PROUST, Marcel. Two autograph letters signed to Lucien Daudet, both n.p. [Paris], the first n.d. [8 April 1918], saying that there was no reply from his correspondent's telephone, and his 'soirée' had been limited to going around the house 'dans une obscurité telle que je me suis deux fois trompé de porte comme dans une chanson de Nadaud'; protesting that it is not he but Daudet who does not answer letters and 'Je me rue à tes fêtes toutes les fois où je ne suis pas malade'. He expects the arrival of all his proofs and wonders if he will be able to do the work, referring to his anxiety about his health, 'Les medécins sont crispant en ne disant pas la verité'. He complains about Gallimard's printer who leaves him for months without proofs, 'et quand on s'est tué à corriger les premières, vous envoie les sécondes où il coupe des lignes entières de ce qui était déjà imprimé dans les premières, de sorte qu'on renonce à tout!'; continuing by writing chattily about his social life including an enjoyable dinner with [Ramon] Fernandez, referring to other friends and to Madame Daudet's departure for La Roche, 13½ pages, 8vo; the second letter, n.d. [11 April 1918], referring to the previous one which was written and sent before Lucien's letter or pneumatique arrived, and regretting that he cannot come on Friday, 'Ce Vendredi signifie-t-il que tes Samedis sont interrompus (très Verdurin à Balbec, pardon de me cîter)', referring in exasperation to a letter from Blanche about the proofs of the preface in which he wants to call it a 'souvenir'; continuing [in reply to a question] that he has not seen the Eyragues for many years; he would like to consult Monsieur d'Eyragues on etymological matters concerning Norman names but after so long does not dare to; mentioning other acquaintances and finally persuading Daudet to let him have his typescript for twenty-four hours, before he sees him, and again regretting the impossibility of coming on Friday, 8 pages, 8vo (together 21½ pages, 8vo).
The letter also includes an unpublished passage about the preface he is writing for Blanche, and a particular problem with regard to Léon Daudet. He is thinking of writing an article to pre-empt misinterpretation such as the Forain business ('des gales genre Forain'). Proust's efforts to prevent inclusion of a piece on the painter Jean Louis Forain, of whom he disapproved, led to much bickering.
His particular (and unfounded) anxiety about his health stemmed from his fear that he might be developing a facial paralysis and speech impediment. Madame Daudet meanwhile had left Paris for Touraine to escape the bombardment of the city by the Germans during the last spring of the war.
The typescript which Lucien Daudet had lent to Proust in the second letter was La Dimension Nouvelle (published in 1919). At about this time the proofs of À l'Ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs began to flow again.Proust was also engaged on the completion of the war chapter for Temps Retrouvé, the last major addition to the novel. Kolb, XVII, 168 and 184; Cahiers, V (LVI and LVII). (2)