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The acclaimed Proust biographer William C. Carter portrays Proust’s amorous adventures and misadventures from adolescence through his adult years, supplying where appropriate Proust’s own sensitive, intelligent, and often disillusioned observations about love and sexuality. Proust is revealed as a man agonizingly caught between the constant fear of public exposure as a homosexual and the need to find and express love. In telling the story of Proust in love, Carter also shows how the author’s experiences became major themes in his novel In Search of Lost Time.
Carter discusses Proust’s adolescent sexual experiences, his disastrous brothel visit to cure homosexual inclinations, and his first great loves. He also addresses the duel Proust fought after the journalist Jean Lorrain alluded to his homosexuality in print, his flirtations with respectable women and high-class prostitutes, and his affairs with young men of the servant class. With new revelations about Proust’s love life and a gallery of photographs, the book provides an unprecedented glimpse of Proust’s gay Paris.
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William C. Carter is Distinguished Professor of French at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Marcel Proust—whose In Search of Lost Time is, as much as anything, a study of love in all its polymorphously perverse forms—himself loved not wisely but all too well. As Carter (Marcel Proust: A Life) shows, he alienated the objects of his affection with the same obsessive, possessive love he portrayed so effectively in Swann and the narrator of his great work. The one man with whom he had a passionately reciprocated relationship, composer Reynaldo Hahn, was alienated by Proust's dalliance with a very young Lucien Daudet and by Proust's imposing demands. And he too often loved men who couldn't return his affection, particularly his secretary, Alfred Agostinelli, who was heterosexual and finally fled his employer's suffocating love. Did Proust also love women? After weighing the evidence, Carter says it's impossible to know definitively; his professed love for certain women may have been to deflect charges that he was homosexual. Indeed, amazingly, when a journalist insinuated in print that Proust was involved with Daudet, the novelist challenged him to a duel to defend his honor (both emerged unscathed). Carter offers a warmly sympathetic portrait that skillfully links a study of Proust's philosophy of love to his own unhappy experiences of it—experiences that inspired him creatively; he saw love, in Carter's words, as a "superb folly," the wellspring of art. (May)
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Book Description Yale University Press, 2006. Hardcover. Condition: New. 1st Edition. 8vo, hardcover. NEW in dust jacket. Seller Inventory # 1180516.44
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Book Description Yale University Press, U.S.A., 2006. Hardcover. Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. First edition hardcover book and dj both in new condition. Black and white photos. Scarce. Seller Inventory # 5257
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