The Year of Reading Proust discussion

The Guermantes Way (In Search of Lost Time, #3)
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The Guermantes Way, vol. 3 > Through Sunday, 16 June: The Guermantes Way

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message 1: by Jason (last edited Jan 04, 2013 08:22PM) (new) - added it

Jason (ancatdubh2) This thread is for the discussion that will take place through Sunday, 16 June of The Guermantes Way, to page 631 (to the paragraph beginning: “As for the Guermantes of the true flesh and blood...”)


message 2: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
Here is a sort of summary of the title of the whole work.

"Nous ne profitons guère de notre vie, nous laissons inachevées dans les crépuscules d'été ou les nuits précoces d'hiver les heures où ils nos avait semblé qu'eût pu pourtant être enfermé un peu de paix ou de plaisir. Mais ces heures ne sont pas absolument perdues."


message 3: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
Here is another sample of Proust's writing, and in particular of his refined use of pronouns:

"Elles ne m'étaient apparues ni chez lui ni chez la duchesse, quand je les avais vus d'abord chez leur tante, pas plus que je n'avais vu le premier jour les différences qui séparaient la Berma de ses camarades, encore que chez celle-ci les particularités fussent infiniment plus saisissantes que chez des gens du monde puisqu'elles deviennent non plus marquées au fur et à mesure que les objets sont plus réels, plus concevables à l'intelligence"


message 4: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
Article on Beethoven and his patron.. in reference to:

"...de même encore que Beethoven trouvait du plaisir à inscrire en tête d'une oeuvre préferée le nom chéri de l'archiduque Rodolphe".

http://www.classicfm.com/composers/be...


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

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
The painting is included in Karpeles's selection, but I am posting it here because it is an important painting.

The man with the top hat in the background is in reality Charles Ephrussi, one of the models for Charles Swann. In the forefront we have Gustave Caillebotte, both painter and patron.

From the novel:

"Je fus ému de retrouver dans deux tableaux (plus réalistes, ceux-là, et d'une manière antérieure) un même monsieur, une fois en frac dans son salon, une autre fois en veston et en chapeau haut de forme dans une fête populaire au bord de l'eau où il n'avait évidemment que faire..."




message 6: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
Just came back from the Pissarro exhibit at the Thyssen-Bornemisza and looked closely to the two paintings of the Faubourg St-Honoré. To my taste the most beautiful was the one from the Thyssen itself because it has some black for the carriages and men's coats.

While looking down the faubourg I kept looking at the façades trying to imagine the "Salons" going on inside the walls.




ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 1025 comments Kalliope, thanks for sharing all these paintings!


message 8: by Eugene (new)

Eugene | 479 comments By using multiple narrators, one young and as foolish as his fantasies about Mme de Stermaria are in last week's reading and one older but reflective as in the dissertation on friendship early on in this week's reading is, Proust has moved more freely making the distance between the learning Narrator and the learned Narrator wide, much wider than in Contre Sainte-Beuve where his narrative techniques are still narrow and tentative, letting one Narrator be more foolish and the other much wiser. We of course, identify with the wiser having known what being young and foolish were like. A stroke of slow genius.


message 9: by Eugene (new)

Eugene | 479 comments Marcel Proust wrote: ...all these people stimulated by the comfort of the restaurant after their long wanderings across the ocean of fog... ML p. 557

In the four Winters and one Summer that I lived in Paris, never once do I recall, did I see fog. I can't say that of San Francisco however.


message 10: by Eugene (last edited Jun 10, 2013 07:09PM) (new)

Eugene | 479 comments Marcel Proust wrote: I looked at Saint-Loup, and I said to myself that it is a thing to be glad of when there is no lack of physical grace to serve as vestibule to the graces within, and when the curves of the nostrils are as delicate and as perfectly designed as the wings of the little butterflies that hover over the field-flowers round Combray; and that the true opus franci-genum, the secret of which was not lost in the thirteenth century, and would not perish with our churches, consists not so much in the stone angels of Saint-André-des-Champs as in the young sons of France, noble, bourgeois or peasant, whose faces are carved with that delicacy and boldness which have remained as traditional as on the famous porch, but are creative still. ML p. 561

He says it better than I, but I found the French beautiful, as beautiful as I find this sentence, the women, the men and particularly the children. Proust goes from the "physical grace", of which I speak, to the "graces within", to delicate nostrils, to butterflies, to field flowers, to Combray, to French churches, to stone angels, to opus franci-genum and back again to the French people "...noble, bourgeois or peasant, whose faces are carved with that delicacy and boldness..."


message 11: by Eugene (last edited Jun 10, 2013 08:12PM) (new)

Eugene | 479 comments Listening to Johann Sebastian Bach: English Suite #3 In G Minor, BWV 808 - Saraband András Schiff as I read Marcel Proust.


message 12: by Marcelita (last edited Jun 10, 2013 10:11PM) (new)

Marcelita Swann | 1135 comments Eugene wrote: "Marcel Proust wrote: I looked at Saint-Loup, and I said to myself that it is a thing to be glad of when there is no lack of physical grace to serve as vestibule to the graces within, and when the c..."

Here is some research....
Saint-Loup-de-Naud Church: One of the models for the church of Saint-Andres-des-Champs.
http://mappinggothic.org/building/1226

According to Carter, Saint-Loup-de-Naud was one of the oldest churches (Paris region), started as a Benedictine priory in the eleventh century.
"How French that church was!" MP
Video tour, in French: www.youtube.com/watch?v=wONg7iiCQ68

"In the spring of 1903, Henraux was among a small group of friends who accompanied Proust on a tour of three medieval cities southeast of Paris, including Saint-Loup-de-Naud, from which Proust borrowed the name for the character of Robert de Saint-Loup in 'A la recherche du temps perdu.' (See Carter, Marcel Proust, p 335.) "
http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20009...


message 13: by Eugene (last edited Jun 10, 2013 08:55PM) (new)

Eugene | 479 comments Marcelita wrote: "In the spring of 1903...Proust on a tour of three medieval cities southeast of Paris, including Saint-Loup-de-Naud, from which Proust borrowed the name for the character of Robert de Saint-Loup in 'A la recherche du temps perdu'"

Merci Marcelita...


message 14: by Marcelita (last edited Jun 11, 2013 08:53AM) (new)

Marcelita Swann | 1135 comments Eugene wrote: "Marcel Proust wrote: ...all these people stimulated by the comfort of the restaurant after their long wanderings across the ocean of fog... ML p. 557

In the four Winters and one Summer that I live..."


Having spent many unbearable summers and a couple of blossoming springs, but sadly no falls with "drifting leaves, " I do fondly remember our 40th Anniversary in a foggy, wintery Paris. Sinatra was there too... "when it drizzles."

""...the almost total darkness, in which the fog seemed to have extinguished the lamps, which one could make out, glimmering very faintly, only when close at hand, took me back to a dimly remembered arrival by night at Combray, when the streets there were still lighted only at distant intervals and one groped one's way through a moist, warm, hallowed crib-like darkness in which there flickered here and there a dim light that shone no brighter than a candle." MP (p 544)

Source: flickr.com




message 15: by Marcelita (last edited Jun 11, 2013 09:03AM) (new)

Marcelita Swann | 1135 comments Another missed opportunity for our young writer/narrator.
Continuing from the quote above...

"Between that year--to which in any case I could ascribe no precise date--of my Combray life and evenings at Rivebelle which had, an hour earlier, been reflected above my drawn curtains, what a world of differences!
"I felt on perceiving them an enthusiasm which might have borne fruit had I remained alone and would thus have saved me the detour of many wasted years through which I was yet to pass before the invisible vocation of which this book is the history declared itself." MP (p 544)

And then, the brilliant passages on memory and "two separate universes" continue through page 545.


message 16: by Eugene (new)

Eugene | 479 comments Marcelita quotes Proust: ...which I was yet to pass before the invisible vocation of which this book is the history declared itself.

This passage is ammunition for those who advocate that ISOLT is the book the Narrator writes wanting to become a writer as detailed in his several attempts and failures in previous volumes.


message 17: by Eugene (last edited Jun 11, 2013 12:45PM) (new)

Eugene | 479 comments I'm into uncharted territory as my previous knowledge of ISOLT came from Neville Jason's abridgment of volumes 3-7 where he reduced by ~4/5 his reading time, so about 80% of what's left is new to me.

Friendship:

The question I have is answered by the assumption that who the Narrator--why he is almost revered by Saint Loup and other people--is stated to the reader by the Narrator's thoughts and actions as written by Proust and exposed to other characters, however rarely is this shown in direct conversation.

We readers know more of the Narrator than his friend Saint Loup does, we know of his fantasies of Mme de Stermaria for example and Robert doesn't, but Robert knows (we assume) why he considers the Narrator a friend and the reader is uncertain.

There is a texture of knowing and unknowing, of truth and untruth as far as Charlus is concerned; it is a texture of partial understandings, or one might say, of irony.

The section through the restaurant with the fog outside bears a rereading.


message 18: by Eugene (last edited Jun 11, 2013 08:51PM) (new)

Eugene | 479 comments (F)riendship,

the whole effort of which is directed towards making us sacrifice the only part of ourselves that is real and incommunicable (otherwise than by means of art
[ideas]) to a superficial self... ML p. 540

...had I remained alone (with these ideas) and would thus have saved me the detour of many wasted years through which I was yet to pass before the invisible vocation of which this book is the history declared itself. ML p. 544

But Robert, having finished giving his instructions to the driver, now joined me in the carriage. The ideas that had appeared before me took flight. They are goddesses who deign at times to make themselves visible to a solitary mortal, at a turning in the road, even in his bedroom while he sleeps, when, standing framed in the doorway, they bring him their annunciation. But as soon as a companion joins him they vanish; in the society of his fellows no man has ever beheld them. And I found myself thrown back upon friendship. ML p. 544

The Narrator sacrifices goddesses for friendship; he values Saint Loup with certain misgivings: I despise the paraphrase less than the interpretation. Friendship for him is like getting drunk together.


message 19: by Marcelita (last edited Jun 12, 2013 07:04AM) (new)

Marcelita Swann | 1135 comments Oh Eugene, this image came to find after reading your selected passage:

"They are goddesses who deign at times to make themselves visible to a solitary mortal, at a turning in the road, even in his bedroom while he sleeps, when, standing framed in the doorway, they bring him their annunciation." MP

The goddesses (angels), the solitary mortal, the doorway, the annunciation and...the slanted light.
The Annunciation by France Angelico (Prada Museum)




message 20: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 365 comments Eugene...I know this passage about friendship sounds cold and shallow. But think about it. Think of how invaluable solitude is, both for the religious, and for the artist. Its price cannot be told. I think that's what he's saying...


message 21: by Eugene (new)

Eugene | 479 comments That Fra Angelico makes me shiver, thank you Marcelita.


message 22: by Eugene (new)

Eugene | 479 comments Elisabeth wrote: Think of how invaluable solitude is, both for the religious, and for the artist.

Yes, the passage is far from "shallow"; it is about sacrificing the the "real and incommunicable" to something that must be near it's equal: friendship, and that price is dear.


message 23: by Eugene (last edited Jun 12, 2013 09:41AM) (new)

Eugene | 479 comments @Elizabeth

Being sober, not the modern opposite of drunk, was used in ancient times to describe people who were without God, who were not enTHused (TH=theos); and is it a coincidence that liquors are called spirits.


message 24: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (last edited Jun 12, 2013 11:05AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
There are many operatic references in this section...

We have:

".. la musique de Lindor tire Barholo de son sommeil", from The Barber of Seville..

then

"qui introduit tout à coup Parsifal au milieu des filles fleurs"

and the most interesting, comparing Daniel-François-Esprit Auber, with his popular Les Diamants de la Couronne with Richard Strauss's Salome:

".....émerveillées avec raison par l'éblouiement coloris orchestral de Richard Strauss, elles voient ce musicien accueillir avec une indulgence digne d'Auber les motifs les plus vulgaires , ce que ces personnes aiment trouve soudain dans une autorité si haute une justification qui les ravit et elles s'enchantent sans scrupules et avec une double gratitude, en écoutant Salomé, de ce qu'il leur était interdit d'aimer dans Les Diamants de la Couronne".

Here is Karita Mattila in the Salome I last watched at the Met. The end scene, not the Dance of Seven Veils.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CJsvPO...

And one excerpt from the Diamants:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Y8KNc...


message 25: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
I posted this earlier somewhere, but Proust had a théatrôphone installed in his room...

Here is one:




message 26: by Martin (new)

Martin Gibbs | 105 comments Still finishing up this week, but after starting the Carter bio, I found it interesting that the Narrator mentions Montesquiou by name. Though in a different context, I did smile at that.


message 27: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
Martin wrote: "Still finishing up this week, but after starting the Carter bio, I found it interesting that the Narrator mentions Montesquiou by name. Though in a different context, I did smile at that."

I really enjoyed the Carter bio. I hope you like it too.


message 28: by Eugene (last edited Jun 13, 2013 06:06AM) (new)

Eugene | 479 comments Friendship

And I was well aware, too, that it was not merely a work of art that I was admiring in this young man unfolding along the wall the frieze of his flying course; the young prince (a descendant of Catherine de Foix, Queen of Navarre and grand-daughter of Charles VII) whom he had just left for my sake, the endowments of birth and fortune which he was laying at my feet, the proud and shapely ancestors who survived in the assurance, the agility and the courtesy with which he had arranged about my shivering body the warm woolen cloak—were not ail these like friends of longer standing in his life, by whom I might have expected that we should be permanently kept apart, and whom, on the contrary, he was sacrificing to me by a choice that can be made only in the loftiest places of the mind, with that sovereign liberty of which Robert's movements were the image and the symbol and in which perfect friendship is enshrined? ML p. 568

What a compliment.


message 29: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
The pervasive imagery of le brouillard and la brume, that go so well with Debussy's Brouillard,... recall that other famous fog in Literature.... Bleak House with which the novel begins.

Such different roles in their respective novels, though.


message 30: by Eugene (new)

Eugene | 479 comments I liken Proust's writing in ISOLT to Cezanne's painting of still life

http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-osFViv4hS9M...

Particularly, the multiple view points, chosen by the painter, in the paintings and how they equate with the differing voices of narration in the writing.


message 31: by Eugene (new)

Eugene | 479 comments Friendship, on its fleeting experience

...we are going to exist solely for him, to make vows of friendship which, born within the confines of the hour, remaining imprisoned in it, will perhaps not be kept on the morrow but which I need have no scruple in making to Saint-Loup since, with a courage that enshrined a great deal of common sense and the presentiment that friendship cannot be very deeply probed, on the morrow he would be gone. ML p. 543


message 32: by Eugene (last edited Jun 13, 2013 07:41AM) (new)

Eugene | 479 comments The Narrator has learned, he can see beauty in the "vulgar" looking at an Elstir at the Duc's; he is different from before his first encounter with Elstir in his studio in volume two, but we have seen Proust beautifully 'paint' the vulgar in his writing to describe someone who wants to write; how will the writer-to-be accomplish that. Everything is normal and yet nothing is. Elstir may be a Fauve, but Proust renders like Cézanne.

"The slightly vulgar lady whom a man of discernment wouldn't bother to look at as he passed her by, whom he would exclude from the poetical composition which nature has set before him—she is beautiful too; her dress is receiving the same light as the sail of that boat, everything is equally precious; the commonplace dress and the sail that is beautiful in itself are two mirrors reflecting the same image; their virtue is all in the painter's eye." ML p. 576

Reader response theory: the viewer's eye.


message 33: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 365 comments After the Narrator has shown Saint-Loup as a devoted friend, he has Saint-Loup himself prove what a sham friendship is, with his horrible remark about (paraphrase here) "I told Bloch you thought he was vulgar. I just like to have everything out in the open." The Narrator is amazed and cannot figure out why Saint-Loup has done these two awful things: telling Bloch such an unpleasant piece of gossip, and telling the Narrator he did so in a completely un-apologetic way. The Narrator is amazed, but we should not be. He has proven his statement about the illusory (not to say useless) nature of friendship.


message 34: by Eugene (new)

Eugene | 479 comments @Elizabeth

A person can feel what "a sham friendship is" as proven by what Robert tells the Narrator about what he said to Bloch, but they must also say what Proust says about friendship, among many other pertinent thoughts of the Narrator, "...(it is) sacrificing to me by a choice that can be made only in the loftiest places of the mind, with that sovereign liberty of which Robert's movements were the image and the symbol and in which perfect friendship is enshrined..."

Proust renders Robert more real by an antithesis of character that we ourselves find in our everyday lives looking at our friends and families; along with Robert's caring and respect for the Narrator, we have his opposites: his many derogatory statements about the aristocracy (his parentage), his foolish love of a whore, his physical attack on a journalist at the theatre and his pummeling of a man outside it and then we have him telling the Narrator about what he said to Bloch...notice that the Narrator does not dispute Robert's verity.

Proust is of at least two minds on friendship, that we need it and we don't, and that it's costly but valuable.


message 35: by Eugene (new)

Eugene | 479 comments Also, I've never understood how Bloch ingratiated himself with Robert (Proust doesn't say) when he'd insulted his uncle Charlus after the Bloch family dinner. Robert was vexed to say the least but later relations between Robert and Bloch appear normal...

Was the story about telling Bloch what the Narrator thought of him an overdue payback and the Narrator collateral damage? We don't know, but perhaps friends can have human frailties and be truthful too.

I may have related this here before, but a friend of mine once said, "You like your friends for their faults."


message 36: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (goodreadscompatricia2) | 370 comments Kalliope wrote: "The painting is included in Karpeles's selection, but I am posting it here because it is an important painting.

The man with the top hat in the background is in reality Charles Ephrussi, one of th..."


Then the Ephrussi man belongs to the same family pictured in The Hare With The Amber Eyes.How everything connects!
I am so happy with this forum because I can learn a lot and that is to me is not easy as I live so far away and imports of all sorts are difficult to come by.
Now I am in Florida so i'll try to buy several books i' ve been wanting to read. Barnes&Noble here I go!I feel like a child turned loose in a candy store.


message 37: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (goodreadscompatricia2) | 370 comments Eugene wrote: "Marcel Proust wrote: I looked at Saint-Loup, and I said to myself that it is a thing to be glad of when there is no lack of physical grace to serve as vestibule to the graces within, and when the c..."

It might be the romantic streak in me -see my picture- but i think the N is a bit in love with saint-Loup.I'd be


message 38: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
Patricia wrote: "Kalliope wrote: "The painting is included in Karpeles's selection, but I am posting it here because it is an important painting.

The man with the top hat in the background is in reality Charles Ep..."


Yes, Patricia..it is the Ephrussi from the book Hare with Amber eyes

Disfruta en Florida y compra muchos libros...!


message 39: by Patricia (new)

Patricia (goodreadscompatricia2) | 370 comments A dear friend of mine,Derek, died today after a long illness he faced with dignity like the English gentleman he was,so I take to heart all that has been said in these former posts about friendship and cannot but agree with most I am not in my country at present so I won't be able to give him the last "See you later",as I no doubt will meet him again in a mountain skiing like when we met aeons ago.


message 40: by Eugene (new)

Eugene | 479 comments Patricia wrote: It might be the romantic streak in me -see my picture- but i think the N is a bit in love with Saint-Loup.

Who else is to love in the story with the demise of grandmother, Bloch?

We love Saint-Loup because he's well bred, well educated, rich, from an aristocratic family, intellectual, cultured, compassionate, individual and so unpredictable. He interests us. The Narrator practically swoons in the crowed dining room watching him "..it was not merely a work of art that I was admiring in this young man unfolding along the wall the frieze of his flying course..."


message 41: by Eugene (new)

Eugene | 479 comments @Anyone

When did people stop bowing to one another, WWI or before?


message 42: by Eugene (new)

Eugene | 479 comments Marcel Proust writes intriguingly: Later on, I realized that the Guermantes did indeed regard me as being of a different breed, but one that aroused their envy because I possessed merits unknown to myself which they professed to prize above all others. Later still I came to feel that this profession of faith was only half sincere and that in them scorn or amazement could coexist with admiration and envy. ML p. 601

My interest is piqued: the "merits unknown to myself", I await the amalgam of "scorn or amazement" and "admiration and envy".


message 43: by Elizabeth (last edited Jun 14, 2013 03:56AM) (new)

Elizabeth | 365 comments Eugene: I'm not sure about that, but look at your family photos. After WW I, people began to grin and smile (and this was not wholly due to technological advancements in photography, either). Or, as my history prof in college said, when we were beginning to study WW I: "World War I was the death of Western Civilization." Someone timidly raised her hand and said, "Uh...what about everything that's happened since." And he said: "Those have been its death throes." I didn't understand then. Sure do now.
Back to the family photos: the friend who pointed this out to me had them saying, "We're not serious, folks!" Whereas before people took themselves seriously, and with dignity.


message 44: by Eugene (new)

Eugene | 479 comments Thank you, Elizabeth.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bowing

Bowing in Europe

...The depth of the bow was related to the difference in rank or degree of respect or gratitude. In Early Modern European courtly circles, males were expected to "bow and scrape" (hence the term "bowing and scraping" for what appears to be excessive ceremony). "Scraping" refers to the drawing back of the right leg as one bows, such that the right foot scrapes the floor or earth. Typically, while executing such a bow, the man's left hand is pressed horizontally across the abdomen while the right is held out from the body.

Social bowing is all but extinct, except in some very formal settings...



message 45: by Elizabeth (new)

Elizabeth | 365 comments Many, many, many years ago, I was about 14, and my dad and I were horse shopping...one day we drove for hours and hours. We might have been up in Kentucky or Tennessee...we got to a huge, elaborate stable that was high in the mountains, with an incredible vista. My dad did not ask to ride one of the horses (or have me ride) as he did at other stables. We just looked. Quite a few of the horses had cats in the stalls with them. There was an old fat man, very fat, sitting in a lawn chair in the sun outside the stable door. He greeted us, but I was told to keep my distance, and to bow. And I'm a girl! Who was it? This question has bothered me for years...and, obviously, there is no one left who can tell me. But it was obviously a "formal setting."


message 46: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
I started recently to read the Mémoirs written by Gautier-Vignal, a friend of Proust who shared with him the war years. Neither of the two were conscripted and many others were away. They are fascinating. I will be posting parts in the Lounge and also in the Music section.

G-V came from a wealthy family from Nice, was friend of the Daudets and of Roland Garros (that is why Proust was interested in him). He was a littérateur and a musicologist. Spoke several languages and had lived in Germany for a while (which also interested Proust).

Anyway, relevant for these sections, in which there is so much social dialogue, he writes about the way Proust behaved in conversations.

Proust aimait à échanger des idées. Mais il cherchait ausi à obtenir les renseignements dont il avait besoin pour son oeuvre. Il aimait la conversation. Il la recherchait. Il retenait chez lui les amis qui l'intéressaient et il aimait à poursuivre avec eux d'interminables entretiens.


message 47: by Kalliope, Priestess of Proust (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kalliope | 2929 comments Mod
And later.. on Proust's own attitude to conversation and quoting Proust directly:

Seul, je sentais affluer du fond de moi, quelqu'une de ces impressions qui me donnaient un bien-être délicieux, mais dès que j'étais avec quelqu'un, dès que je parlais à un ami, mon esprit faisait volte-face, c'était vers cet interlocuteur et non vers moi-même qu'il dirigeait ses pensées et quand elles suivaient ce sens inverse, elles ne me procuraient aucun plaisir...

How closely he observed people...!!!


message 48: by Eugene (new)

Eugene | 479 comments We find more about Mme de Villeparisis, perhaps why her salon was not of the highest rank, in Proust's dissertation on Oriane and the workings of the Guermantes family.

...Mme de Villeparisis, namely that nobility does not count, that it is ridiculous to bother one's head about rank, that money doesn't bring happiness, that intellect, heart, talent are alone of importance...

...Mme de Villeparisis was at that time going through an awkward crisis from the social point of view...she professed an intense horror of the society which thus excluded her.
ML p. 615

There is a texture of knowing and unknowing here that Proust plays with in the sense that he could have told us earlier the facts of the Marquise's thought but chose not to, for one reason or another.


ReemK10 (Paper Pills) | 1025 comments In the late afternoon, I sat outside in the garden trying to catch up on my reading when I came across this passage that made me stop, and think.

Speaking of Elstir's paintings, he speaks of how one could tell" with an exactitude which told one more than the hour, told one to the very minute what time of day it was, thanks to the precise angle of the setting sun and the fleeting fidelity of the shadows.
In this way the artist had managed, by making it instantaneous, to give a sort of lived historical reality to the fable, painted it and related it in the past tense.* (MKE 578)

Of course I flipped to the addenda where I read the passage that continues the thought.

" It pushed back through endless time the unfurling of the waves which I had seen at Balbec. I said to myself: that sunset, that ocean which I can contemplate once again, whenever I wish, from the hotel or from the cliff, those identical waves, constitute a setting analgous, especially in the summer when the light orientalises it, to that in which Hercules killed the Hydra of Lerna, in which Orpheus was torn to pieces by the Bachhantes."

He then goes on to say that" it was by the alien elements I introduced into it that it was of today, it was only because I adjusted it to the hour of my quotidian vison that I found a familiar echo in the melancholy murmur which Theseus heard." (MKE 827)

I thought this so profound and the narrator so sincere, and it made me realize how our lives are so fleeting, and how I was sitting there of today, adjusted to my being there and that this angle of the sun would be repeated exactly the same and that someone else would be making the day theirs.

I also thought that the lesson" Remember that if God has caused you to be born on the steps of a throne you ought to make that a reason....(MKE 585) reads as a desiderata for the rich and famous.

The section( 591-592) on the nicknames and how they're created was just delightful! "Quiou in order not to waste the precious time that it would have taken them to pronounce "Montesquiou" and saying "Petite" and "Mignon" for the two fat ladies was just too funny. Adding the "a to the surname or the Christian name of the husband to designate the wife." Made me think of how we do the exact same.

Okay, I was thinking aloud, back to my reading.


message 50: by Jack (new)

Jack Curtis Eugene wrote: "Marcel Proust writes intriguingly: merits unk..."

My interest is piqued: the "merits unknown to myself", I await the amalgam of "scorn or amazement" and "admiration and envy".


I'd day he has in mind his as yet unrealized artistic aspirations, & is hoping they're perceptive enough to see that his dreams will come true.


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