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22.07.19

Proust's Stacked Chairs

In the Rue Haussmann apartment, Proust accumulated furniture from the family home. With the death of his mother that residence was full of nostalgia and he decided to leave it, but contradictorily he took all the chairs and tables he could to his new home. The extraordinary memory of Céleste Albaret, transcribed in the form of a book when she was more than eighty years old, has made it possible to reconstruct this apartment in every detail, as well as the habits of its inhabitant. In the unused dining room all kinds of junk accumulated. Furniture of gentrified taste, mediocre but that filled the house with memory. Those domestic objects that the deceased once appreciated made the absence visible. Nevertheless, none of those chairs were used in the writing process. Proust created his work half sitting on the bed. On the white of the sheets and on the white of the page. The antithesis of this bed surrounded by his mother’s furniture, laboratory for writing, would be the sofa that he gifted to the brothel near his house, Le Cuziat. A story that repeats itself in the fiction of In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower, where the narrator gives a sofa belonging to Aunt Léonine to a house of whores, the same furniture for sitting where this character confesses that as a young man he tried the pleasures of love for the first time with one of his cousins. 

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