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Description - The Translation of Memories by Pat F. Prestwich

In 1896 Marie Nordlinger arrived in Paris to study painting. Her cousin, Reynaldo Hahn, was becoming kno wn as a composer and his friend Marcel Proust was an aspirin g novelist. P.F. Prestwich recounts the relationship between these young people. '

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780720610567
ISBN-10: 0720610567
Format: Hardback
(220mm x 145mm x 22mm)
Pages: 272
Imprint: Peter Owen Publishers
Publisher: Peter Owen Publishers
Publish Date: 1-Feb-1999
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Book Reviews - The Translation of Memories by Pat F. Prestwich

UK Kirkus Review » Marie Nordlinger met Proust in Paris in 1896 through her cousin, the composer and performer Reynaldo Hahn. The 20-year-old from Manchester was in Paris to study painting, while Reynaldo's close friend Marcel Proust had completed degrees in law and philosophy, and had just published his first collection of prose and poetry. United by their devotion to Reynaldo, with whom they were both in love, Marie and Marcel began a close friendship that was to last until Proust's death 30 years later. P F Prestwich, a retired arts journalist, worked with Marie Nordlinger transcribing her correspondence with Proust, and inherited Marie's archive of letters and memorabilia. From these, Prestwich reconstructed the three-way friendship, giving new insights into the formation of Proust the novelist and the genesis of his great life work A La Recherche du Temps Perdu. The result is also an exciting account of aspects of early 20th-century intellectual life, seen from the intelligent and talented Marie Nordlinger's lively point of view. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » Drawing on letters exchanged between Marcel Proust, remarkable composer and musician Reynaldo Hahn, and Marie Nordlinger, Hahn's British cousin, who distinguished herself as an artist, journalist, and businesswoman, Prestwich weaves a sketchy portrayal of the fin-de-siecle European cultural elite. In a superficially erudite manner, Prestwich (a freelance arts journalist and heir to Nordlinger's letters and memorabilia) throws into her book all sorts of references to various turn-of-the-century personalities and events, from the Dreyfus affair to the 1900 Universal Exhibition to Oscar Wilde's trial. Amazingly, random mosaic pieces like these eventually fall together to form a rather coherent account of the episodes that served as raw material for Proust's masterpiece, In Search of Lost Time. Although Prestwich pays equal tribute to each of her three protagonists, it's undoubtedly the figure of Proust who keeps our interest afloat. As reflected in Nordlinger's memories and letters, Proust seems to have been a passive, self-reflecting observer rather than an active participant in the turmoil of life. Inclined to hypochondria, he was constantly preoccupied with issues of his own mortality and often remained bed-ridden for months due to attacks of asthma or hay fever. His nervous disorder might have resulted from semisuppressed homosexuality, which he himself once qualified as an "incurable disease," or from the overprotective attitude of his loving mother. Hahn's remarks to Marie suggest that Marcel deliberately cultivated pain and suffering, considering them beneficial to his art. One of the most invaluable portions of the book deals with Proust's fascination with Ruskin's aesthetic theories. During the long 14 years (1895 - 1909) he spent drafting preliminary episodes for his major novel, Proust's main passion and regular occupation was translating and interpreting Ruskin's works with Nordlinger's assistance. Prestwich's analysis of the correspondence between Proust and two of his friends can supply the key to a fuller understanding of many episodes from In Search of Lost Time, but readers unfamiliar with the details of the novel may find it hard to appreciate this biographical commentary. (Kirkus Reviews)

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