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The Memoirs of Ernest A. Forssgren

Proust's Swedish Valet

Ernest A. Forssgren; Edited and Annotated by William C. Carter

View Inside Price: $65.00

June 21, 2006
192 pages, 5-1/2 x 8-1/4
8 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300114638

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The memoirs of Ernest Forssgren (1894–1970), the young Swede who served as Marcel Proust’s last valet, provide new insights into Proust’s life and death. Previously, Forssgren’s memoir has been published only in excerpts, in French, with serious omissions and alterations. 
 This book presents the complete text of the memoir, with an introduction and helpful annotations by the distinguished Proust scholar William C. Carter. Also included here is other new material: the inscriptions that Proust wrote for Forssgren’s copy of Swann’s Way; an important telegram that Proust sent Forssgren, which defines with greater precision the novelist’s activities in the final months of his life; Forssgren’s “Summary” of the first English biography of Proust, by George D. Painter, which provides many new details about Proust’s last trip to Cabourg in 1914 and his attempts at seducing young men of the servant class; and the notes that Forssgren made in his copy of Painter’s biography.

William C. Carter is Distinguished Professor of French at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the author of two other books published by Yale University Press, Proust in Love and Marcel Proust: A Life, which was named a New York Times Notable Book in 2000.

"To have this memoir and the ancillary materials made available is important for Proust scholarship, and of considerable interest for a general public endlessly fascinated by Proust. It should also attract those interested in American immigrant history and sociology, and those who enjoy variations of the 'Upstairs-Downstairs' theme."—Katherine Kolb, Southeastern Louisiana University

"A Gosford Park-ish curiosity for true Proust yentas."—Rhonda Lieberman, BookForum

“The book is undoubtedly another small but essential addition to the vast mountain of Proustiana and scholarship.” - Ian Sansom, The Guardian
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