Manny's Reviews > François le Champi

François le Champi by George Sand
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Jun 05, 12

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bookshelves: french, life-is-proust
Read in January, 1999

Proust fans will recall that this is the book Marcel's mother reads to him during the incident near the beginning of Combray, when he becomes distraught after not getting his goodnight kiss. When I visited the Proust museum in Illiers-Combray, I found that one room had been made up to look like a tableau of this scene, and there was indeed a copy of François le Champi lying on the bedside table.

So, given the importance of the book to A la recherche du temps perdu, I thought I should read it some time - Proust gives you no clue as to what it's about. (view spoiler)

Well! I hope that hasn't destroyed other people's appreciation of the passage from Combray. Personally, I thought it clarified certain aspects of the story. Poor Marcel is a seriously messed-up kid, and I felt I understood better why that might be.

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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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Richard Manny, I wanted to read François le Champi and La mare au diable for exactly the same reason, and eventually I did. I think I even got to use one of these novels in a literature course.


message 2: by Giovanni (new)

Giovanni I still get distraught for not getting my goodnight kiss, but more to the point, I read somewhere that Marcel once said that he regretted having written the "Recherche" in first person narrative, because he didn't want it to be taken as an autobiography... I also take it as a fact that 99% of it is inspired from his life, and indeed, he must have been a messed-up kid :-)


Richard Giovanni wrote: "I also take it as a fact that 99% of it is inspired from his life, and indeed, he must have been a messed-up kid :-)"

LOL! Yes, I think you are right, Giovanni!


Manny Despite Proust's indignant denials, it is almost impossible to believe that it isn't mostly autobiographical at some level.

Do you remember the bit in Le temps retrouvé where he says something like "this is the one detail in the books that's taken from real life, everything else has been made up"? I'm like, right, everything?


Kalliope Manny, I had not seen this review... In mine I posted the photo I took of the book in the room in the Illiers-Combray museum...

I did not know you had gone there...


Manny It was a long time ago... I would like to visit again!

I remember seeing your picture...


message 7: by Richard (last edited Apr 22, 2014 11:38AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Richard I wonder how different A la recherche might have been had George Sand written a book called François le Champignon instead.


Manny Richard, that's a fantastic detail for an alternate history novel. Write it down before you forget it!


Richard Manny wrote: "Richard, that's a fantastic detail for an alternate history novel. Write it down before you forget it!"

The episode of the madeleine would have been the first step in Marcel's meteoric rise to fame as a patissier, or even a chef. Of course, he would have stolen some ideas from Francoise...


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