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Collection of letters and other material by and about Robert de Montesquiou, comte de Montesquiou-Fezensac

Overview

Scope and Contents

Biographical Note

Administrative Information

Detailed Description

Provenance Information

Material concerning Robert de Montesquiou

Letters written or received by Robert de Montesquiou



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Collection of letters and other material by and about Robert de Montesquiou, comte de Montesquiou-Fezensac, 1892-1940 | University of Illinois Rare Book & Manuscript Library

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Collection Overview

Title: Collection of letters and other material by and about Robert de Montesquiou, comte de Montesquiou-Fezensac, 1892-1940Add to your cart.

Predominant Dates:1892 - 1919

ID: 01/02/02/POST-1650 MS 0653

Primary Creator: Montesquiou-Fezensac, Robert, comte de (1855-1921)

Extent: 0.21 Linear Feet

Arrangement:

The collection is arranged in three series:

1. Provenance Information, 1940

-Contains information concerning the purchase of the Montesquiou collection by John Meyer of Chicago

2. Material concerning Robert de Montesquiou, ca. 1939

-Contains typescripts of information about Robert de Montesquiou and an amateur photograph of the Comte

3. Letters written or received by Robert de Montesquiou, ca. 1892-1919

-Contains correspondence, chiefly letters written by Robert de Montesquiou to various correspondents. Many letters are to unknown recipients and/or undated. Letters are organized alphabetically by correspondent (if known), with unknown correspondents filed at the end of the series.

Languages: French

Scope and Contents of the Materials

This collection consists of a selection of letters and messages (sometimes including envelopes) written or received by Robert de Montesquiou, comte de Montesquiou-Fezensac (1855-1921). Primary correspondents include Charles Meunier, Emile Berr, and Pierre Dauze. It also includes typescripts concerning Montesquiou's life and family, an amateur photograph of the Comte, and information concerning the letters' acquisition in 1940 by John Meyer of Chicago.

Some letters include identifying wrappers from a previous auction.

Biographical Note

Robert de Montesquiou, born March 7, 1855, to Thierry, Comte de Montesquiou-Fezensac, and his wife Pauline (nee Duroux), descended from one of the oldest aristocratic families in France, and proudly counted among his distant ancestors Charles de Batz-Castelmore d'Artagnan, whose life was dramatized by Alexandre Dumas in Les Trois Mousquetaires. Montesquiou was raised against the backdrop of the busy life of the most fashionable Parisian salons, and with tout Paris--the French high society that inhabited the Faubourg Saint Germain--as his playmates. Society life inculcated a keen aesthetic sense in the count, and he grew to prize luxury, exoticism, refinement, and good taste. Throughout France's "Belle Epoque" Montesquiou gained a reputation as a dandy, literary snob, tastemaker, and critic, and was known to style himself "Professor of Beauty" and "Prince of Decadence." His circle at times included such artistic, literary, and celebrity figures as Maurice Barres, Sarah Bernhardt, Gabriele D'Annunzio, Alphonse Daudet, Gabriel Faure, Edmond de Goncourt, Stephane Mallarme, and Edouard Manet, as well as--most notably--Marcel Proust.

Everything about Montesquiou's life and appearance, from his attire, accessories, and furnishings to his gestures and his choice of paper and pen when writing, was carefully crafted and specifically selected in order to present the appearance of an effortless dandyism. In addition to surrounding himself with writers, Montesquiou was himself a poet, and published several volumes of his own work, including Les Chauves-souris, clairs-obscurs, Le Chef des odeurs suaves, and Les Hortensias bleus. His poetry was not particularly well received by critics, but is notable for its intricate aesthetic presentation: Les Chauves-souris was sent to his close friends in a small box wrapped in silk, and with a dust jacket designed by Whistler featuring a cloud of bats. Montesquiou even produced his own stationary with his by then signature "bat" emblem.

Besides his own literary output, Montesquiou is notable in literary history for the access that he provided to French society circles for writers such as Proust, and for the enduring (and often satirical) portraits and caricatures of him that emerged in the writings of more notable authors. Just as Montesquiou's ancestor served as an inspiration for Dumas, the Count himself was the model for des Esseintes in Joris-Karl Huysmans' A Rebors (published 1884) and for the Baron de Charlus in Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu (published 1913-1927). Proust--who also based the character of the Duchesse de Guermantes on Montesquiou's cousin, Elisabeth, Countess Greffulhe--probably offended Montesquiou with his interpretation, and a rift grew between the two men. Montesquiou died of kidney failure on December 11, 1921, less than one year before Proust's death. His memoirs, Les Pas effaces, were published posthumously.

Administrative Information

Repository: University of Illinois Rare Book & Manuscript Library

Access Restrictions: Open to researchers.

Use Restrictions:

The RBML reproductions policies can be found here:

http://www.library.illinois.edu/rbx/ReproductionServices.htm

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) governs the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted materials.

Under certain conditions specified in the law, libraries and archives are authorized to furnish a photocopy or other reproduction. One of these specified conditions is that the photocopy or reproduction is not to be "used for any purpose other than private study scholarship or research." If a user makes a request for, or later uses, a photocopy or reproduction for purposes in excess of "fair use," that user may be liable for copyright infringement.

This institution reserves the right to refuse to accept a copying order if, in its judgement, fulfillment of the order would damage materials or involve violation of copyright law.


Box and Folder Listing


Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Provenance Information, 1940],
[Series 2: Material concerning Robert de Montesquiou, ca. 1939],
[Series 3: Letters written or received by Robert de Montesquiou, ca. 1892 - 1919],
[All]

Series 3: Letters written or received by Robert de Montesquiou, ca. 1892 - 1919Add to your cart.
Folder 5Add to your cart.
Item 5: Montesquiou, Robert de to [Berr, Emile], January 3, 1910Add to your cart.

ALS

addressed "Mon cher Ami"

written from "Palais Rose"

Physical description: 1 piece, plus wrapper
Folder 6Add to your cart.
Item 6: Montesquiou, Robert de to [Berr, Emile], July 11, 1919Add to your cart.

ALS

addressed "Mon cher Ami"

Physical description: 1 piece, plus wrapper
Folder 7Add to your cart.
Item 7: Montesquiou, Robert de to [Berr, Emile], July, 1919Add to your cart.

ALS

addressed "Mon cher Ami"

Physical description: 2 pieces, plus wrapper
Folder 8Add to your cart.
Item 8: Montesquiou, Robert de to Dauze, Pierre, February 3, unknown year?Add to your cart.

ALS

includes envelope addressed to Pierre Dauze

Dated on letter: "6 novembre"

Postmark: February 3, 1901

(Envelope may be from a different letter)

Physical Description: 2 pieces
Folder 9Add to your cart.
Item 9: Montesquiou, Robert de to [M. Etter, chambellan de la Gr. Duchesse Wladimir], October 21, unknown yearAdd to your cart.

ALS

addressed "Cher Monsieur"

written on stationary from Artagnan, Vic en Bigorre (Hautes Pyrenees)

Physical description: 1 piece, plus wrapper
Folder 10Add to your cart.
Item 10: Elisabeth, Comtesse Greffulhe, to Montesquiou, Robert de, January 2, 1908Add to your cart.

Written "Message Telephone" relayed from Elisabeth, Comtesse Greffulhe

Includes envelope addressed to Montesquiou

Undated on message

Postmark: January 2, 1908

Physical Description: 2 pieces
Folder 11Add to your cart.
Item 11: Montesquiou, Robert de to Meunier, [Charles], August 27, 1911Add to your cart.

Empty envelope addressed to Meunier

Postmark: August 27, 1911

Physical description: 1 piece
Folder 12Add to your cart.
Item 12: Montesquiou, Robert de to Meunier, [Charles], September, 1911Add to your cart.
ALS (signed with initials)
Physical description: 3 pieces
Folder 13Add to your cart.
Item 13: Montesquiou, Robert de to [Albert or Robert Paul?], October 2, 1912Add to your cart.

ALS

addressed "Cher Monsieur Emile Paul"

Written from "Castel d'Artagnan...par Vic. Bigorre. Htel Pyrenees"

Physical description: 4 pieces
Folder 14Add to your cart.
Item 14: Montesquiou, Robert de to Ritter, W[illiam]?, December 1, unknown yearAdd to your cart.

ALS

"W. Ritter" written on wrapper

Physical Description: 1 piece, plus wrapper
Folder 15Add to your cart.
Item 15: Montesquiou, Robert de to [Talbot, Margaret Jane], September 27, 1892Add to your cart.

ALS (signed with initials)

addressed "Dear Mme Talbot"

written on stationary from Les Bouleaux par Mormant, Seine & Marne

Physical description: 1 piece, plus wrapper
Folder 16Add to your cart.
Item 16: Montesquiou, Robert de to [Talbot, Margaret Jane], December 9, 1892Add to your cart.

ALS (signed with initials)

addressed "Chere Dame et Amie" (wrapper describes recipient as "Madame la colonelle R. A. J. Talbot")

written on Montesquiou's bat stationary

written from "Les Bouleaux, par Chapelle Gauthier, Seine-et-Marne"

Physical description: 1 piece, plus wrapper
Folder 17Add to your cart.
Item 17: Montesquiou, Robert de to [Grand Duchess Vladimir], May 15, [1902]Add to your cart.

ALS

written from "Pavillon des Muses"

Physical description: 1 piece, plus wrapper
Folder 18Add to your cart.
Item 18: Montesquiou, Robert de to unknown recipient, October 14, 1912Add to your cart.

ALS

addressed "Mon cher Editeur"

Written from "Castel d'Artagnan par Vic. Bigorre. Htel Pyrenees"

Physical description: 3 pieces
Folder 19Add to your cart.
Item 19: Montesquiou, Robert de to unknown recipient, "Mercredi"Add to your cart.

ALS (signed with initials)

addressed "Aimable Princesse"

written on Montesquiou's bat stationary

Physical description: 1 piece
Folder 20Add to your cart.
Item 20: Montesquiou, Robert de to unknown recipient, February 3, unknown yearAdd to your cart.

ALS

written on notecard stationary from Chateau d'Artagnan

Physical description: 1 piece
Folder 21Add to your cart.
Item 21: Notes exchanged between Montesquiou, Robert, and unknown recipient, "Octobre"Add to your cart.

Written on Montesquiou's business cards, containing his name and address

includes unaddressed envelope with "M" seal

Physical description: 3 pieces
Folder 22Add to your cart.
Item 22: Montesquiou, Robert de to unknown recipient, March 2, [1903]Add to your cart.

ALS

addressed "Cher confrere et Ami"

written on stationary from the Westminster Hotel, New York

pinned clipping from the New York Herald discussing Montesquiou's ongoing visit to New York and New Jersey

Physical description: 3 pieces, plus pinned clipping
Folder 23Add to your cart.
Item 23: Montesquiou, Robert de to unknown recipient, April 1, 1909Add to your cart.

ALS

addressed "Mon cher Maitre"

Written from "Pavillon des Muses"

Physical description: 1 piece
Folder 24Add to your cart.
Item 24: Montesquiou, Robert de to unknown recipient, September 14, unknown yearAdd to your cart.

ALS

addressed "Mon cher Voisin"

Mentions "Gautier" on the back

written on stationary from Artagnan, Vic en Bigorre (Hautes Pyrenees)

Physical description: 1 piece
Folder 25Add to your cart.
Item 25: Montesquiou, Robert de to unknown recipient, June, 1895Add to your cart.

ALS

written on Montesquiou's bat stationary.

Physical description: 1 piece
Folder 26Add to your cart.
Item 26: Montesquiou, Robert de to unknown recipient, January, 1904Add to your cart.

ALS

addressed "Chere Amie"

Physical description: 1 piece
Folder 27Add to your cart.
Item 27: Montesquiou, Robert de to unknown recipient, December, 1912Add to your cart.

ALS

addressed "Mon cher Ami"

written from "Castel d'Artagnan"

Physical description: 3 pieces
Folder 28Add to your cart.
Item 28: Montesquiou, Robert de to unknown recipient, August 10, unknown yearAdd to your cart.

ALS

addressed "Chere Comtesse"

written on a notecard

Physical description: 1 piece, plus wrapper

Browse by Series:

[Series 1: Provenance Information, 1940],
[Series 2: Material concerning Robert de Montesquiou, ca. 1939],
[Series 3: Letters written or received by Robert de Montesquiou, ca. 1892 - 1919],
[All]

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