PROUST, Marcel. Autograph letter signed ('Marcel Proust') to Lucien Daudet, n.p. [Paris], n.d. [end of December 1917], replying to a note from his correspondent, 'Nos pensées se parlent, sans nous consulter, car je commençais à t'écrire (nulle Roumestanerie) quand j'ai reçu ton mot'; referring to Lucien's disappearances and silences, finding in them a certain charm, 'une espèce de charme mystérieux, zoologique ou végétal, comme si tu avais été dans une certaine mesure un animal, une fleur'. He observed this strange and poetic manner of being upset in Lucien during Léon Daudet's typhoid and his trouble with Goncourt. 'Cette transposition organique de la tristesse, et q.q.fois simplement de l'enmerdement, t'est absolument spéciale'. Turning to his own problems, ('chagrins, maux, ennuis, j'ai tout eu depuis q.q.temps à un degré presque intolérable') he writes that the continuation and end of his book, the only reason of putting up with all this, are now threatened. After sending his respects and good wishes to Lucien's mother, sister and brother, being uncertain what Lucien himself wants ('ne sachant si tu as un amour, ou des amitiés, ou des ambitions'), and hoping that an excess of work will not cause his health and youthfulness to suffer, he urges him to bring to fruition the books he has within him; concluding by mentioning the Hinnisdaels whom he has not seen again, and Montesquiou's letters ('des lettres superbes et courrouces'), with a long postscript, 7½ pages, 8vo.
The postscript refers to Proust's younger brother, Dr. Robert Proust, who was in Italy, to Reynaldo [Hahn] who refuses even to come on leave, and to other acquaintances including Étienne de Beaumont, the Princesse de Polignac and Dr. Prevost.
Proust writes that the printer, having no workers left, has ceased to function and his own work is this interrupted for he knows not how long. He had sent the complete text of A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs to Gaston Gallimard in March 1917, but the printing was finally completed only in October 1918. He also wrote to André Gide on 21 December 1917, about the suspension of the work and discussing the reasons that were given for it.
The reference to Léon Daudet is to his having typhoid fever in 1896, shortly after an angry exchange between the Daudets and Edmond de Goncourt over the publication in l'Echo de Paris of a passage from Edmond's journal, including a sketch depicting Léon licking the boots of the Duc d'Orléans.
Daudet suppressed various details for publication. Kolb, XVI, 380; Cahiers, V (LI).