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MAURIAC, François

De quelques cœurs inquiets. Petits essais de psychologie religieuse

Paris, Société littéraire de France, 1920



12mo (165 x 124mm)
INSCRIBED TO (in brown ink, on half-title)

À Marcel Proust,
en témoigage de ma vive admiration
et de ma sympathie.
F. Mauriac

[To Marcel Proust, As a token of my great admiration and my sympathy]

AS ISSUED, untrimmed, partially cut. Case

François Mauriac and Proust met in February 1918 at Madame Alphonse Daudet’s, rather late since they were already frequenting the same friends (Lucien Daudet, Anna de Noailles, Barrès, Cocteau and Jacques-Emile Blanche). But Mauriac had been a great reader of Proust for a long time : "From the first lines of this preface [Sésame et les lys, 1906], I felt I was at the border of an unknown country. If I own a copy of the first edition of Du Côté de chez Swann, it is just that as soon as I could decipher the name of Proust in the window of a book shop, I hurried in to purchase the book" (Du Côté de chez Proust, p. 276). When they met, Proust seemed to Mauriac "pretty small, arched in very tight clothing, thick black hair shadowing pupils dilated, it would seem, by drugs. He set a night eye on me whose fixity intimidated me" (ibid, p. 246). Proust wrote to their mutual friend Jacques Truelle that he found Mauriac "charming" (letter of February 4, 1918). The following year, he would tell him a "secret about a working method ", by revealing to him the importance in the architecture of the whole of A la Recherche du temps perdu of the Montjouvain’s scene "column with the obscene tent" and symbol of Gomohrra.

In 1920, Mauriac published a study dedicated to his favorite writers. That would be this book : De quelques coeurs inquiets. He sent a copy to Proust, who replied to him on July 9 :

"Dear Sir, Thank you for your lovely book that also strikes by the strength and freedom of religious feeling. These communions acquired in childhood and that the converted do not have, what more can be said sincerely, more tenderly Christian, this love already acquired, these years of happiness in union with God that we would not want to deprive ourselves of. But also to defend Beyle of only freedom, and celebrate your dear poets."

And yet, the only pages cut from the copy are precisely those dedicated to Baudelaire (pp. 52 à 61) and Stendhal (pp. 101-109) that Proust had clearly read. It is remarkable that Proust entitled the last chapter of Sodome et Gomorrhe II, (1922) "The Intermittences of the heart", like an echo to his Quelques coeurs inquiets.

After sending this copy, Mauriac wrote a preface to the excerpt from Côté de Guermantes II that La Revue hebdomadaire published (February 26, 1921) : "Let there be no more about this book spoken of immorality. His art had the indifference of the sun : everything is pulled from the shadow, and even that which before him no one dared to name". Proust immediately had Mauriac over for dinner in his room on the rue Hamelin. He dedicated a copy of Plaisirs et les Jours to him. A few days after the publication of Mauriac’s article, he wrote to Jacques Boulenger, director of L’Opinion : "he tried to preventively serve as a shield for me against the attacks that would not fail I believe, to happen, on the occasion of my next book entitled Guermantes II-Sodome et Gomorrhe I. He said particularly that with me the question of mortality and immorality does not arise. I would have been very happy that this judgment be stated about him" (letter of March 5, 1921).

REFERENCES : Kolb, Correspondance de Marcel Proust, XIX, p. 354 – Dictionnaire Marcel Proust, Paris, Honoré Champion, 2004, article by Nathalie Mauriac Dyer, p. 599 -- François Mauriac, Du Côté de chez Proust, Paris, La Table ronde, 1947 – Jean Deprun, La Philosophie de l'inquiétude en France au XVIIIe siècle, Paris, Vrin, 1979