PROUST, Marcel. Sodome et Gomorrhe II.i [i.e. À la recherche du temps perdu V.i]. Paris: F. Paillart for Éditions de la Nouvelle Revue Française, 1922. 8° (193 x 138mm). (A little browned.) Contemporary half green crushed morocco by C. & C. McLeish lettered in gilt on the spine, original wrappers bound in (extremities a little rubbed, boards bowed causing partial splitting on joints). [With:]
M. PROUST. Autograph letter signed to Sydney Schiff, n.p., n.d. [29 April 1929], one page, written on the flyleaf of the volume, below and above the inscription.
Provenance: Sydney and Violet Schiff (presentation inscription from Proust on flyleaf)--Lady Beddington Behrens (sale, Sotheby's London, 11-12 March 1974, lot 372, to:)--Wimpole (named buyer).
FIRST EDITION. INSCRIBED BY PROUST, AND WITH A LETTER TO THE TRANSLATOR OF LE TEMPS RETROUVé. The inscription adapts a line from Alfred de Vigny's Éloa: 'Vous seuls m'avez paru ce qu'on cherche toujours [you alone seem to me what one constantly seeks]'. The letter (dated by Kolb as above, Correspondance, XXI, 94) advises Schiff against living in the Ritz, sends a sample of paper and asks for Middleton Murry's address, concluding warmly 'Mille tendresses cher Sydney et aux pieds de Madame Schiff ce que vous jugez compatible avec le respect de Marcel Proust'.
Sydney Schiff (1868-1944), author (as Stephen Hudson) of several novels, was later to complete the English translation of Le temps retrouvé, after Scott-Montcrieff's death. Like his wife, Violet (née Beddington) he was friendly with many writers and artists and was responsible for Proust's only meeting with James Joyce. Katherine Mansfield had written to Schiff of her and Middleton Murry's admiration for Proust: the latter sent Murry a copy of Sodome et Gomorrhe II early in May 1922 (cf. Kolb XXI, 112).