Thousands of letters written by Marcel Proust (1871-1922) will be available to scholars, Proust fans and the public on a website created by University of Illinois researchers and their partners in France to digitize Proust’s correspondence.
The first phase of the Corr-Proust website – Marcel Proust’s World War I letters – was launched in late November. The French-language site features letters written by Proust between 1914 and 1918, including one to his financial adviser on the eve of World War I, as Proust’s younger brother joined the French army (English translation from a printed volume of Proust’s letters): “In the terrible days we are going through, you have other things to do besides writing letters and bothering with my petty interests, which I assure you seem wholly unimportant when I think that millions of men are going to be massacred in a War of the Worlds comparable with that of (H.G.) Wells, because the Emperor of Austria thinks it advantageous to have an outlet onto the Black Sea.”
The Corr-Proust website continues the legacy of Proust scholarship at Illinois. Two researchers who specialize in Proust’s correspondence are overseeing the project – Francois Proulx, a professor of French, and Caroline Szylowicz, the Kolb-Proust librarian and a curator of rare books and manuscripts.