The Proustian pastiches competition of 2020
As a way to celebrate Marcel Proust's taste and lifelong practice of literary pastiches, the Société des Amis de Marcel Proust organizes a competition of Proustian pastiches.
Marcel Proust often played the game of literary pastiche*, notably in 1908-1909, in a series of articles alluding to the same news item, L’Affaire Lemoine. These pastiches were collected in 1919, along with other articles, in a volume entitled Pastiches et Mélanges. Le Temps retrouvé, the last volume of A la recherche du temps perdu, also contains a famous pastiche of the Goncourt brothers’ Journal. Proust’s style has itself often been the target of pastiches, for example by André Maurois (Le côté de Chelsea) or by Jean-Louis Curtis (La Chine m’inquiète ; La France m’épuise).
*Here is what Proust wrote in Against Sainte-Beuve to explain his interest in pastiche : « As soon as I was reading an author, I could very soon make out the melody of the song underneath the words, different in one author from what it is in every other, and as I read, without realizing it, I would be humming it, hurrying the words, slowing them down or breaking off altogether, as one does when singing, when, depending on the tempo of the melody, one often waits a long time before saying the end of a word. » Against Sainte-Beuve and other essay, Penguin Books, 1994 (Translation by John Sturrock).
Three categories of participation
The competition is open to three categories : professional, amateur, and scholastic.
The professional category is open to all persons having already published a literary work (self-publications excluded);
The amateur category is open to all persons having never published a literary work (self-publications excluded);
The scholastic category is open to all classes from public or private secondary schools. Entries must be submitted collectively in the name of the class.
For each competitor, only one text will be taken into consideration, whatever the chosen categories; if a competitor were to submit several pastiches, only the one submitted last would be taken into account.
Format and content of the pastiches
The following rules apply to the text :
- between 4 500 and 10 000 signs for the professional category
- between 2 500 and 5 000 signs for the amateur category
- between 1 500 and 3 000 signs for the scholastic category
The text must also abide by the following rules:
- be an original, unpublished, work ;
- have a title ;
- be written in French, typed in calibri font, size 11, paginated, in Word (.doc) ou Open Office (.odt) format ;
- include no information identifying the author (his or her name or pseudonym, in particular) ;
- be in Proust’s style to convey the illusion that the text might be of his own handwriting but not necessarily contemporary with his time (in his own pastiches, Proust did not hesitate to resort to a few anachronisms).
- In order to celebrate, in 2020, the 100th anniversary of the publication of the Côté de Guermantes I, third volume of la Recherche, the pastiche will need to include the word Guermantes (but its meaning and context may differ from those Proust gave it).
How to participate
Participation requires the submissal of a full application, including :
- the application form « Concours de pastiches proustiens 2020 » ;
- the pastiche.
Applications are submitted on this page.
Upon completion of the application, each participant will receive a confirmation email.
By enrolling into the competition, participants warrant organizers and members of the jury against all possible disputes by third parties on the originality of submitted pastiches.
All incomplete, non compliant, or late submissals will be rejected.
Submissals will be accepted until Tuesday March 31st 2020, midnight, Paris time.
A jury constituted mainly of board members of the Société des Amis de Marcel Proust will meet to attribute three prizes in each category. The jury will however reserve the right to leave some prizes unattributed, for example in the event of a insufficient number of applications.
Jury members will be guided in their selection by common criteria: resemblance with Proust's style, originality, emotions conveyed, proper spelling and grammar, use of the word Guermantes.
In each category, winners will receive:
- 1st prize : 400 €
- 2nd prize : 300 €
- 3rd prize : 200 €
Furthermore, the winning pastiches will be published on the Société des Amis de Marcel Proust’s website and may also be printed.
Resultat will be announced Saturday May 16th 2020.
Prizes will not be redeemable under a different form than the one devised in the herein rules. Organizers reserve the right to modify the nature and the value of prizes, in case of necessity.
The competition rules are available by clicking on this link.