Marcel Proust’s unpublished epistolary collection sheds light on his relationship with a very strange host.

Will be published on Thursday in Gallimard, Letters to Horace Finlayhis banker friend, traces the writer’s daily life with a parasitic host that he finds very difficult to get rid of and harbored between 1918 and 1921.

An unknown anecdote from the life of Marcel Proust surfaced. AT Letters to Horace Finally, a collection of twenty unpublished epistles that appears on Thursday at Gallimard, we learn that the authorIn search of lost time with great difficulty got rid of the Swiss guest, whom he settled for three years. Only with the help of the recipient of the letter did he manage to send it to Brazil in 1921.

This Finaly was one of the masters of French finance during the Belle Epoque and interwar period, running the Bank of Paris and Pay Ba (today BNP Paribas). He studied with Proust at one of the best high schools in Paris, the Condorcet. Rosha remained in the shadows all his life. The date of his birth is not known. This immigrant in Paris “a waiter at the Ritz when Proust spotted him in 1917”is “probably a native of the Zhu valley in the canton of Vaud” and the Jura mountain range a few kilometers from the French border, described in the introduction by the Proustian writer Thierry Lage.

In 1918, the writer had the idea to move him to his house. “assuming on the one hand that he would only stay for a few weeks, on the other hand that he could serve as (his) secretary”he wrote to Horace Finaly.

Letters found

He took it badly: Henri Roche has no skills. And not content with clinging to free housing for almost three years, he is wrong and will spend his master’s money through him. We would hardly have known this psychodrama without the letters to Finaly. They resurface on the occasion of an auction in France in June 2021 at the house of Aguttes. The Literary Hotel Society then bought these letters for 78,000 euros in a volume that was carefully bound by the family. “We did not expect at all. When they showed me, I was amazed., says Thierry Lage to AFP. They have another sensation: the two correspondents traveled together in their youth to Dover, the writer’s only known invasion of England.

Reading Proust, we understand how much Horace Finaly can be a precious help in getting rid of a person who abuses his generosity. “I’m bored at home, he made small ones two or three times fugitives where, unfortunately, he lost not only the obesity he had acquired at home, but also all the money that I gave him, which today would have amounted to a small fortune (almost equal to mine), and which he generously distributed chickens”,» laments the novelist, bewildered by his accounts at the tailor’s.

“It brings him closer to Albertine, who is offered dresses and other luxurious clothes.”explains Thierry Lage, referring to one of the central characters in Proust’s romantic suite. “He spends a lot more than Proust himself. He was a dandy who brought him nothing but this inspiration, a few ladies’ games and evenings at the piano..

Departure to Brazil

Finally, he finds a place at the French-Italian Bank of South America in Recife (Northeast Brazil). Proust is wary of Roche’s possible conversion. He writes that he intends to give his last subsidies to the captain of the transatlantic ship, so that he can pass them on to the Swiss as soon as he sets sail. No sooner than.

Swiss genealogists are on the trail of this man with an extremely common name. Until we identified him. We don’t even have his portrait. But since we know that in Brazil he showed his photographs with Proust, they could someday come out.according to Thierry Lage.

Although he was long thought to be dead in Argentina, he was recently discovered to have been in the vicinity of Parnaiba (Northeast Brazil), from where he disappeared in 1923. Rocha took him with him to this tropical region with autographs. novels by Proust, who died in 1922.

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