A trove of Marcel Proust’s correspondence is to be digitized and put online for free, with the first batch of letters timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, organizers of the US-French initiative said.
The nearly 6,000 letters to and from the author of In Search of Lost Time, one of the great masterpieces of Western literature, are drawn mainly from the work of Philip Kolb, a University of Illinois professor.
Kolb, who died in 1992, assembled and published all of Proust’s surviving correspondence — about 5,300 letters — in 21 volumes between 1970 and 1993.
Several hundred more letters have since been identified.
Kolb estimated the size of Proust’s correspondence at about 20,000 documents, but most were lost or destroyed over the years.
The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is leading the project to digitize the collection, with collaboration from France’s Grenoble Alps University, the Institute of Texts and Modern Manuscripts and the National Library.
The project is first to focus on 200 letters that Proust wrote related to World War I, with the goal of having them online by Nov. 11 next year to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.
“That will allow us to have a first display, with a coherent set,” University of Illinois literature professor Francois Proulx said.
“We were not convinced that the letters from his youth were especially the most interesting to start out with,” said Caroline Szylowicz, the librarian in charge of the University of Illinois’ Proust collection.
Proust, who was frail and of poor health, did not fight in the war. However, his younger brother Robert did, and the two exchanged letters during the conflict.
The handwritten letters are to include printed transcripts.
“It helps decipher Marcel Proust’s writing, which is not always easy to read,” Proulx said.
The Web site would also offer various links, including media articles of the time that Proust refers to in the letters.
The goal is to eventually post all of Proust’s correspondence online.
Under Kolb’s leadership, the University of Illinois has acquired about 1,200 letters.
Letters written by the French author are known to fetch tens of thousands of euros at auction.
The university would continue to buy Proust letters, budget permitting, Proulx said.
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
ACADEMIC FREEDOM: One professor told her students to submit anonymized papers and not to record any online classes. Some US schools have announced similar steps Students at Oxford University specializing in the study of China are being asked to submit some papers anonymously to protect them from the possibility of retribution under the sweeping new security law introduced three months ago in Hong Kong. The anonymity ruling is to be applied in classes, and group tutorials are to be replaced by one-to-ones. Students are also to be warned that it will be viewed as a disciplinary offence if they tape classes or share them with outside groups. The Hong Kong National Security Law was imposed on June 30 by Beijing after more than a year of pro-democracy
Japan’s government yesterday urged people to seek help if they were struggling to cope, following Sunday’s death of the popular actress and Miss Sherlock star Yuko Takeuchi, 40. News of her death shocked the nation and follows other recent cases of Japanese celebrities taking their lives, with figures showing a recent rise in suicides. Takeuchi was a household name in Japan and had given birth to her second child in January. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato did not mention a particular case, but said that some people were struggling to cope during the COVID-19 pandemic. “There has been an uptick in the number
China on Thursday lashed out at the US at a high-level UN meeting over its criticism on the COVID-19 pandemic, with its envoy declaring, “Enough is enough.” Two days after US President Donald Trump used his annual address to the General Assembly to attack China’s record, US Ambassador to the UN Kelly Craft, also took an outraged tone — after which her Chinese counterpart showed palpable anger. “I must say, enough is enough. You have created enough troubles for the world already,” Chinese Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun (張軍) told a Security Council meeting on global governance attended through videoconference