Proust and Joyce meet, 18th May 1922

The two greatest novelists of the 20th century met only once. At a supper party at the Hotel Majestic in Paris on May 18th 1922 given by the rich Englishman Sydney Schiff and his wife Violet.

The party, at which Stravinsky and  Picasso were also guests, was held to celebrate the first night of Stavinsky’s Renard with choreography by Nijinska.

Unfortunately things did not work out quite as might have been hoped.

Joyce arrived late, drunk and inappropriately dressed. “Joyce complained of his eyes, Proust of his stomach. Did M. Joyce like truffles? He did. Had he met the Duchesse de X? He had not. ‘I regret that I do not know M. Joyce’s work,’ remarked Proust. ‘I have never read M. Proust,’ Joyce [lied] …  ‘If only we’d been allowed to meet and have a talk somewhere,’ remarked Joyce sadly afterwards.”

In July/August, Sydney Schiff tried to organise for Proust to sit for a portrait drawing by Picasso. Sadly, nothing came of the project. Proust died later that year on 18 November 1922, aged 51.

 

Marcel Proust

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources: John Richardson’s biography of Picasso and George Painter’s biography of Proust

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