The Proustian pastiches competition of 2019
On the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the publication of Pastiches et Mélanges in June 1919, the Société des Amis de Marcel Proust announces 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 (including at the author’s expense)
The amateur category is open to all persons having never published a literary work.
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.
Format and content of the pastiches
The following rules apply to the text :
- between 4 500 and 10 000 signs in 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
- be an original, unpublished, work ;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).
For the competitors in the scholastic category, one could, for example, illustrate one of the following themes :
- « the Narrator of A la recherche du temps perdu receives a smartphone and marvels at the available technological possibilities (live visualization of contacts, Internet searches, localization of friends, text messaging…)
- or « with his friend Albertine, the Narrator of A la recherche du temps perdu visits an iconic city in your area »
Deadline for competition
Participation is open until March 31st 2019, midnight Paris time.
In each category, the winners will receive
- 1st prize : 500 €
- 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.
A jury consisting of board members from la Société des Amis de Marcel Proust will select three prizes in each category.
Members of the jury will be guided in their choice by the following criteria : resemblance with Proust’s style ; originality ; emotions conveyed by the text and respect for spelling and grammar.
The competition rules are available by clicking on this link.
Entrants may compete in one category only.
Only one text per entrant will be considered.
Entries should be submitted on the Société des Amis de Marcel Proust website before Sunday March 31st 2019 at midnight, Paris time, by clicking on this link.
Upon receipt of the pastiche, the entrant will receive a confirmation email.