PROUST, Marcel. Autograph letter signed to Lucien Daudet, n.p. [Paris], n.d. [25 January 1914], thanking him for a letter which arrived just as he had written to Lucien, 'J'ai été bien content et bien ennuyé de recevoir une lettre de vous. Car justement je venais de vous écrire', saying that the fog has prevented him from getting up and visiting Reynaldo [Hahn] who is ill; declaring that the favourable reception of his book in England is due to the association with him of Lucien and the other members of the Daudet family who are famous there; speculating on the identity of an Italian writer, 'Lucio d'Ambra', who has written a charming piece about him; asking Lucien what he might give him as a keepsake ('un petit souvenir de moi'); sending him Maurice Rostand's article which he did not do before because he found it 'si excessif que j'avais peur d'avoir l'air ridicule' and asking whether Rosny jeune has talent; musing on his friendship with Daudet with whom he could talk of so many things, and on the response to the book, 'Je ne voudrais pas avoir l'air plus Journal de Goncourt que le Journal lui-meme en reparlant sans cesse de Swann, mais j'ai reçu des lettres très curieuses'; mentioning [Francis] Jammes and [Robert de] Montesquiou, and with other news in a postscript, 11 pages, 8vo.
'Si mon livre a du succès en Angleterre (encore plus Journal de Goncourt de le croire) c'est tout simplement parce que le nom d'Alphonse Daudet et le nom de Lucien Daudet (sans oublier celui de l'auteur des Notes sur Londres ni de l'auteur du Voyage de Shakespeare) y sont glorieux et chéris, votre patronage m'y a imposé'. In this graceful acknowledgement Proust contrives to refer not only to Alphonse and Lucien Daudet, but also to Madame Daudet and Léon Daudet (authors of the two titles mentioned). The Times Literary Supplement had carried a glowing review of Du Côté de chez Swann on 4 December 1913, by the critic Mary Duclaux, who showed a remarkable grasp of Proust's concept of the nature of time.
Writing of his friendship with Lucien, Proust identifies their similar attitude of mind, by which they have rid themselves of the prejudices - or inverted prejudices - by which those individuals who pass for the most liberal in outlook, judge or misjudge everything. How amusing it would be, he says, to talk about so many things together, about which he will not find any other interlocutor but Lucien, and the latter perhaps not many other than himself.
The references to the Journal de Goncourt are to Edmond de Goncourt's practice of boasting of his literary success abroad. Kolb, XIII, 75; Cahiers, V (VII)