The Year of Reading Proust discussion

Within a Budding Grove (In Search of Lost Time, #2)
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Within a Budding Grove, vol. 2 > Through Sunday, 28 Apr.: Within a Budding Grove

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message 1: by Kris, Obsessive Comproustive (last edited Jan 04, 2013 08:14PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kris (krisrabberman) | 136 comments Mod
This thread is for the discussion that will take place through Sunday, 28 Apr. of Within a Budding Grove, finish.


·Karen· (kmoll) | 318 comments Just mentioning before how rarely we have direct speech by the narrator, and here's a great long passage pf him talking - to flowers.


message 3: by Rosemary (last edited Apr 23, 2013 07:03AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Rosemary Just wanted to come and say I am keeping up with the reading, although not always with the forum threads :)

I think I enjoyed Within a Budding Grove even more than Swann's Way. It's so much fun to see all the plot threads snaking out and twisting over each other like Medusa's hair. I'm looking forward to more and more.

I wonder how many other lurkers there are...?


message 4: by Sam (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sam (buchflimmern) Rosemary wrote: "Just wanted to come and say I am keeping up with the reading, although not always with the forum threads :)

I think I enjoyed Within a Budding Grove even more than Swann's Way. It's so much fun to..."


I'm definitely not one them. Although it's sad in this case, because the Proustians here really commit themselves to share interesting stuff!

What I really enjoy is how Proust writes endings. Not everybody seamed to have liked the melancholy in the ending of Swann's Way. But here we have it again. This sense of all things being "mortal". The summer and the time at the spa is not only coming to an end, it feels completely lost in the last scene. At least to me. I remember some longer journeys I made, and coming home afterwards was always a bit like dying. The silence when you're back in your home after some weeks in the company of many. That's what I associated with the ending.


Richard Magahiz (milkfish) | 111 comments Proustitute wrote: ""Loving helps us to discern, to discriminate" — girls' voices — "The individual is steeped in something more general than himself" — je t'aime — ..."

In fact, this last item is not what Albertine wrote.

Après s'être appliquée à bien tracer chaque lettre, le papier appuyé à ses genoux, elle me l'avait passé en me disant : « Faites attention qu'on ne voie pas. » Alors je l'avais déplié et j'avais lu ces mots qu'elle m'avait écrits : « Je vous aime bien. »

Note the use of the formal pronoun which the Narrator recollects a few pages further on.

Pendant ce temps, je songeais à la petite feuille de bloc-notes que m'avait passée Albertine : « Je vous aime bien », et une heure plus tard, tout en descendant les chemins qui ramenaient, un peu trop à pic à mon gré, vers Balbec, je me disais que c'était avec elle que j'aurais mon roman.

What are we to make of that?


message 6: by Eugene (last edited Apr 23, 2013 06:19PM) (new)

Eugene | 479 comments Roland Barthes in Fragments d'un discours amoureux writes that in a love affair there is a lover and a beloved. Swann was the lover of the beloved Odette, the young Narrator was the lover of the beloved Gilberte and the young Narrator is the lover of the beloved Albertine.

In each instance in these romances the lover, through deceits and deceptions, wants to become the beloved.

Jealousy is involved in the relationship between Swann and Odette. Jealousy is involved in the relationship between the young Narrator and Gilberte.

In love affairs jealousy involves three, a lover (1), a beloved (2) and another party (3).

There are other triadic structures in ISOLT: the "Absence and Presence" scenario mentioned by Antoine Compagnon is what I call a scheme of 3, for example when Bloch (1) tells the Narrator (2) that Aunt Leonie had a wild past then the Narrator tells his parents (3) Bloch is banished by them and he 'makes a face at the Narrator'.

And in this week's reading when the Narrator 'begins to love' Albertine, the Narrator (1) tells Andrée (2) what he hopes will be conveyed to Albertine (3) but we don't know what happens, if anything, as of p. 706 ML.

Each scheme of 3 is slightly different in how it is framed, it's result, etc.; if ISOLT were a piece of classical music the scheme of 3 would be called theme and variation.


message 7: by Marcelita (last edited Apr 23, 2013 07:42PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marcelita Swann | 1135 comments Phillida wrote: "Look at Budding Grove, ML, p. 697:
"I had a sidelong view of Albertine's cheeks, which often appeared pale, but...were flushed with unclouded blood that lighted them up... The joy I felt at the sig..."


"Has anyone else noticed the narrator's fixation on Albertine's cheeks?"

Yes...and remembered these passages in the Overture (echoes of the novel) and especially the desperate need for his mother's kiss.

"I would lay my cheeks gently against the comfortable cheeks of my pillow, as plump and fresh as the 'cheeks of childhood.'"

But these hold a clues...

"The rest of humanity seemed very remote in comparison with this woman whose company I had left but a moment ago; my cheek was still warm from her kiss, my body ached beneath the weight of hers.
If, as would sometimes happen, she had the features of some woman whom I had known in waking hours. I would abandon myself altogether to this end: to find her again, like people who set out on a journey to see with their eyes some city of their desire, and imagine that one can taste in reality what has charmed one;s fancy. And then, gradually, the memory of her would fade away, I had forgotten the girl of my dream."

Always returning to the mother's kiss-on his cheeks:

"And to see her look displeased destroyed all the calm and serenity she had brought me a moment before, when she had bent her loving face down over my bed, and held it out to me like a host for an act of peace-giving communion in which my lips might imbibe her real presence and with it the power to sleep."

"...I would put beforehand into this kiss, which was bound to be so brief and furtive, everything that my own of efforts could muster, would carefully choose in advance the exact spot on her cheek where I would imprint it, and would so prepare my thoughts as to be able, thanks to these mental preliminaries, to consecrate the whole of the minute Mamma would grant me to the sensation of her cheek against my lips, as a painter who can have his subject for short setting only prepares his palette, ..."

Strange, after all the drama, I failed to find a passage where the narrator finally receives his mother's kiss...just a choice of books.


message 8: by Marcelita (last edited Apr 24, 2013 06:39AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marcelita Swann | 1135 comments Phillida wrote: "Marcelita wrote: "Phillida wrote: "Look at Budding Grove, ML, p. 697:
"I had a sidelong view of Albertine's cheeks, which often appeared pale, but...were flushed with unclouded blood that lighted t..."


Absolutely. I read...somewhere...that your first sexual-imprinting remains a key to future, dare I say, 'satisfaction?'


message 9: by Marcelita (last edited Apr 24, 2013 07:56AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marcelita Swann | 1135 comments Jaye wrote: "Phillida wrote: "Look at Budding Grove, ML, p. 697:
"I had a sidelong view of Albertine's cheeks, which often appeared pale, but...were flushed with unclouded blood that lighted them up... The joy ..."


" Would it be going too far to call it a Proustian fetish?"

No...not to far at all. Cheeks? Shoes? Fetishes are as varied as individuals.
See "Sexual imprinting"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Imprinti...


message 10: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (goodreadscompatricia2) | 370 comments Phillida wrote: "Look at Budding Grove, ML, p. 697:
"I had a sidelong view of Albertine's cheeks, which often appeared pale, but...were flushed with unclouded blood that lighted them up... The joy I felt at the sig..."


Yes! besides i think Albertine is a histerical flirt see how she cajoles the guy into her bedroom where she is going to be there by herself and tells him so and then then when he tries to kiss he she is "shocked beyond belief".


message 11: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (goodreadscompatricia2) | 370 comments Jaye wrote: "Phillida wrote: "Look at Budding Grove, ML, p. 697:
"I had a sidelong view of Albertine's cheeks, which often appeared pale, but...were flushed with unclouded blood that lighted them up... The joy ..."


You know why? because cheeks are more red when a woman is aroused.


message 12: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (goodreadscompatricia2) | 370 comments You lucky NYC gang see the exhibition you can enjoy at the Met.:

"Impressioniusm,Fashion and Modernity"

http://www.metmuseum.org/exhibitions/...


message 13: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (goodreadscompatricia2) | 370 comments try convince the guys at the Met to bring it to Argentina :)


Richard Magahiz (milkfish) | 111 comments A couple of links regarding the French children's game called "ferret"
Il court, il court le furet with a simple description of how the game works.

Some 18th century cosplayers enjoying the pastime.
Here's the top YouTube video you get when searching on the first line of the lyrics. I looked for one showing some actual people playing the game but came up empty.


message 15: by Cassian (new)

Cassian Russell | 36 comments I just finished this week's reading -- which means I just finished the novel -- and I confess this last third of the book remains a favorite.

I am stunned by that closing metaphor. I didn't remember it -- and it has really got me pondering. It is a real surprise. Spring, summer, blossoming girls, budding love, and then, to finish it all . . .


message 16: by Eugene (new)

Eugene | 479 comments Marcel Proust wrote: Entre les intervalles des instruments, si la mer était pleine, reprenait, coulé et continu, le glissement de l'eau d'une vague qui semblait envelopper les traits du violon dans ses volutes de cristal et faire jaillir son écume au-dessus des échos intermittents d'une musique sous-marine.


message 17: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Pak Patricia wrote: besides i think Albertine is a histerical flirt see how she cajoles the guy into her bedroom where she is going to be there by herself and tells him so and then then when he tries to kiss he she is "shocked beyond belief".

Oh! I read that completely differently. She explained to the Narrator that she was coming down with a cold and would be eating in her room, and if he liked, could come up while she ate. I didn't read anything to indicate that she was flirting or trying to sexually tease him in anyway. I think she genuinely thought they could spend time as friends and that she trusted him to think the same. Her shock seemed real.


message 18: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (last edited Apr 25, 2013 12:49AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
Coming out on Auction at Southebys in London this coming May:

Another lady in white with a parasol by the beach, by Joaquín Sorolla.





message 19: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
Cassian wrote: "I just finished this week's reading -- which means I just finished the novel -- and I confess this last third of the book remains a favorite.

I am stunned by that closing metaphor. I didn't remem..."


Cassian, you have read the whole work, so you can say... but this has been a glorious read for me. My favorite sections, so far, are the Combray and the two "Noms - le nom et le pays".


message 20: by Cassian (last edited Apr 25, 2013 05:32AM) (new)

Cassian Russell | 36 comments Kalliope wrote: "Cassian, you have read the whole work, so you can say... but this has been a glorious read for me. My favorite sections, so far, are the Combray and the two "Noms - le nom et le pays". "

Kalliope, in the interests of complete honesty, I have so many "favorite" sections, I am most likely misusing the word. As I was scanning the Resume of Le Côté des Guermantes last night I saw a whole stream of sections I am already salivating over.

I mentioned that closing metaphor because I found it so startling and because I am aware that Proust is going to become quite explicit about the use of metaphor before it is all over. And he is a master. I am being reminded of that again and again as I read.

(And maybe this is a good time to make these declarations -- only halfway tongue-in-cheek: the novel we are reading I call the greatest novel ever written; Flaubert's Madame Bovary is the most perfect; Tolstoy's characters are the most alive -- they are human beings, not characters; Eliot's Middlemarch is, as Virgina Woolf claimed, the most adult of novels: people really grow up in that one. And Dostoyevsky? I can't pin him down.)


message 21: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
Cassian wrote: "Kalliope wrote: "Cassian, you have read the whole work, so you can say... but this has been a glorious read for me. My favorite sections, so far, are the Combray and the two "Noms - le nom et le pa..."

Great last paragraph... And I am glad to hear that the wonders we've seen so far in Proust will continue.


message 22: by Martin (new)

Martin Gibbs | 105 comments Cassian wrote: "I just finished this week's reading -- which means I just finished the novel -- and I confess this last third of the book remains a favorite.

I am stunned by that closing metaphor. I didn't remem..."



The ending of Swann's Way left me more than a little edgy and dissatisfied. However, this was sublime.

"... embalmed in its vesture of gold."


message 23: by Jocelyne (last edited Apr 25, 2013 10:24AM) (new) - added it

Jocelyne Lebon | 745 comments Marcelita wrote: "Jaye wrote: "Phillida wrote: "Look at Budding Grove, ML, p. 697:
"I had a sidelong view of Albertine's cheeks, which often appeared pale, but...were flushed with unclouded blood that lighted them u..."


What a great insight to see the cheeks as fetishes! I never thought of that or never viewed the cheeks as sexual imprinting. I had only connected them to his dependency issues.


message 24: by ReemK10 (Paper Pills) (last edited Apr 25, 2013 11:40AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 1025 comments I don't see the fixation with the cheeks as being a fetish. I think that as an asthmatic, sickly man, pink cheeks were a sign of health to him, of being infused with the possibility of living a full life.


message 25: by Jocelyne (new) - added it

Jocelyne Lebon | 745 comments Richard wrote: "A couple of links regarding the French children's game called "ferret"
Il court, il court le furet with a simple description of how the game works.



Some 18th century cosplayers enjoying the p..."


Thank you for that. It brings back memories!


message 26: by Marcelita (last edited Apr 26, 2013 12:07AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Marcelita Swann | 1135 comments Ah, Françoise always pinning.

"...Françoise fastened them every night so that the light should not enter, and which she alone knew how to unfasten, in spite of the rugs, the red cretonne table-cover, the various fabrics collected here and there which she fitted into her defensive scheme, she never succeeded in making them meet exactly, the darkness was not complete,

and they spilled over the carpet as it were a scarlet shower of anemone-petals, which I could not resist the temptation to trample for a moment with my bare feet.

And on the wall which faced the window and so was partially lighted, a cylinder of gold with no visible support was placed vertically and moved slowly along like the pillar of fire which went before the Hebrews in the desert." MP (p.728)


message 27: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (last edited Apr 26, 2013 09:00AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
During the Furet game, the Narrator tells Albertine, whose hair "s'etaient à demi défaits, et, en mèches bouclé's, tombaient sus see joues dont ils faisaient encore mieux ressortir, par leur brune sécheresse, la rose carnation "Vous avez les tresses de Laura Dianti...."


Allegory of Alfonso d'Este and Laura Dianti

This is a different version of the Titian from the one included by Karpeles in his book, in which Laura is clothed.


·Karen· (kmoll) | 318 comments Kalliope wrote: "Coming out on Auction at Southebys in London this coming May:

Another lady in white with a parasol by the beach, by Joaquín Sorolla.


"

Oh I wish, I wish. If I had squillions, I'd be on the phone.


Amelia Jestings | 20 comments After two weeks of being behind with the reading assignment I finally caught up and found this to be an interesting and entertaining conclusion. I enjoyed how Proust moved between the two Narrators, one youthful and impetuous and the other somewhat older. For me it enhanced the pace of the story, as did the addition of dialogue, much more so than in other parts of his work. While Proust has been criticized for his dialogue I felt it was, at times, rather witty and well placed. And the fact that he added a plot twist, the scene in Albertine’s bedroom at the hotel, well that was rather dramatic action indeed. (And if we put it to a vote, I would have to say she was being a flirt and a tease!) But what I think was most poignant was his use of imagery, which was quite lovely, and he then delicately transformed his artful depictions into intrinsically compelling words. For in doing so, as I read, I often found my thoughts wandering to personal recollections and memories that are now dusty and vague, perhaps marred by a mole that I can’t seem to place!


message 30: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
Amelia wrote: "After two weeks of being behind with the reading assignment I finally caught up and found this to be an interesting and entertaining conclusion. I enjoyed how Proust moved between the two Narrator..."

I find that there is no clear cut between two supposed Narrators, the young and the adult. There are, so far, several stages of a younger point of view, and it is not clear that an the point of view of the older self is static either... We are just given several hints of a knowledge acquired later, as well as some musings that have the flavor of a more mature observer. Everything seems to me more fluid than a shift between two defined points of view.


Amelia Jestings | 20 comments Thanks Kalliope, I will read with more attention to this. What do you think was Proust's intention in doing so? I felt he was putting his own thoughts into his writing despite what I have read that this is not autobiographical.


·Karen· (kmoll) | 318 comments J.A. wrote: "Patricia wrote: besides i think Albertine is a histerical flirt see how she cajoles the guy into her bedroom "

However you read that, what narrative tension! I was gasping to see what would happen! Those moments of exquisite tension are rare, and so much more intense for that.


message 33: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Pak Karen wrote: Those moments of exquisite tension are rare

Tension isn't a word you'd normally associate with Proust! ;)


message 34: by Fionnuala (last edited Apr 27, 2013 02:16AM) (new)

Fionnuala | 1142 comments Karen wrote:"However you read that, what narrative tension! I was gasping to see what would happen...."

I wrote a note in my book at that point marveling at how long Proust can extend a moment.
As to Albertine being a tease or not, I think it is just a 'décalage' or mismatch between her code of behaviour and the narrator's ambitious expectations. What is more significant about the incident is the way it refers back to the mother's nighttime kiss. I've been looking out for biblical references, and there are some beautiful ones in this section including the mobile bar of sunlight on the wall being compared to the column of light which led the Hebrews out of the desert, but what strikes me most is the amount of prefiguring that we have had so far, Swann and the Narrator, Gilberte and Albertine, Combray and Babec, and now the goodnight kiss. There are so many foreshadowings just as the old testament continually foreshadows the new, and I can imagine that there are many more to come. I'm not trying to draw religious parallels here but artistic ones. I think Proust's knowledge of art history made him particularly aware of the power of foreshadowing, it having been an essential pert of religious art from medieval times. I think the emphasis on the colour of the girls' cheeks may also be inspired by Proust's love of painting. I imagine that as he created his characters, he poured over illustrations of works of the great masters, like Swann and the Botticellis, and noted the different flesh tones and coloring so that earlier Albertine is a Titian, then she is a Giorgione, later a Rubens perhaps? I loved the ending too, that neat reversal of the typical view, the daylight foreshadowing death and decay instead of life and hope.

(I'm glad to have finally caught up on this week's discussion which I noticed is shorter than usual, perhaps because I didn't fill it up with all my blow by blow comments like I usually do!)


message 35: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
Fionnuala wrote: "Karen wrote:"However you read that, what narrative tension! I was gasping to see what would happen...."

I wrote a note in my book at that point marveling at how long Proust can extend a moment.
As..."


Your mentioning of Rubens and all the discussion of cheeks and their colour... inevitably conjures up for me this image:



No other painter, either before or after, has been able to depict skin and flesh better than Rubens.

The above is a portrait of his child Clara.


message 36: by Eugene (new)

Eugene | 479 comments The Narrator in Albertine's hotel room is written to not be determined one way or another, either she is "virtuous" or she isn't...proof is always lacking.


·Karen· (kmoll) | 318 comments Eugene wrote: "The Narrator in Albertine's hotel room is written to not be determined one way or another, either she is "virtuous" or she isn't...proof is always lacking."

Quite! And it's this openness, this need to interpret, the necessity to go on pondering it, this is what makes for Literature with a capital L. Works that are entirely closed and finished are dead.


message 38: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Pak @Fionnuala: Wonderful message 41.


message 39: by J.A. (new)

J.A. Pak Karen wrote: Eugene wrote: "The Narrator in Albertine's hotel room is written to not be determined one way or another, either she is "virtuous" or she isn't...proof is always lacking."

Quite! And it's this openness, this need to interpret, the necessity to go on pondering it, this is what makes for Literature with a capital L. Works that are entirely closed and finished are dead.


The narrator has misunderstood Albertine before. During the ferret game he imagines Albertine and he are playing a private, hidden game within the cloak of the ferret game. He finds himself wrong twice. I think this is Proust preparing us for the bedroom scene.

At one moment Albertine leaned towards me, with an air of connivance, her round and rosy face, making a show of having the ring, so as to deceive the ferret, and keep him from looking in the direction in which she was just going to pass it. I realised at once that this was the sole object of Albertine's mysterious, confidential gaze, but I was a little shocked to see thus kindle in her eyes the image—purely fictitious, invented to serve the needs of the game—of a secret, an understanding between her and myself which did not exist, but which from that moment seemed to me to be possible and would have been divinely sweet. While I was still being swept aloft by this thought, I felt a slight pressure of Albertine's hand against mine, and her caressing finger slip under my finger along the cord, and I saw her, at the same moment, give me a wink which she tried to make pass unperceived by the others. At once, a mass of hopes, invisible hitherto by myself, crystallised within me. "She is taking advantage of the game to let me feel that she really does love me," I thought to myself, in an acme of joy, from which no sooner had I reached it than I fell, on hearing Albertine mutter furiously: "Why can't you take it? I've been shoving it at you for the last hour." Stunned with grief I let the cord go...
Proust, Marcel. Within A Budding Grove (Kindle Locations 8468-8474). Feedbooks.


·Karen· (kmoll) | 318 comments Phillida wrote: "Did anyone else find the scene in Albertine's hotel room funny, as I did?"

Yes!

Mind you, I'm constantly smirking at how spectacularly wrong the narrator gets these girls. There he was, thinking that Gisèle had the hots for him, but he seems perfectly oblivious to Andrée, who really does appear to be fond of him.


message 41: by Fionnuala (new)

Fionnuala | 1142 comments J.A. wrote: "@Fionnuala: Wonderful message 41.
The narrator has misunderstood Albertine before."


Thanks J.

Karen wrote: "Mind you, I'm constantly smirking at how spectacularly wrong the narrator gets these girls."

That's it, boys do get girls spectacularly wrong all the time, there are such physical and emotional differences in the way they both mature. But when the Narrator describes this, and given his tendency to philosophise all the time so that we forget he is just a boy, it seems funnier.


message 42: by Marcus (new) - added it

Marcus | 143 comments been 'offline' for a few weeks and now caught up so to speak. reassuring that the things that struck me about this week - the hotel room failed kiss episode and the closing mummy metaphor - also landed with you. The missed kiss scene i thought farcical (French farce?) and it works best for me if I think of Albertine as being a tease (there is evidence to support this and i think at one point the older narrator says something to the effect that is someone's done something once, they will do it again), then the narrator's beliefs about the situation are funny, at his expense, and therefore a little sad and, have to say, true to life.

The closing image is breathtakingly mysterious. I saw a brilliant docu about the opening of the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam recently and the presenter talks about the mystery necessary to great works of art. The mystery and consequent sense of surprise in ISOLT, of which this closing metaphor is distinct evidence, is what makes this great art IMHO.


message 43: by Eugene (last edited Apr 28, 2013 09:31AM) (new)

Eugene | 479 comments The band of girls: the younger Narrator finds them more beautiful than any member; even though they are composed of living beings, they are art to him, and like Swann, he compares them to works: frescos backgrounded by the sea. He is in love with their beauty as if they were dancing for him; they are a cherished ballet and he can be on stage with them to see these dancers as closely as if photographed in close up. But when he meets individual members, for example, Albertine at Elstir's tea he is clearly disappointed and Andrée is sickly, too much like himself, etc.

His imagined life is precious and beautiful; his life as experienced is other. This is a continuing pattern: Mme Guermantes in church, Berma, the church at Balbec, now the band of girls, what he imagines is not what he sees.

Amelia, a good way to know who is speaking, when there are not dead giveaways like knowing the younger Narrator's future, is by tone; generally the older Narrator is written in a more complex syntax, his thinking is more intricate and finer, beyond the capabilities of the younger person.

Language is like music; Proust must keep to the rules of realism in order to break them for effect or the performance tends toward noise.

And when the novel ends won't the Narrators become one. Who will comment then; we'll have to wait and see.


Richard Magahiz (milkfish) | 111 comments On the subject of rosy cheeks, an 1891 portrait by Whistler of Lillian Woakes



message 45: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
Richard wrote: "On the subject of rosy cheeks, an 1891 portrait by Whistler of Lillian Woakes


"


Richard, I did not know this Whistler. It is beautiful. Thanks.


Richard Magahiz (milkfish) | 111 comments This past weekend I was staying at a bed and breakfast in the Berkshires in Massachusetts called Whistler's Inn which used to be owned by a nephew of the painter. In the old library there I was leafing through an art book and saw a color plate of this little painting.


Marcelita Swann | 1135 comments I have been thinking for awhile ...how these posts delight and humble me.
Whether it's the visual 'treats,' like this-unknown to me-Whistler, or the exquisitely written reflections on the novel, I am genuinely grateful that Proustitue has given us this rare circle.

Richard, I will put this inn on my "pilgrimage list," and think about the coincidences in our lives.


Ce Ce (CeCeBe) | 626 comments Karen wrote: "Phillida wrote: "Did anyone else find the scene in Albertine's hotel room funny, as I did?"

Yes!

Mind you, I'm constantly smirking at how spectacularly wrong the narrator gets these girls. There ..."


YES! The scene held tension, even suspense as the Narrator is caught in his own whirl of boyish emotion and reality...and then the dramatic bell pull.

I laughed...and recalled confusions & spectacular misreading of cues between girls and boys in my youth...generally followed by a sense of world ending mortification.


Ce Ce (CeCeBe) | 626 comments I was moved by the Narrator's childhood memory...inspired by the hawthorne bush (without flower late in its season)...bringing him (and us) full circle to Combray just as he is maturing and experiencing new life lessons at Balbec.

The flowerless bush evoked far-off Months of Mary, Sunday afternoons, of beliefs, of errors long since forgotten...just as the current months, afternoons, beliefs and errors of Balbec would one day fade.
------
The concluding pages captured so profoundly the closing days of summer, the melancholy of the chilled prelude to winter...the summer day was dead...Francoise, herself in the Fall or Winter of her life, unwinding "linen wrappings before displaying it, embalmed in its vesture of gold."

I envisioned those fleeting days of Indian Summer in the vesture of gold. Although the Narrator was describing what seemed the immutable daily morning ritual of his stay in Balbec...I felt the veil of seasons unfolding and evolving...as was the Narrator's life. It was in the last words hopeful, radiant...nearly a cliff hanger. Anticipatory. What next?
-----
Francoise pinning and unpinning of the velvet drapes that never quite covered the window had its own powerful image. Did anyone respond to that? Any thoughts?


Ce Ce (CeCeBe) | 626 comments Ce Ce wrote: "Francoise pinning and unpinning of the velvet drapes that never quite covered the window had its own powerful image. Did anyone respond to that? Any thoughts? "

Responding to myself...and thinking out loud!

At first the pinning and unpinning seemed provocative...as in a corset, a bodice, a dress. But then I thought of the purple velvet drapes (at first so violent and now grown familiar with time & habit) and the life lived outside the window so in contrast to the turbulent seas the Narrator imagined in Balbec. I'm thinking of theater...the band playing...life outside his window...meted out and revealed with his fragile health in mind...by dependable loyal pragmatic skilled Francoise.

Then I open "The Guermante's Way", read the first words...and it begins with Francoise.


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