One Year In Search of Lost Time ~ 2015 discussion

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Sodom and Gomorrah > Week VII ~ ending August 22nd

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message 1: by Teresa (new)

Teresa "I answered unwisely that he was mistaken, that the gentleman was no relation at all to the Guermantes but was called Fournier-Sarlovèze. The distinguished man turned his back on me and has never acknowledged me since" (~84.34).


message 2: by Simon (last edited Aug 21, 2015 11:31AM) (new)

Simon (sorcerer88) | 176 comments This week's part had a lot to catch the fancy: humour, musings on sleep, love and desires, and intimate scenes between Marcel and Albertine. I enjoyed it much more than the parts before, which i can also see from a much increased number of highlights and notes.

I hoped that maybe someone could help me understand this analogy:

The conversation of a woman that you love is like the earth covering a dangerous, subterranean lake; you are constantly aware of the presence, behind the words, of the penetrating cold of an invisible sheet of water; here and there it is to be seen oozing perfidiously out, but the lake itself remains hidden.

Proust, Marcel (2003-10-02). In Search of Lost Time: Sodom and Gomorrah: Sodom and Gomorrah Vol 4 (p. 412). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.


Is this a negative image, one of fear? We have "dangerous" and "penetrating cold" here. Is it the fear of rejection or cold-heartedness? Or is it awe of the deep mysterious soul you long for, but which is hidden under layers conversation can only peel away slowly or only to a degree even?

There seemed to me to be a lot of conflicting statements of Marcel's love for Albertine, perhaps not paradoxical but showing his ever-changing state of it, which i've collected here:
(view spoiler)

Oh and this seems to me (also) a picture of Proust, musing on and writing ISOLT in the last years of his life:

I, the strange human being who, while waiting for death to deliver him, lives behind closed shutters, knows nothing of the world, stays unmoving as an owl and, like an owl, can see with any clarity only in the dark.

Proust, Marcel (2003-10-02). In Search of Lost Time: Sodom and Gomorrah: Sodom and Gomorrah Vol 4 (p. 377). Penguin Books Ltd. Kindle Edition.



message 3: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Simon wrote: "This week's part had a lot to catch the fancy: humour, musings on sleep, love and desires, and intimate scenes between Marcel and Albertine. I enjoyed it much more than the parts before, which i ca..."

I loved this week's section, all of it.

I think the analogy you are speaking of has to do with danger, that the woman is not saying what she feels, perhaps only what she thinks he wants to hear, and that other thoughts and feelings are beneath her words. Sometimes he gets an inkling of her true feelings and thoughts, but not nearly enough, and they are not good at all, but deceitful and treacherous (based on the word 'perfidiously').

I noted that last quote and thought the same.


message 4: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Simon wrote: "Here i was asking myself: has he ceased loving her again? how many times now? and/or is this a retrospective?

I, who no longer felt jealousy nor scarcely any love for her, and gave no thought to what she might be doing on the days when I did not see her,"


I don't feel that this was retrospective, based on his talking about the days he didn't see her as ones in the past he is writing about.

But perhaps he is fooling himself as to it ever being love. Perhaps it's a love (infatuation) that only flares up when he feels jealousy.


message 5: by Simon (last edited Aug 21, 2015 12:39PM) (new)

Simon (sorcerer88) | 176 comments Thanks for your thoughts on the analogy, Teresa, very thoughtfully written, makes sense to me.

Yes, i think Marcel himself is aware that his love is at best unstable ("I would ... tell myself that we must be in love after all"), though he himself seems to elevate it above infatuation. Proust's view of romantic love on the whole seems that you can only keep it up by jealousy, fear of loss and especially by occasional separation (which is the conclusion of de Botton's book).

So since this "no longer felt jealousy nor scarcely any love for her" is the last thing (i found) Marcel says about Albertine, i guess after going back and forth that's where he's currently at after this week's section. Which is strange, because he was just infatuated with her for so long and they seemed to have quite intimate times recently.


message 6: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Simon wrote: "So since this "no longer felt jealousy nor scarcely any love for her" is the last thing (i found) Marcel says about Albertine, i guess after going back and forth that's where he's currently at after this week's section. Which is strange, because he was just infatuated with her for so long and they seemed to have quite intimate times recently."

I suppose we do have to wonder if these feelings are colored by what is to happen. How can anyone analyze their feelings to the extent he does, while looking back after so many years, and not have the 'future' affect them? Unless that person wants to be seen as blind in their love, and there's also an intimation of that, as when he says he had no idea of Albertine's relationship with Morel, which we haven't even heard about yet. And I thought he was going to say her relationship was with the chauffeur!


message 7: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 60 comments The moment where he first sees an aeroplane is powerfully described, and made me think about how much modern technology features in Proust. I failed to take in at first how modern the "motor car" is that he travels around in with Albertine, until another character commented on "that contraption"! We've also had descriptions of lifts and I think revolving doors and an escalator earlier on?


message 8: by Teresa (new)

Teresa Judy wrote: "The moment where he first sees an aeroplane is powerfully described, and made me think about how much modern technology features in Proust. I failed to take in at first how modern the "motor car" i..."

There's also the telephone. Earlier he writes of how rare its usage is and I believe his family is one of the first to get one, though they don't use it often. And then later he talks of how commonplace it's become, and how already it's taken for granted.


message 9: by Judy (new)

Judy (wwwgoodreadscomprofilejudyg) | 60 comments Oh yes, thanks Teresa, I'd forgotten the telephone and how he is summoned to take calls from his grandmother. I'm also wondering if films will turn up somewhere, after the magic lantern slides at the start.


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