Bertrand de Fenelon
- Category : 1878-births
- Type : GP
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Laws 1
French diplomat who was a close friend of the homosexual writer Marcel Proust.
A handsome young blond man with blue eyes (like Robert de Saint-Loup, a character in Proust's À la recherche du temps perdu [In Search of Lost Time]) he met Proust in the autumn of 1901 along with Prince Antoine Bibesco. Proust, Bibesco and Fenelon formed a trio, signing a secret friendship pact, according to which everyone must tell the other signatories what was said about them.
As his affections could not be satisfied by Bibesco, a lover of women, Proust turned toward Fénelon in the summer of 1902. The bedridden writer mostly used Bibesco to get news about Fénelon upon whom he modelled certain features of Saint-Loup.
Fénelon accompanied Proust on a journey to Amboise, then to Belgium and the Netherlands in autumn 1902. Proust was undermined by anxiety, for he could not confess his feelings to his friend, who himself did not yet share his inclinations.
Fénelon was appointed attaché of the Embassy in Constantinople in December 1902. Proust saw him again on a holiday in 1904, and then occasionally, notably in 1910.
Proust did not learn of the death of second lieutenant Fénelon in the 236th regiment of infantry until March 1915.
Most of the correspondence between Proust and Fénelon was destroyed by his family.
Fénelon's body has never been found. A plaque in his memory is in the family chapel in the old cemetery of Neuilly-sur-Seine.