My dear proustian fellows,
Last week (22February) Chris York opened a post in the FaceBook site Proustians Wolrwide about
the so-called Proust signature in the register of an Armenian monastery; this
signature would so constitute an evidence (the only one?) that our writer made
a second trip to Venice in October 1900.
The pointof the discussion is whether the signature in the register is that of Proust or
not. Many Proustian do not agree. Chris York quotes a recent German article
tending to say that the signature is not from Proust, but from the Swiss writer
Marcel Rouff, see
Chris Yorkshows the three signatures, respectively in the Armenian monastery register,
from Marcel Rouff and from Proust.
The firstname Marcel is evident in all signatures, with not relevant little differences.
The pointis for the following name. “o” and “u” are apparent and similar in all 3 cases.
The Monasterysignature is remarkable by a last big horizontal pattern, which could be the
bar of a final “t” like (but very-too?- big) in the Proust signature, or… just
a big ink stain. In that case the signature ends with two vertical patterns similar
to the final “ff” in Rouff’s signature.
Proust’ssignature is remarkable by the number of different letters, which do not appear
so in the two other signatures: “P” and “r”, “s” and “t”. Though “s” can be written in a long way sometimes, butnot very similar to “f”.
But thefirst letter capital “R” for Rouff, and in the monastery signature are looking
different. Basically, the upper roundness of capital “R” in Rouff’s does not
exist in the Monastery’s. Does it mean that they are different manuscript
No, accordingto my experience in deciphering Belle Epoque French correspondence, capital “B”
and “R” in the middle of a sentence have sometimes their upper roundness
reduced to a line by the pen doubling the vertical line when quickly going down
to begin the bottom roundness ending the letter. But I do not remember a
capital “P” written without its sole upper roundness.
As a matterof fact, I was yesterday in the Archives Nationales (France) and came upon a
letter written end of 1898. In this letter, I could see all these patterns
gathered, both for “B”, “R” and the only one for “P”. The sense of the
sentences, with repetition of abbreviations J. R. and B. for two particular persons,
make us sure of what we are reading. See below the photo extracts of this
letter, sorry extracts very limited due to privacy consideration.
Figure 4; R with upper roundness
Figure 5; R without upper roundness
Figure 6; Rs without upper roundness
Figure 7; Bs with and without upper roundness
Figure 8; usual P
Figure 9; another usual P
The writer of the letter I am referring to is not Proust, nor Rouff. But the differences
of personalities do not prevent them to share similarities in their
hand-writing, a standardization due to norms transmitted by education, whether
public or private.
Like thewriter I chose as an example, Rouff could write both ways his capital
"R", specifically when it comes to rapid signature.
So is it “Rouff”that we are reading in the Monastery register? At that point and without any
other piece of evidence, including different examples of Rouff’s signature and
biographic details, I for one think that it looks more like Rouff’s than Proust’s,
this last option being excluded.
Pièces jointes :
Les utilisateur(s) suivant ont remercié: Eric Unger, Jérôme Bastianelli, Marcelita SWANN
I definately agree with Chris "York" and you, regarding this signature. It is not Proust's.
Not only is the signature not similar to Proust's, but Chris "York" points out (in his post below), that the number '9' is also not congruent.
And I smile, when I see how "Paris" is written, with a circle (!) over the "i."
This register was seen by Consul de France à Venise, M. Gueyraud, who began the rumor. Go to: http://reynaldo-hahn.net/lettres/kolb/1900_10_19.htm
Finally, the record is corrected.
If there are still doubters, Pyra Wise searched Venice for ten years and never found one document to support this tale.
Chris Taylor translated Pyra's remarkable article and posted it in this forum.
"This wonderful article deserves a more widespread audience. Pyra Wise spent years researching evidence of Proust's stay(s) in Venice. Translation and publication is by kind permission of Pyra Wise," Chris Taylor (Chris York).
Once you have read the Proust biographies, the idea that Proust could arrange a trip to Venice without assistance, without telling his mother, and never mentioning the trip to anyone...for the rest of his life...seems out of character.