Proust's Overcoat

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0120101227

By Lorenza Foschini.

In this fascinating story of literary detection a cast of late 19th and early 20th century Parisians is led by Jacques Guerin the handsome heir to a successful perfume business.

Supporting roles in the story are played by Dr Robert Proust - brother to the famous author, his disappointed and homophobic wife, Marthe, the shady bric-a-brac dealer Werner and of course Marcel Proust himself.

Jean Genet (who was offerred a home by Guerin when he was released from prison) Jacques Cousteau and Picasso all have walk-on parts.

Guerin's passion for the work of Marcel Proust was perhaps fuelled by the fact that they were both homosexual, but he was also a passionate collector and bibliophile even as a young man.

And it was as a young man that he first encountered the Proust family when he was treated by Dr Robert Proust.

Visiting the doctor in his study he was told that the desk and bookshelves had belonged to the late author.

The doctor opened the bookshelf to show the young man the handwritten notebooks in which his brother had drafted and re-drafted his great work.

A chance visit to a second-hand book dealer some years later reconnected Guerin with the Proust family and led to his meeting with the man who was clearing out the apartment of the late Robert Proust.

His wife, Marthe Proust, had apparently instructed that all trace of the abominable Marcel should be removed and burnt.

She had even gone through published volumes, tearing out Marcel's dedicatory signature.

And so began Guerin's pursuit of the manuscripts and belongings of his hero which were eventually to lead him to the fur lined overcoat which had accompanied Proust throughout most of his life including as a bedspread on the brass bed where he wrote 'In Search Of Lost Time'.

Producer: Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

The story of one man's pursuit of the relics of his literary hero, Marcel Proust.

0220101228

By Lorenza Foschini.

The family history of Marcel Proust was not a particularly happy one.

Following the death of Robert Proust his widow, Marthe, seizes her chance to get rid of everything relating to her celebrated brother in law.

Producer: Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

Robert's widow Marthe seizes her chance to get rid of everything relating to Marcel.

0320101229

By Lorenza Foschini.

Guerin is determined to salvage all he can from the house clearance, but Werner is not as forthcoming as he might be.

Producer: Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

Guerin is determined to salvage all he can from the house clearance.

0420101230

By Lorenza Foschini.

The overcoat which Marcel Proust wore for most of the last decade of his life and which he used as a bedspread has a powerful hold over Guerin.

Producer: Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.

Marcel's overcoat which he used as a bedspread has a powerful hold over Guerin.

05 LAST20101231

Jacques Guerin offers up his collection to the world and the author opens a cardboard box.

By Lorenza Foschini.

Producer: Jill Waters

A Waters Company production for BBC Radio 4.