Copy of a rare Marcel Proust's book sells for 1.5 million euros
Rare Marcel Proust's book smashed the previous record for a piece of French literature held by the poet Charles Baudelaireâs Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), a copy of which sold for 775,000 euros nine years ago
A copy of Marcel Proust's Swann's Way which he dedicated to his 'little darling', sold for 1.51 million euros ($1.7 million) in Paris — a world record for a French book, auction house Sotheby's said. The rare copy of the first volume of the French writer's masterpiece, Remembrance of Things Past, had been expected to go for between 600,000 and 800,000 euros.
It smashed the previous record for a piece of French literature held by the poet Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal (The Flowers of Evil), a copy of which sold for 775,000 euros nine years ago. The copy of Swann's Way is the very first from a numbered luxuriously bound edition of the novel that Proust paid for himself and gave as a gift to his beloved Lucien Daudet.
"You are not in this book. You are too much in my heart that I could you never portray you objectively. You will never be (a mere) 'character' because you are the better half of its author,” he wrote. The novel includes the famous "madeleine moment" when the taste of a little almond cake dipped in tea sets off a flood of nostalgic memories for the book’s narrator.
It was the star lot in the fourth part of the mammoth sale of the library of the late French fashion mogul Pierre Berge. It smashed the previous record for a piece of French literature held by the poet Charles Baudelaire’s Les Fleurs du mal, a copy of which sold for 775,000 euros.
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