by Dennis Abrams
Bedrooms. Balbec — real and imagined landscapes. “Yes indeed I certainly know Balbec! The church at Balbec, built in the twelfth and thirteen centuries, still half Romanesque, is perhaps the most curious example of our Norman Gothic, and so singular! It’s almost Persian in style.” Marcel’s vision of Balbec now contains history. The desire to watch a storm. Train timetables and the evocative sounds of names. A promise of a trip to Northern Italy. Names. “And when I thought of Florence, it was of a town miraculously fragrant and like the petals of a flower, because it was called the City of Lilies and its cathedral Saint-Mary-of-the-Flowers.” “….I would have realized that what I saw was not a town at all, but something as different from anything I knew, something as delightful, as might be, for a human race whose whole life had been spent in the late afternoons of winter, that unknown marvel: a spring morning. The idea of the cities becomes more solid, less abstract. Marcel becomes so excited at his father’s words “It must be quite cold, still, on the Grand Canal; you would do well to put your winter overcoat and your heavy jacket in your trunk just in case,” ‘At these words I was lifted into a kind of ecstasy; I felt myself to be truly making my way…’ that he becomes ill, and the trip is cancelled. Marcel begins making afternoon visits to the Champs-Elysees accompanied by Francoise, who is now in his family’s service after Aunt Leonie’s death.
I have to apologize — this posting is going to be short. In addition, the timing of my postings has been way off — I’m in Beijing on vacation — so I have gone back and given the specific day to go with the reading.
Davis: Page 410 “One cay, because I was bored in my usual spot…” through Page 420 “…by accompanying itself with a smile.”