26 October 2011

Marcel Proust and Manchester

I was pleased to note recently that Marcel Proust had an active connection with Manchester, my native city. He was very much influenced by the writing of John Ruskin, whose famous lectures on culture and society Sesame and Lilies were delivered there in 1864. And whilst translating Ruskin's work into French, Proust was assisted by English born Marie Nordlinger, who was cousin of the French composer Reynaldo Hahn, who in his turn was Proust's lover. Marie Nordlinger lived in Rusholme, the same suburb where Ruskin had made his presentations. It's an area all now swallowed up into the behemoth which is The University of Manchester. Frederick Engels also lived just round the corner, but as a cultural footnote to this posting, the postbox in which he dropped his letters to Marx (including cheques) still exists there on Oxford Road.

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