Review: Bloch-Dano, Madame Proust

October 29, 2007
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Evelyn Bloch-Dano’s Madame Proust: A Biography, delivers one of the most richly detailed biographical accounts of Marcel Proust’s mother to date. As Bloch-Dano shows, Madame Proust was one of the most important influences on Marcel’s life, and his work. But as a recent review in the UK’s Literary Review notes, Bloch-Dano’s work not only sheds new light on Proust and his literary masterpiece, but also stands on its own as an intriguing social history. Allan Massie writes for the Literary Review:

Madame Proust was born Jeanne Weil, Jewish on both sides of her family. Evelyne Bloch-Dano gives a thorough and fascinating account of how Jeanne Proust’s family assimilated in little more than a couple of generations, so that, by the time of her birth in 1849, they were French men and women who happened to be of the Jewish faith, rather than Jews living in France.…
This fascinating book is full of interesting social and cultural observation, of information about French Jewish life, the position of Jews in society and, of course, the Dreyfus case. But it is essentially a study of one of the most remarkable and fruitful of mother-son relationships. As such it is a book that every Proustian will want to read. The better you know A la recherche, the more richness you will find here.

Read an excerpt from the book.

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