George D. Painter

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George Duncan Painter OBE (5 June 1914 – 8 December 2005),[1] known as George D. Painter, was an English author most famous as a biographer of Marcel Proust.


Painter was born in Birmingham, England. His father was a schoolmaster, and his mother was an artist.[1] He studied classics at Trinity College, Cambridge, and later lectured in Latin at the University of Liverpool for one year. From 1938 until World War II and again after the war, he took a position as deputy curator of the British Museum's incunabula department.

His two-volume biography of Proust was published in 1959 and 1965. According to Miron Grindea, this was "rightly greeted as one of the great achievements in literary history",[2] and it is still widely considered to be one of the finest literary biographies in the English language.[3] Its second volume won the Duff Cooper Prize.[1] His later work Chateaubriand: Volume 1 – The Longed-For Tempests was awarded the 1977 James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

In popular culture[edit]


  • 1951: André Gide: a critical and biographical study[4] London: Arthur Barker
    • Revised and enlarged. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson (1968)
    • Translations into French (1968) and Italian (1969)
  • 1951: The Road to Sinodun: a winter and summer monodrama (poems)[4] London: Rupert Hart-Davis
  • 1953: André Gide: Marshlands and Prometheus Misbound:[4] two satires. London: Secker & Warburg (translation)
  • 1956: Marcel Proust: Letters to his Mother (translation)[4] London: Rider
  • 1959: Marcel Proust: a biography. Vol. 1.[4] London: Chatto & Windus, ISBN 0701110007
  • 1965: Marcel Proust: a biography. Vol. 2.[4] London: Chatto & Windus
    • Translations into German (1962 & 1968), Italian (1965), French (1966), Spanish (1967), and Polish (1972)
  • 1965: The Vinland Map and the Tartar Relation (with R. A. Skelton and Thomas E. Marston). New Haven: Yale University Press. Painter contributed: The Tartar Relation, edited, with introduction, translation and commentary; The Tartar Relation and the Vinland Map: an interpretation (New ed. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995. ISBN 0300065205)
  • 1976: William Caxton: a quincentenary biography of England's first printer. London: Chatto & Windus, ISBN 070112198X
  • 1977: Chateaubriand: a biography; Vol. 1: 1768–93; The longed-for tempests. London: Chatto & Windus, ISBN 0394426584


  1. ^ a b c Hayman, Ronald (2005-12-05). "George Painter: Writer whose life of Proust became the standard work". The Guardian. Retrieved 2007-07-31.
  2. ^ Grindea, Miron (1972, Vol. 37, Nos 364–366), "The Stuff of which Legends are Made", ADAM International Review.
  3. ^ Smith, Dinitia (2000-04-13) "Why Proust? And Why Now?", The New York Times.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Details taken from a copy of Marcel Proust: a biography, London: Chatto and Windus (1959) - no ISBN

External links[edit]