Marcel Proust precious items on sale at Paris auction

Marcel Proust photo Image copyright AFP
Image caption Marcel Proust in 1896: He struggled to persuade his father that writing was a worthwhile career

Intimate letters and family photographs that belonged to the celebrated French writer Marcel Proust are being sold at auction in Paris.

Among the items is an original signed edition of Swann's Way, the first volume of Remembrance of Things Past.

After Proust's death in 1922 the collection passed to his brother Robert. A great-great-niece is selling the items at Sotheby's auction house.

There are boyhood photos of Proust and Man Ray's image of him on his deathbed.

One of the photos, dated 1896, shows Proust with his secret lover Lucien Daudet. Proust's mother had ordered him to destroy all copies of it.

There is also a letter from Proust to another lover, the pianist Reynaldo Hahn, whom he describes as "really the person who, besides mummy, I love most of all in the world".

The collection, put up for auction by Patricia Mante-Proust, is valued at between €520,000 (£396,000; $580,000) and €740,000.

The seven-volume Remembrance of Things Past is considered a literary masterpiece, rich in personal memories, the most famous being the evocative taste of a madeleine bun dipped in tea.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption These photos, circa 1882, show Marcel with his brother Robert (in central pic Marcel is on right)
Image copyright AFP
Image caption An original edition of Swann's Way, dated 1916
Image copyright AFP
Image caption The photo shows Marcel Proust (C) with French playwright and journalist Robert de Flers (L) and French writer Lucien Daudet
Image copyright AFP
Image caption A drawing of Amiens Cathedral by Marcel Proust
Image copyright AFP
Image caption Proust on his deathbed - a famous photo by Man Ray

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