Several bits of meat included here would be known even without Proust's jelly: Sarah Bernhardt (who inspired La Berma), Monet (Elstir), Faure (Vinteuil), Anatole France
The case attracted the support of such writers as Anatole France
, Marcel Proust, and Emile Zola.
Writers like Anatole France
and Proust did not have to face the sort of hostile public Zola had.
Later, he did busts of such literary figures as Anatole France
and Walt Whitman and portrait busts of such eminent contemporaries as Franklin D.
Paphnutius in Anatole France
's Thais becomes a stylite for a time.
Another hostess prevailed upon one of Proust's literary gods (and model for his own Bergotte), Anatole France
, to preface it - "bullied" and "extracted" are the terms used by biographers - who opens his appeal with the blunt "Why have I promised to undertake this most agreeable but perfectly useless task?" (Of these supporting materials, only France's preface appears in the Ecco reprint.) This frilly presentation backfired: it made Proust's book, as Roger Shattuck has noted, seem "like the work of a dilettante with powerful connections, even though it does not read that way." The book led to snide accusations of homosexuality in a particularly nasty review (by a critic who was himself homosexual), forcing Proust to challenge his fellow invert to a duel.
Menard's poetic works pale beside those of Charles-Marie-Rene Leconte de Lisle and Jose Maria de Heredia, both of whom he influenced considerably; he also influenced Anatole France
and Gustave Flaubert.
In Remembrance of Things Past, Marcel Proust gives an excellent picture of the alignment of French opinion on the controversial case, which is also dealt with in Anatole France
's satirical series Histoire contemporaine (1896 - 1901).