Davis: 286-300; Moncrieff: 392-410
by Dennis Abrams
Forcheville forces Saniette’s exile from the Verdurins’, much to Odette’s amusement. Swann surprises Odette with an afternoon visit, rings the bell, hears a noise, then footsteps, but no one answers the door. Returning in an hour, Odette answers the door, claiming to have been asleep, but Swann does not believe her. “Of course, he fully suspected at times that in themselves Odette’s daily actions were not passionately interesting, and that the relationships she might have with other men did not naturally, universally, and for every intelligent creature exhale a morbid sadness capable of infecting one with a feverish desire to commit suicide. He would then realize that this interest, this sadness, existed only in him like a disease, and that, once the disease was cured, Odette’s actions, the kisses she might have given would become once again as harmless as those of so many other women.” Despite this self-awareness, his jealousy continues to grow. While at Odette’s, he hears someone coming to the door and being turned away. Reading a letter to Forcheville that Odette had asked him to mail, he learns that it was Forcheville who he had heard when Odette had claimed she was asleep. The Verdurins’ invite Odette and Forcheville to a party at Chatou, but pointedly do not invite Swann, and convince Odette not to be driven home by Swann. Swann turns against the Verdurins’. “In fact, the life one led at the Verdurins’ and which he had so often called ‘real life’ seemed to him the worst of all, and their little clan the lowest of social circles. ‘It really is,’ he said, ‘the lowest thing on the social ladder, Dante’s last circle.'” “And at the Verdurins’, Swann was never mentioned again.”
It seems to me that the crucial idea here is Swann’s realization that his jealousy, his need to know Odette’s doings was like a disease, and that once it faded, so to would his interest in Odette, that, in effect, his jealousy allowed his love for her to continue.
Today’s Reading (UPDATED):
Davis: Page 300 “So the salon which had brought Swann and Odette together…” through Page 316 “…he decided to let some time pass without going to see her again.”
Moncrieff: Page 411 “And so that drawing-room which hade brought Swann and Odette together…” through 433 “…he decided to wait some time before going to see her again.”