D'Albert-Durade, Francois (1804-1886)


D'Albert-Durade, Francois (1804-1886)


George Eliot boarded with Francois D'Albert-Durade for five months in his residence in Geneva, Switzerland during her first trip to continental Europe after her father's death. Eliot wrote to the Brays professing to love D'Albert as both a brother and father, claiming that she had 'not heard a word or seen a gesture of his yet that was not perfectly in harmony with an exquisite moral refinement indeed one feels a better person always when he is present.' Due to physical deformity in his spine caused by a childhood injury, some believe D'Albert to be the model of Philip Wakem in Mill on the Floss. D'Albert painted the portrait of Eliot in February 1850, which now hangs in the Herbert Art Gallery in Coventry.
When it became time for Eliot to return to England, she was very sad to leave the D'Alberts, and he accompanied her all the way to England as a measure of protection. After his return to Geneva, the two kept in touch by letters, written in French. Eliot addressed him in the familiar form after obtaining permission from his wife, Julie, to do so. D'Albert later burned the letters, fearing that they might be misinterpreted. Upon the revelation that Marian had 'married' George Henry Lewes and that she had become the novelist George Eliot, D'Albert responded that he had already read Scenes of Clerical Life and expressed interest in translating it to French. After obtaining permission from her, D'Albert translated Adam Bede, The Mill on the Floss, Silas Marner, Romola, and Scenes of Clerical Life into French.


George Eliot Archive, edited by Beverley Park Rilett, https://GeorgeEliotArchive.org


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