CP 03978/en

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This page is a translated version of the page CP 03978 and the translation is 100% complete.

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Marie de Régnier to Marcel Proust [Thursday, 11 December 1919]

(Click on the link above to see this letter and its notes in the Corr-Proust digital edition, including all relevant hyperlinks.)

Mr Marcel Proust 44 Hamelin Street

To bring to your attention.


Dear Canaque[2] and friend

I am delighted with your success but I was hoping that you would get the great literary prize[3] and I was working for that... Well, "one is better than two, you know"...

I trust you don't mind me saying that I haven't thanked you yet for Young Girls in Bloom? It's a book I thoroughly enjoyed and what could be a better or more charming way to recover some lost time than to confide in the thread of these Arianes, who seem to already know of the future? Thank you for so many emotional and amusing hours - for these beautiful and charming portraits that I love. Saint-Loup and the Saint-Simonian Monsieur de Charlus!

My faithful and friendly memories,

Marie de Régnier

[4] [5]


  1. Letter of congratulations for the Goncourt Prize; to be dated Thursday 11 December 1919. [PK]
  2. Marie de Régnier here affectionately reminds Proust of her former membership of the Académie Canaque, or Canaquadémie, a circle of young writers who frequented the salon of her father, the poet José-Maria de Heredia, between around 1893 and 1895. Marie de Heredia (who married Henri de Régnier in 1895) had founded this irreverent circle at the time of her father's election to the Académie française in 1894. She was its queen, Proust its perpetual secretary, and the academy counted among its members Henri de Régnier, Pierre Louÿs, André Gide, Paul Valéry, Philippe Berthelot, Léon Blum, and others. See a letter from Gérard d'Houville (Marie de Régnier's pen name) to Paul Valéry on the occasion of his election to the Académie française, in which she evokes her "Canaque" past: "Chronique du Figaro. Letter to Paul Valéry" (Le Figaro, 23 June 1927, p. 1). Already in February 1914, when she wrote to Proust to thank him for sending her Swann, Marie de Régnier addressed him as follows: 'Thank you, my dear Canaque, for having written this astonishing book for my pleasure [...]' (CP 03432; Kolb, XVI, no. 208). In April 1920, Henri de Régnier concluded a letter to Proust: 'The Queen of the Canaques charges me to convey to you her affectionate memories [...]' (CP 04141; Kolb, XIX, no. 103). [CSz]
  3. Marie de Régnier was awarded the Grand Prix de littérature de l'Académie française in 1918 for the whole of her work published under the pseudonym Gérard d'Houville. The prize was awarded to Jérôme and Jean Tharaud in June 1919, to Edmond Jaloux in 1920 and to Countess Anna de Noailles in 1921. See the list of laureates since 1912 on the official website of the Académie française. [CSz]
  4. Translation notes:
  5. Contributors: Obracken