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Monsieur Proust

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3.88  ·  Rating details ·  795 ratings  ·  55 reviews
Céleste Albaret was Marcel Proust's housekeeper in his last years, when he retreated from the world to devote himself to In Search of Lost Time. She could imitate his voice to perfection, and Proust himself said to her, "You know everything about me." Her reminiscences of her employer present an intimate picture of the daily life of a great writer, who was also a deeply pe ...more
Paperback, 456 pages
Published October 31st 2003 by NYRB Classics (first published 1973)
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3.88  · 
Rating details
 ·  795 ratings  ·  55 reviews


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Fionnuala
When a magnum opus is born to the world, it doesn’t happen by magic. In the case of A la recherche du temps perdu, there was no instant delivery by stork and no cabbage leaves involved either. Instead, it took a long time and involved a lot of labour, the author horizontal on his bed, giving birth slowly and with huge effort to the book of his life. While he laboured, semi-propped against his pillows, determined to deliver his work onto the page perfectly formed, he had the services of an excell ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Monsieur Proust, Céleste Albaret
Céleste Albaret (née Gineste, 17 May 1891 – 25 April 1984) was a country girl who moved to Paris in 1913 when she married the taxi driver Odilon Albaret. The most regular of Odilon Albaret's regular clients was the celebrated novelist and critic, Marcel Proust. Lonely and bored in the grand city, and at her husband's suggestion, Albaret began to run errands for Proust. Before very long she became his secretary and housekeeper. During the final decade of Proust's
...more
Emilio Berra
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: letto
Tutto su Proust
Per chi ha qualche interesse verso la grandiosa opera di Proust, questo libro è imperdibile, oltre ad essere un testo affascinante e bellissimo in sé.
Celeste Albaret, donna sicuramente eccezionale e di grande dignità, è stata per anni la governante dello scrittore, giorno e notte, una presenza costante; colei che ne raccolse confidenze e su cui egli posò l'ultimo sguardo.

"Monsieur proust" è un resoconto, pur tratteggiato con molto rispetto e intelligente discrezione, meticoloso e
...more
David
Dec 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nyrb, france
Céleste Albaret, Marcel Proust's majordomo and jacqueline-of-all-trades for the last ten years (or so) of his life, 'wrote' this memoir in the 1970s. And by 'wrote' I mean that she rattled off her memories to a ghostwriter, and then the ghostwriter's book Monsieur Proust was later translated into English. So the NYRB edition of Monsieur Proust referenced here is really twice-removed from a first-person account. But probably another layer of removal is implied by the fifty years which passed betw ...more
trovateOrtensia
Aug 31, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: francia, biografia
Un cuore semplice (?)
"Oggi, prima di lasciare a mia volta questo mondo, l'idea che possa rimanere un dubbio o una menzogna su tutto ciò che ho visto, e che è la verità, mi è divenuta a tal punto intollerabile che voglio dire, una volta per tutte, che le pagine che seguiranno sono l'esatta ricostruzione della mia memoria e che ho a tal punto riesaminato, controllato e riverificato i fatti da avere la certezza dell'assoluta fedeltà alla realtà di quel che accadde. E' un testamento quello che sto s
...more
cristina c
Aug 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quando nel 1913 Céleste entra per la prima volta in casa Proust in Boulevard Haussmann, è una giovane sposa campagnola frastornata dal recente trasferimento a Parigi.
Suo marito Odilon è l'autista di Monsieur Proust e la ragazza spaesata e sola intenerisce lo scrittore che per aiutarla le affida un piccolo compito; consegnerà le copie omaggio per gli amici del primo volume della Recherche appena uscito.

Poco tempo dopo però l'inizio della guerra richiama al fronte gli uomini e il parco servitù d
...more
Narjes Dorzade
بعد و یا قبل از زمان بازیافته میتوان این کتاب سرشار را خواند. ...more
Haman
Oct 09, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
حالا مي فهمم همه تلاش و جستجوي آقاي پروست و همه از خود گذشتگي اش براي خلق اثرش، براي اين بود تا از سويي بتواند خودش را خارج از زمان قرار دهد و از سويي ديگر، بتواند زمان را دريابد. وقتي سكوت برقرار است، زمان وجود ندارد. او به اين سكوت نياز داشت تا فقط صداهايي را كه مي خواست بشنود، همان صداهايي كه در كتابش آمده ...more
John
Apr 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I do wish Mme. Albaret had maintained the diary that her employer suggested, even insisted that she keep. After all, Proust, not one given to self-deprecation out of false modesty, was sure that, after his death, Albaret's diary, had she kept one, would bring sufficient money at auction to sustain her all of her years. As it is, however, we do have the memoir that she dictated to the Kitty Kelly of her time and place, in 1972, at age 82, fifty years after she stood by her employer's bed as he di ...more
William Dearth
Oct 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: french
This is not really a review, but I would like to add a few comments. As others have stated, it is a shame that 50 years went by before Celeste felt the need to tell her story. It is also unfortunate that she did not keep the requested diary. The fact that she was 80 years old should not necessarily be an issue as I have met a few folks that are still very lucid at that age i.e., long-term memory is not the issue that short-term memory is.

There are others that have written some things that are no
...more
ReemK10 (Paper Pills)
Nov 05, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After reading The Year of Reading Proust, I remembered that I hadn't quite finished reading Celeste Albaret's Monsieur Proust. I took the book from my bookshelves and read the remaining sixty pages which opened up vast floodgates of memory of my very own year of reading Proust. It goes without saying that all of us who read In Search of Lost Time loved Celeste Albaret. It also goes without saying that this is a must read for any Proust reader. Readers will always be in debt to Celeste for this a ...more
S.
Proust liked sole, served on a napkin, if he ate at all.
Sometimes he drank one coffee, sometimes two.
Proust did not use soap, only dabbed his face with a towel.
He brushed with tooth powder, which on occasion sifted down to his tie.
But, as he remarked, no one saw him for his ties.
Proust kept the hours of a vampire.
He should have left his housekeeper some money.
Jocelyne Lebon
Jun 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Felt fully engrossed in this fascinating biography. I can't decide if Céleste had an impossible crush on Proust or if she was a saint, in which case she ought to be properly canonized.
Nelson Zagalo
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Depois de ter lido “Em Busca do Tempo Perdido” fui em busca de algo mais, de saber quem era realmente Proust, o quanto se escondia dele por detrás da figura do seu narrador. Existem dezenas de livros sobre Proust, e de análise da sua obra. Muito se escreveu e continua a escrever, desde análises da pintura em Proust, à literatura, filosofia, amores, autoajuda, etc. De todos, os que me parecem reunir maior consenso são as duas biografias, ambas com mais de mil páginas cada, uma do britânico Willia ...more
Ayşe Karabacak
Aug 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Kayıp zamanın izinde serisinin yazarı kibar, çekici, gereğinden fazla tutkulu ve naif Marcel Proust. Céleste ise onun sadık hizmetkârı, annesi, kardeşi, arkadaşı her şeyi olmuş. Eserini yazarken de çok yardımı dokunmuş ve ondan izler taşıyor. 1913 yılından ölümüne kadar 9 yıllık süreçte, Proust’a dair aklında ne varsa, ne biliyorsa ve yaşadıysa hepsini aktarmaya çalışmış.
Proust’un annesinin yerine koyduğu, hayatının son yıllarında ve eserini yazarken her anında yanında olan ve her isteğini yeri
...more
Gitte Hørning
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Både som privatperson og forfatter var franske Marcel Proust ’sui generis’ – i en klasse for sig selv. Tretten år tog det ham at forfatte de syv dobbeltbind af ’På sporet af den tabte tid’, og da han led af astma i svær grad, skrev han om kap med døden, som indhentede ham i 1922, således at de sidste bind måtte færdigredigeres af andre. Fire år tog det mig at læse de 3100 siders monstrøs modernisme, hvor én sætning kunne strække sig over mere end en side. Som belønning for indsatsen fulgte den r ...more
Jena
Apr 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
Céleste fue esposa de Odilón Albaret, el chofer más querido de Marcel Proust y autora de esta recolección de recuerdos. En un principio Céleste fungió como mensajera de Marcel, pues en esa época se acostumbraba enviar cartas para concertar citas, cartas de felicitación, flores y regalos, sin usar el teléfono que ya existía, ni el correo. Entregar en propia mano se consideraba de suma elegancia y el escritor siempre se caracterizó por ser encantador, delicado y seductor.
Cuando estalló la Primera
...more
Joseph Sales
Jul 24, 2011 rated it really liked it
I ordered Monsieur Proust online to give me more context while I labor through v.2 and was delighted when it arrived yesterday. It's a biography as dictated by his "personal assistant".

Proust the artist was sui generis, Proust the person and employer was if anything more so.

"He changed the shape of his moustache once, just as he had his beard shaved off just before I met him. After that he wore his moustache rather long and curled with a curling iron. Then one day after the war-it was his sole
...more
Mari Mann
Marcel Proust's housekeeper and companion for the last ten years of his life, Celeste "wrote" this book 50 years after his death. Actually it was written as if she wrote it by Georges Belmont, after 70 hours of interviews. She obviously was devoted to Proust and loved him, and only decided to speak after all the "lies" she was hearing about Marcel. So she denies his homosexuality, that he could be at times a callous, insensitive social climber, that he was somewhat of a hypochondriac (he did hav ...more
Dave Holmes
Jul 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Proust fans
An intimate and affectionate biopic of Marcel Proust' s last 10 years of life. Written when Mme. Albaret, Proust's housekeeper, was 82, the story she tells of her employer, their employment relationship, and her employer's eccentricities is quite charming. At the same time what she reveals is guarded by a continuing loyalty to M. Proust. Not surprisingly, her role as housekeeper gave her no insight into the writing or publication of In Search of Lost Time.
Dagny
Aug 01, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: french, non-fiction
An absolutely delightful memoir written many years later by the young woman who was Proust's housekeeper during the last few years of his life. When Céleste was newly married to Proust's driver, he suggested she run errands and perform the odd task for his employer. This soon turned into a full-time job which lasted until Proust's death.
Peter
Marcel Proust's Haushälterin erzählt wie es "wirklich" war. Unglaublich interessant. Celeste war in den letzten 10 Lebensjahren die "Frau" in seinem Leben. Haushälterin, Botin, Mutter, Vertraute...Unverbrüchlich solidarisch und und und... Für Proustianer ein wichtiges Buch - unbedigt lesenswert.
lnz
انطور که باید نبود
سلست آلباره شاید به خاطر علاقه شدیدی که به مارسل پروست داشته در برخی صفحات و خاطرات ستایش بیش از حدش محسوس
Joseph Adelizzi, Jr.
Jul 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Years ago, as a dutiful son picking up his mother at work - provided “dutiful” means adhering to the deal I made to get use of the car to go back and forth to school - I was offered a leftover blueberry muffin. Not having eaten since lunch, I jumped at the offer despite mom’s warning the muffin had been sitting out since 9:00 AM and had been passed over by every employee and customer to enter the office that day. “It’s low fat,” she said, wrinkling her nose. I didn’t expect much, but I was a tee ...more
Daniel Polansky
I have really fond memories of carrying Proust around strange corners of Europe some ten years back but actually didn’t know that much about his life it, and so this lengthy series of reminiscences by the author’s maid were a lot of fun. Reading of his deathbed creativity I couldn’t help but be reminded of the great James Dewitt Yancey, more popularly known as J Dilla, who’s final torturous months were given over to the creation of Donuts, in its own way as seminal a work as À la recherche du te ...more
Abby
Jul 04, 2013 rated it liked it
I nurture a noisy obsession with Marcel Proust, so I was excited to read this book, a memoir by his housekeeper, who was perhaps his closest confidante for 10 years. I find myself sadly, a bit disappointed. Albaret wrote the book at the age of 82, and she seemed so defensive throughout, particularly with regard to anyone saying anything even slightly negative about Proust. I’m sure he was very charming to her, but he wasn’t perfect; it would have been nice to hear her admit that more. She also c ...more
judith
Apr 10, 2007 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Four stars for style, 5 stars for content. I was so curious about Proust's personal life because I have read that he spent most of his hours in his room, seldom leaving his apartment. And he knew so many of Paris' haut beau monde so I had high hopes for this. I just lost my own description, so here's the one from the editors: "Book Description
Céleste Albaret was Marcel Proust's housekeeper in his last years, when he retreated from the world to devote himself to In Search of Lost Time. She could
...more
Amir
Dec 26, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
این دو ستاره هم فقط برای این است که کتاب دربارهی مارسل پروست است و یکی دو مقطع مهم از زندگی او را - که در کتاب هم اثرگذار بوده- از زبان شاهد زندگی واقعی پروست (با فرض اطمینان به روایت شاهد) میخوانیم؛ یکی ماجرای دیدار پروست از تابلوی «چشماندازی از دلفت» و دیگری شرح پایان گرفتن کتاب و پس از آن مرگ پروست. اینها روی هم میشوند کمتر از ۳۰ صفحه از کتاب.
از روی خیلی صفحات کتاب سرسری گذشتم و حتا بعضی فصلها را جا زدم. اینکه مارسل پروست چه پاپوشی در خانه میپوشیده یا شیرینیاش را میگفته از کدام شیرینیفروشی بخ
...more
Luke
Sep 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Proust's is one of those stories that you enter with the knowledge that you may never understand the whole truth. Despite Celeste Albaret's obvious and affable biases (such as her refusal to talk about Proust's sexuality as anything but hetero), she provides an important narrative on the last ten years of Marcel's life in which the celebrated writer spent most of his time in bed writing 'In Search of Lost Time.' Readers are enriched with his daily habits, the kinds of spaces he inhabited, his pe ...more
Shima
Jun 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Céleste Albaret fut la gouvernante et l'unique confidente de Marcel Proust pendant les huit dernières années de sa vie. Et elle peint un portrait affectueux et fascinant de cette existence raréfié, ses allées et venues, leurs conversations, ses habitudes et ses routines.
Merci BEAUCOUP, Celeste !
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“He wanted to know all about me and my family and especially my childhood.

"That's where everything starts," he'd say. "Both heaven and hell.”
2 likes
“M. Proust was more severe than M. de Caillavet on Anatole France: "He was selfish and supercilious. He had read so much that he had left his heart in other people's books, and all that remained was dryness. One day I asked him how he came to know so much. He said, 'Not by being such a handsome young man as you. I wasn't in demand, and instead of going out I studied and learned'.” 2 likes
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