Marcel Proust Plays Air Guitar on a Tennis Racket (1891)

Was “air gui­tar” a thing back in 1891, when a pho­tog­ra­ph­er cap­tured young Mar­cel Proust in this play­ful pho­to­graph? Prob­a­bly not. Maybe it’s anachro­nis­tic to read the pho­to­graph this way. But you have to admit, it’s worth sus­pend­ing dis­be­lief for a moment and imag­in­ing what song Mar­cel was play­ing. Any clever guess­es?

via The Atlantic

Relat­ed Con­tent:

The First Known Footage of Mar­cel Proust Dis­cov­ered: Watch It Online

An Intro­duc­tion to the Lit­er­ary Phi­los­o­phy of Mar­cel Proust, Pre­sent­ed in a Mon­ty Python-Style Ani­ma­tion

When James Joyce & Mar­cel Proust Met in 1922, and Total­ly Bored Each Oth­er

16-Year-Old Mar­cel Proust Tells His Grand­fa­ther About His Mis­guid­ed Adven­tures at the Local Broth­el

Mar­cel Proust Fills Out a Ques­tion­naire in 1890: The Man­u­script of the ‘Proust Ques­tion­naire’

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Comments (7)
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  • Petteri says:

    More like “rack­et man­dolin” I think.

  • Petteri Aro says:

    PS. A won­der­ful pic, by the way, thanks. So was Lucia Joyce.

  • Guilherme Carvalho says:

    He’s def­i­nite­ly play­ing that shred­ding Vin­teuil solo. ;)

  • Toad says:

    Made me won­der if he was an ear­ly ten­nis enthusiast–people have been play­ing gui­tar (and man­dolin) a lot longer than they’ve been play­ing ten­nis. Googled it, and this pho­to was tak­en the same year the French Open–not under that name, of course–was first held, and I guess the game was boom­ing in pop­u­lar­i­ty for the first time.

    It speaks well of a man’s char­ac­ter when he’s will­ing to plop down on his knees and act sil­ly to make a child smile. Also, he’s got a bit of a Gomez Addams look going on; very appeal­ing. He’s a tough read, though.

  • Balazs says:

    He’s def­i­nite­ly play­ing the Mar­cel­laise ;)

  • Thomas Petruso says:

    Ten­nis can be traced to 12th C. France (in the form of jeu de paume), so while the gui­tar and man­dolin pre-date it by a few mil­len­nia, it was hard­ly a new phe­nom­e­non in 1891. Rac­quets came into use in the 16th C. (Hen­ry VIII was a fan, and Mary Stu­art was a reg­u­lar play­er). The name “ten­nis” dates from the 13th C.

  • Bill W. says:

    The lit­tle girl in the chair seems to be enjoy­ing his per­for­mance; Proust must have been quite a char­ac­ter.

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