by Dennis Abrams
Marcel’s father dreams of him becoming a diplomat, but Marcel doesn’t want a job that will take him to a city where Gilberte is not. M. de Norpoise assures Marcel’s father that contrary to what he thought, “it was perfectly possible for a writer to enjoy as much esteem, and to exercise as much influence, as any diplomat, while retaining more independence.” On hearing this, Marcel’s father gives his approval for Marcel to become a writer, and encourages him to write something to show M. de Norpois. Marcel finds himself unable to write anything, but cheers himself up with the thought of seeing La Berma, and compares it to “when I could step out of a gondolak, to stand in front of the titian in the Frari or the Carpaccios in San Giorgio degli Schiavoni. Marcel’s desire to see Le Berma in a classic play such as Phedre, a play he knows because “seeing her in a new play would make it difficult to appreciate her skill and diction, as I would be unable to distinguish between the unfamiliar text and all the intonations and gestures which, although she had added them, which seem to belong inseparably to it; where as the classical texts I knew by heart were like broad surfaces, already designated and prepared, awaiting only the fluent frescoes that La Berma would lavish upon them and the unconstrained appreciation which I would greet the inexhaustible felicities of her inspiration.”
I’ll have much to say about Phedre and La Berma in my Sunday evening post.
The Reading For the Rest of the Week:
Moncrieff: From “Alas, that first matinee…” through page 71, “…unknown life and home.”
Grieve: Page 17 “This first matinee was, alas…” through page 53 “…inside her known house and life.”
Have a great holiday everybody!