Even the greatest writers have bad relationships. in “Letters to Horace at last”, coll of twenty unpublished letters from Marcel Proust which appears on Thursday, June 9 in Gallimard editions, tells an unknown anecdote from the life of the famous writer. For several years the author withIn search of lost time received in his house a bulky Swiss guest named Henri Roche. Marcel Proust told his friend Horace Finals, a former classmate who became a financier.
This Finale was one of the masters of French finance in the Great Era and the interwar period, managing the Bank of Paris and a number of countries (now BNP Paribas). He studied with Proust at one of the best schools in Paris, Condorcet.
Henri Roche, on the other hand, remained in the shadows all his life. His date of birth is unknown. This immigrant in Paris, “A waiter at the Ritz when Proust noticed him in 1917”is “Probably from Valle de Jou, in the canton of Vaud” and the Jura massif a few kilometers from the French border, described in the introduction by the writer Thierry Lager, a specialist from Proust.
In 1918, the novelist had the idea to move into his house, “Believer Fr. on the one hand that he would only stay a few weeks, on the other hand that he could (his) serve as secretary, he wrote Horace Finals. He took it badly: Henri Roche has no skill. And not content with almost three years of clinging to free housing, he will spend the money of the owner illegally and because of this.
“It simply came to our notice then. When they showed them to me, I was shocked. “
Thierry Lage, a specialist from Proust
Without the letters to the Final, we would hardly have known this psychodrama. They reappear at an auction in France in June 2021 at the Agutt House. The Literary Hotel Association then bought the letters for 78,000 euros in a volume that the family carefully bound. “It simply came to our notice then. When they showed them to me, I was shocked. “says Thierry Lage to AFP.
They have another scoop: both correspondents went together in their youth to Dover, the only known for the writer of the invasion of England. As we read Proust, we understand how Horace’s Final is a precious help to get rid of a person who enjoys his generosity. He was bored at my house, he made small “escapes” two or three times, where, unfortunately, he lost not only the fatness he had gained at home, but also all the money I gave him that I gave today. would earn a small fortune (almost equivalent to mine), and which he generously distributed to “chickens”.misses the novelist, embarrassed by his accounts of the tailor.
“It brings him closer to Albertina, who is offered dresses and other luxurious clothes.”explains Thierry Lager, referring to one of the central characters of Proust’s romantic suite. “He spends much more than Proust himself. He was a dandy who brought him nothing but a few inspirations women’s parties and piano evenings ».
He finally finds a place in the French and Italian Bank of America
from the south, in Recife (northeast of Brazil). Proust is wary of a possible reversal of Roche. He writes that he intends to provide his last subsidies to the captain of the transatlantic ship so that he can hand them over to the Swiss as soon as he drops. Not earlier.
Swiss genealogists have followed in the footsteps of this man, who has an extremely common name. “It simply came to our notice then. We also do not have a portrait of him. But because we know that in Brazil he showed his photos with Proust they could go out one day “according to Thierry Lage.
Although he has long been thought to be dead in Argentina, it has recently been discovered that he was near Parnaiba (northeastern Brazil), where he disappeared in 1923. Rosha took him to this tropical region with autographs. novels by Proust, who died in 1922.