered to be the greatest novel of 20th Century.