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Marcel Proust paid for reviews praising his work to go into newspapers

2 October 2017

From The Guardian:

The French writer Marcel Proust paid for glowing reviews of the first volume of his Remembrance of Things Past to be put into newspapers, letters by the author reveal.

The novelist wrote the notices himself and sent them to be typed up by his publisher “so there is no trace of my handwriting” to distance himself “absolutely from the money that will change hands”.

The letters have come to light with an extremely rare copy of Swann’s Way, which is expected to go for around half a million euros (£438,000) when it goes under the hammer at Sotheby’s in Paris next month.

They make it clear that Proust orchestrated the operation himself from his bed, promising his editor at the publisher Grasset that he would “of course, pay him back in full”.

The wealthy writer paid 300 francs – around £900 today – for a flattering reference to Swann’s Way to appear on the front page of Le Figaro, then – as now – one of France’s leading dailies. He paid a further 660 francs for another much larger summary of a glowing review by a friend of his to similarly appear on the front page of the Journal des Debats.

. . . .

Proust’s desperation for publicity was partly because he was having to pay for the book’s publication himself, experts said. A string of publishing houses had turned it down before Brun persuaded his boss Bernard Grasset to take it in 1913 – but only if the author paid all the costs.

Link to the rest at The Guardian

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4 Comments to “Marcel Proust paid for reviews praising his work to go into newspapers”

  1. So, Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way was vanity published! And he’s famous! I knew that I was on the right track!

  2. Sounds like some Publish America/America Star business going on here. Having to pay for the costs himself?

  3. More evidence of how Amazon has cheapened the intellectual world. I’ve heard that bogus reviews there go for as little as five to ten dollars.

  4. I dont think it worked. Most young have NO idea who MP is.

    I guess you have to keep paying for fresh reviews

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