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A Night At The Majestic

3.38 of 5 stars 3.38  ·  rating details  ·  61 ratings  ·  13 reviews
'A Night At The Majestic' evokes the luxury & glamour of early 20th century Paris, the intellectual achievement of the modernist movement & the gossip, intrigue & scandal of aristocratic France.
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Published February 15th 2007 by Faber & Faber (first published 2006)
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Sketchbook
Paris, 1922, a midnight supper party was held at the Majestic (now the
Raphael) by UK art collectors Sydney & Violet Schiff to salute Modernism and the Ballets Russes. It was the only time in history that Stravinsky, Diaghilev, Picasso, Joyce and Proust ever shared a table. The party went on until dawn with players coming and going while sipping champagne, nibbling caviar and forking sole Waleska (with a slight cheese flavor) or noisettes of lamb. The event was the climax of Proust's appearan
...more
John
A very interesting book that takes as its focus one of the last dinners that Proust attended before his death. Guests included James Joyce, Picasso, Stravinsky, and other luminaries. Quite the gathering. I will say that this is the book that provided fundamental insights that have formed my understanding of Proust and his work. Quite a straightforward insight - that the title should be translated- Redeeming Lost Time - in the sense of finding something of value in the trivial pursuits of a lifet ...more
Tom Cunliffe
This book makes a very useful addition to the large number of books about Marcel Proust and his times. It is very readable, and successfully and entertainingly recreates the world of Proust.[return][return]The book opens with a large dinner party at the Majestic Hotel, Paris, hosted by Sidney and Violet Schiff and attended by Marcel Proust, James Joyce, Pablo Picasso, Igor Stravinsky and others. Accounts of this party vary from one attender to another, but clearly James Joyce and Marcel Proust f ...more
Robert
Although Proust is my favorite author and his tome my favorite work of literature, I rarely read about him or his life. Lives of artists rarely interest me because I find the biographer, in a way like all biographers, is extrapolating beyond the actual facts. It's the attempt to impose order upon the chaos of an artist's life. I always wonder how much modern sensibilities impose themselves on the interpretation of the artist's actions. We are all creatures of our times. I find great biographers ...more
Ade
Interesting overview of Proust's life and particularly the impact on it of writing his novel. The night referred to in the title is despatched, albeit comprehensively, in the first chapter, after which Davenport-Hines settles for more straightforward biography with occasional call-outs to other modernist tropes and individuals. Proust's various compatriots, rivals and hangers-on are covered in detail. He is particularly strong on exploring the implications and social effects of Proust's homosexu ...more
Kyle Pennekamp
I called it a day after about 1/3 of this book. It really felt like the author found the interesting historical footnote of a party that Picasso, Joyce, and Proust were all at the same party. And then he sold the book proposal. And then realized that there really wasn't enough here for a book. And realized he still had a contract for a book, so compiled some very basic and previously-known biographical facts about Proust and the other guests, then strung them along in chronological order.

There w
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Mia
Provided me with many new insights into Proust. I will now have to re-read Proust yet again, discover new pleasures and nuances missed on earlier, younger, readings. I found Davenport's death chapter, i.e. the last chapter, poignant, superb. It's all in the little patch of yellow wall.
Marc
Een afknapper. Veelbelovende docufictie of ontmoeting tussen Proust, Joyce, Stravinsky en Picasso in Parijs. Maar zeer magere, saaie uitwerking.
Mandy
This is without doubt a useful and interesting book for any fan of Proust's, but the endless name-dropping becomes overwhelming after a while, and there doesn't seem to be any real heart to the book. I certainly learnt a lot, and I felt it was a good introduction to Proust, but somehow it failed to engage me. Pity.
Lockhart
Gets a bit bogged down in name dropping lists of who attended dinners where and when in Paris in the 1920s. You have to plough through all that to reach the moment you are waiting for - the encounter of Joyce and Proust. It's a long wait.
Kevin
There is a boatload of names in this book. A snapshot of Paris society in the early 20th century, involving so far. Very daunting but incredibly informative.
Guy Cranswick
Interesting as far as it goes but a slight anti climax given the material and times.
Crawford
Boring old farts, except they weren't even old!
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“Western civilisation, the élitists all understood, is built upon discrimination: a culture that does not rest on discrimination, that penalises people who discriminate, or rewards the undiscriminating, is worth very little and has only callow, childish pleasures.” 2 likes
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