Monday, July 04, 2022

Marcel Proust, du coté de la Mère, MAHJ


I’ve been eating and painting madeleines for 2 days thanks to Marcel Proust, Maison Angelina, Mado Paris and Boulanger de la Tour. It feels like longer. 

I missed the  Marcel Proust exhibit at Carnavalet. 
I didn’t want to miss the exhibit at MAHJ (Marcel Proust, du coté de la Mère). It’s on till 28, August, 2022 in the Marais. 
The first segment focuses on 
Jeanne, Proust’s mamma, a woman of great culture, born into wealth and privilege and privately well-educated in all areas. Women were not allowed to attend school then. In many ways she educated her son, having him translate texts into English, traveling alone with him to Venice.
Wikipedia says: “Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust was a French novelist, critic, and essayist who wrote the monumental novel In Search of Lost Time, originally published in French in 7 volumes between 1913 and 1927. He is considered by critics and writers to be one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. 
The paintings in this exhibit are simply wonderful, lent from many sources. Monet was his favorite painter. There are several.
Proust spent summers in the beach-side resorts of  Trouville-sur-mer. 
And Cabourge, hobnobbing with other Parisian writers, musicians and artists of renown. These Normandie towns became the Balbec in ‘In Search of Lost Time’. 

The first loyal patron “At the Ritz, no one pushes you around," asserted Marcel Proust, explaining why the great Impressionist writer was so enamoured of the grand hotel. Present at the inauguration, he was invited to countless receptions and hosted many dinners of his own. 

You can too take tea at the Salon de Proust.Why not? 

The exhibit displays some of the 75 notebooks Proust scribbled his first drafts of his books into. His contemporaries thought him a snob, which he was, an effete, a charmer. No one wanted to publish his first book, Swan’s Way. It was turned down famously by Andre Gide, who had not even read it. (Later he apologized profusely and begged to publish the later books)!So Proust paid editors Grasset to publish it, just like writers are self-publishing today on Amazon. You can find the only bi-lingual version here. He won the Legion d’Honneur for the books.

I haven’t read all 7 books 📚 but I intend to start. I saw the movies, listened 2 times to the BBC dramatization and read the comic book. This doesn’t count. You’re supposed to read In Search of Lost Time at least 4 times in your life according to one expert (there are many opinions out there). 
2022 is the centennial of Proust’s death. There will be another exhibit at BnF in October. Last year was the 150th anniversary of his birth. Have you read Proust?

I’ve definitely more than fulfilled my quota of Proustian madeleines. Though recently it was discovered in a first draft, the famously fluted cookie was originally a piece of toast with honey🍯. Fortunately for the cookie world, Proust changed that by the third draft👏 Thank you for reading Parisbreakfast☺️You can gift 🎁  yourself a Proustian madeleine, Paris letters 💌 & maps 🗺 in my Etsy shop. XOXO 🐻☺️❤️🍓


  1. Great Post Carol!
    I just read a lot about Proust…. the Madelaine experience spoke to me….
    So much Lost time…. Figured he would explain… and he did…
    Time is regained by memory unearthing the past! And creativity… reliving the past experience in making art…. Art overcomes time… Lucky you!!!!! to see all these current shows in Paris….

  2. I do feel very lucky to have so much art available in one town Lois.
    I decided I Must make more of an effort to see what’s on.
    And so many exhibits are closing in July! A lot to see

  3. You could certainly give tours! Looks wonderful..Love the paintings and I LOVE madeleines.

  4. AWC Catering11:03 AM

    I've never read Proust. I should get started!

  5. I would like to give a Madeleine tour Monique
    And then do a test tasting Haha

  6. I have got to say, having read the 1st three novels of Proust’s opus, that you would have to live a very long life to read all of them four times! Or, be a speed reader…yikes!

    It’s lovely that you got to see this exhibit, Carol. It was such an interesting period in French history. I would have loved to have lived then. Thank you for bringing the exhibit to us. Now…I’m yearning for a madeleine. ❤️

  7. Dorance3:49 PM

    I would have loved to have seen this Proust exhibit, it looks so interesting. When Bob and I were dating, 30+ years ago, we were in a bookstore browsing. Back then the title was translated as “Remembrance of Things Past”.

  8. D., I’ve always know it by that title, but stand corrected.
    “ The novel gained fame in English in translations by C. K. Scott Moncrieff and Terence Kilmartin as Remembrance of Things Past, but the title In Search of Lost Time, a literal rendering of the French, became ascendant after D. J. Enright adopted it for his revised translation published in 1992”.

  9. I have never read Proust but I have eaten a lot of madeleines. Your rendition of them is very good - makes me want to go out and get some, but here they are not as good as those in Paris.

  10. I've eaten madeleines but not read Proust, maybe one day. My 'to read' book pile is already too big!

  11. Hmm…we’re all a bunch of avid madeleine eaters, with not many Proust readers📚📚…

  12. Annabella12:35 AM

    I have just started listening to A la recherche du temps perdu as my bedtime book to put me to sleep, lol. Which it does beautifully :) But I am also enamoured of his style and detail. I had no idea it was the 200th anniversaire this year so lovely synchronicity. Hard to get madeleines here in philistine Oz but there is a Frenchman at one market who does them - such a treat!


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