POLITICS – On the side of Proust. The President of the Republic visits the childhood home of the illustrious writer this Wednesday, September 15 in Illiers-Combray, in Eure-et-Loir to launch, three days before the weekend devoted to them, the European days of patrimony.
This is where Marcel Proust spent his holidays, when he was young, between 1877 and 1880. It is in this building, omnipresent in the work of the novelist, that the character of “aunt Léonie” assiduously offers a little madeleine to the narrator.
Transformed into a museum in the 1950s, the place will close its doors from September 19 for repair work, just after the EHD. But why did the President of the Republic opt for this visit, and this city of some 3000 souls? As in 2020, when he went to the Hôtel de Polignac, in the Gers, to emphasize rural heritage, Emmanuel Macron’s choice of “Aunt Léonie’s house” is not a chance.
First of all, the building was selected last spring, along with twelve other monuments, to benefit from the famous Loto du patrimoine. It is also the main promoter of the game of chance, Stéphane Bern, who would be at the origin of the presidential visit in Eure-et-Loir.
“From the moment when we started to choose the sites of the Bern mission, in April, I suggested that the President’s visit be made to Illiers-Combray”, says the host, commissioned by the chef state since 2017, to the local newspaper the Republican Echo. “With the Proustian anniversary, between the 150th anniversary of Marcel Proust’s birth and the 100th anniversary of his death,” he adds, this year 2021 seems ideal.
Above all, through his visit, Emmanuel Macron intends to highlight the “intangible heritage” of France, according to the Elysee. “French heritage is not just about old stones, buildings or castles. It is also an intangible part of our culture with literature or landscapes ”, argues the presidency, on the sidelines of Emmanuel Macron’s visit.
And to do this, the President of the Republic will not be alone in Illiers-Combray. In addition to his wife Brigitte Macron, who regularly accompanies him on cultural visits, the Head of State will be accompanied by Stéphane Bern and Guillaume Gallienne. The actor should read a passage from the work of Marcel Proust in the church of the small town.
“Bringing Guillaume Gallienne, who made Proustian reading an absolute art, was obvious”, relates the Élysée, which insists on “the stake” of “the transmission of literary heritage.”
A question all the more present for a Head of State who stages his passion for reading and literature. Before Marcel Proust this Wednesday, Emmanuel Macron has already visited, last week, the houses of Jean Giono and René Char in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence and Vaucluse.
A taste for literature that the Head of State had put forward from the first months of his mandate by posing, for his official portrait, alongside three works: “War Memories”By Charles de Gaulle,“The Red and the Black”By Stendhal, and“Earthly foods”By André Gide. There was no room for the seven volumes of “The research”.
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