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A Night at the Majestic
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A Night at the Majestic

3.35  ·  Rating details ·  89 Ratings  ·  18 Reviews
One May night in 1922, in a grand hotel in Paris, five of the greatest artists of the 20th century sat down to supper. It would be the only time that novelists Joyce and Proust, the young painter Picasso, choreographer Diaghilev and the composer Stravinsky were in a room together. Each of these exponents of early twentieth-century modernism was at the peak of his creative ...more
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Published February 15th 2007 by Faber Faber (first published 2006)
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Sketchbook
May 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 19, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
George Ilsley
There is a lot of information here, and a lot of detail and ultimately it is quite boring. Certainly one learns more about the Schiffs than is really necessary. And I agree with other reviewers here who consider the title and the framing of this book to be misleading. Perhaps a title such as "Proust's Last Few Months" would not attract readers.
Peires
May 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Title is misleading. Book is really all about Proust. As I'm into Proust, I found it interesting and informative.
Ade
Jul 24, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Adam Dalva
A tale of three books, one disappointing, one unnecessary, one good. The pretense of structuring the action around the one night that Joyce and Proust met must have been a great launching point for Davenport-Hines, but despite the interesting personalities at the party in question (Diaghilev! Picasso!), nothing much happens and the action devolves into senseless name-dropping (at one point, he compares the big night to a meeting between Joan Collins and Schwarzenegger). It's a shame, because a s ...more
Kyle Pennekamp
May 22, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
...more
Grant
Oct 26, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A short biography of Proust, concentrating on his final few years. At the start, it seems to want to be about the famously inconsequential meeting of Proust and Joyce, but Joyce quickly slips out of sight and the focus shifts to Proust's relationship with the hosts at the meeting at the Majestic, Sydney and Violet Schiff. (Sydney created the generally disregarded and discarded translation of Time Regained after Scott Moncrieff's death).
Mandy
Aug 15, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Aug 20, 2008 rated it liked it
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.
Mia
Jul 09, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
False
The end of Proust at the end of an Epoque Paris and France. I want to spend more time reading Proust and about his life in future years. There's a gap that needs filling. He was certainly engaged with society, even from his asthmatic's cork lined bedroom.
Kevin
Jan 06, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Marc
Jan 05, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paris, literature
Een afknapper. Veelbelovende docufictie of ontmoeting tussen Proust, Joyce, Stravinsky en Picasso in Parijs. Maar zeer magere, saaie uitwerking.
Daniel
May 22, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Light, pleasant read about Proust. Lacks robust organization and borders on being a collection of random anecdotes, but D-H is such a fantastic writer it's hard to fault the book.
Guy Cranswick
Apr 26, 2010 rated it liked it
Interesting as far as it goes but a slight anti climax given the material and times.
Crawford
Mar 19, 2008 rated it did not like it
Boring old farts, except they weren't even old!
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Melody Puller
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Mar 15, 2012
Tim Engle
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Mike Lynch
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Matt-finish
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Dave Holmes
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Louise
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May 08, 2013
Flaubertian
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Dec 20, 2016
Carol
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Jul 19, 2013
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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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