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Archive for February, 2010

Moncrieff:  692-710; Grieve:  505-518

by Dennis Abrams

Marcel makes a show of preferring Andree to Albertine.  “I arranged in this way to have her entirely to myself every evening, not with the intention of making Albertine jealous, but of enhancing my prestige in her eyes, or at any rate not imperiling it by letting Albertine know that it was herself and not Andree that I loved.”   Marcel feigns indifference in meeting Mme Bontemps, Albertine’s aunt, although he secretly asks Eltsir to introduce them.  Andree’s knowledge that Marcel loves Albertine, and her unhappiness at that fact.  Albertine tells Marcel that she’ll be spending the night in the Grand Hotel alone, “…and in fact as I’ve got a bit of a cold I shall be going to bed before dinner.  You can come and sit by my bed and watch me eat if you like, and afterwards we’ll play at anything you choose…”  Marcel’s excitement at coming to Albertine’s room, “Then suddenly I reflected that I was wrong to be in any doubt; she had told me to come when she was in bed.”  But, when Marcel makes his move, “Stop it or I’ll ring the bell!’ cried Albertine, seeing that I was flinging myself upon her to kiss her.  But I told myself that not for nothing does a girl invite a young man to her room in secret,arranging that her aunt should not know…Albertine’s round face, lit by an inner flame as a night-light, stood out in such relief that, imitating the rotation of a glowing sphere, it seemed to me to be turning, like those Michelangelo figures which are being swept away in a stationary and vertiginous whirlwind.  I was about to discover the fragrance, the flavour which this strange fruit concealed.  I heard a sound, abrupt, prolonged and shrill.  Albertine had pulled the bell with all her might.”  One week later Albertine tells Marcel “I forgive you; in fact, I’m sorry to have upset you, but you must never do it again.”  With that, Marcel abandons hope of being loved by her, and decides to transfer his feelings to one of Albertine’s friends, perhaps Andree first of all.  We learn that Albertine spends a few weeks every year with the family of one of the Governors of the Bank of France, who was also Chairman of the Board of Directors of a railway company — this fact impresses Andree’s mother to no end, as well as the other middle-class social climbing families of their circle.  Albertine finds herself popular beyond her wishes, and attempts to please others while at the same time winning favor for herself.  In this way she’s very similar to Norpois, “And often at the Ministry he would make use of my father, who was a simple soul, while making him believe that it was he, M. de Norpois, who was being useful to my father.”

—–

1.  The comedy of the kiss.  For Marcel, once again, disaster.  Who is misreading who?  Is Albertine leading Marcel on?

2.  And again, on the topic of misreading.  I was struck by Octave’s statement explaining why Mme De Villeparisis complained that someone hit her in the face during a game of diabolo while Mme de Cambremer did not:  “I’ll explain the difference, replied Octave gravely, striking a match as he spoke.  “It’s my belief that Mme de Cambremer is a society lady, and Mme de Villeparisis is just an upstart.”  Mme de Villeparisis, a true aristocrat, an upstart, while Mme de Cambremer, Legrandin’s sister, who while seeming to be “somebody” in Balbec is a nobody in Paris, is a “society lady.”  Appearances, appearances, appearances.

3.  And finally, the events in Berkeley on the 24th, Eric Karpeles’ talk on “Proust, Paintings, and the Making of A la recherche du temps perdu,” in which he brilliantly showed to a standing room only crowd, in words and pictures, how Proust transformed his visual experiences into words;  followed by a concert of the music that inspired Vinteuil’s sonata;  followed by a “Proustian” inspired dinner (and an inspired dinner it was) at Chez Panisse, was an evening to remember.  And, it was great meeting and spending time with Robin and Judy — two of our more prolific posters.  Thank you both for being there, and for helping to make The Cork Lined Room an ongoing discussion of Proust.

The Weekend’s Reading:

The same for both translations:  This weekend, we finish reading Within a Budding Grove, and on Monday we’ll start Volume Three, The Guermantes Way.  I promise that this is a volume to treasure:  drama, witty dialogue, and parties galore.

Enjoy the rest of Within a Budding Grove.  And enjoy your weekend.

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Moncrieff:  680-692; Grieve:  496-505

by Dennis Abrams

Marcel plays a game of “ferret” (also called “hunt the slipper,” or, in the Grieve translation, “ring-on-a-string.”) with the band of girls and others.  Marcel’s fascination with Andree’s hands and then Albertine’s hands.  “The act of pressing Albertine’s hand had a sensual sweetness which was in keeping with the pink, almost mauve colouring of her skin.  This pressure seemed to allow you to penetrate into the girl’s being, to plumb the depths of her senses, like the ringing of her laughter, indecent in the way that the cooing of doves or certain animal cries can be…If the arbitrary code of good manners had replaced the hand-shake by some other gesture, I should have gazed, day after day, at the untouchable hands of Albertine with a curiosity to know the feel of them as ardent as was my curiosity to learn the savour of her cheeks.”  While Marcel contemplates and observes Albertine, certain that she’s taking advantage of the game to let him know she likes him, he spoils the game, angering her.  “People shouldn’t play if they won’t pay attention and spoil the game for others.  We shan’t ask him again when we’re going to play, Andree, or else I shan’t come.”  Andree, to console Marcel, takes him for a walk to the Creuniers, the scene that Elstir had painted.  Along the way, the hawthornes that the two walk through stir a childhood memory in Marcel.  Andree’s kindness to Albertine, and to Marcel.  Marcel works to make certain that Albertine doesn’t know he loves her.  “For one thing, the avowal, the declaration of my passion to her whom I loved no longer seemed to be one of the vital and necessary stages of love, nor love itself an external reality, but simply a subjective pleasure.  And I felt that Albertine would do what was necessary to sustain that pleasure all the more readily if she did not know that I was experiencing it.”

An excerpt from a marvelous book I’m reading, The Proustian Community by Seth L. Wolitz

“Having known his first love in Paris, Marcel sets out for his first fabled city, Balbec, which he will visit twice in his career.  Balbec wil disappoint him, for whoever has been to a French resort bordering the English Channel knows how tame the area appears.  Just as the steeple of Combray attracted Marcel, so the first thing he must see in Balbec is the Persian church — and it is no Taj Mahal.  External reality continues to erode the dream.

Marcel finally settles in the Grand Hotel of Balbec.  This hotel parallels Aunt Leonie’s house as a symbol.  Marcel’s life is spent coming and going from it, and the building serves as the social center of the resort.  It contains every level of society, each member of which is trying either to climb or to fend off an arriviste.  The building’s very location is symbolic — like Balbec it is on the shore, where land meets sea as well as where bourgeoisie and aristocracy merge.  Here Marcel meets Mme de Villeparisis and Saint-Loup.  In Balbec Marcel enters into his first real love affair with Albertine and makes his first attempt at social climbing.  But the trip to Balbec offers a third alternative:  Art.  The visit to the studio and home of Elstir is one of the great moments in the book.  In Elstir’s painting of Carquethuit Marcel learns how mistaken his view of life had been until then.  There are no distinct separate worlds but a blending of elements into a totality:  ‘no fixed boundary between earth and ocean.’

The rides into the country in Mlle de Villeparisis’ carriage extend the limits of the geographical world for Marcel.  Proust also develops an interesting parallel between this carriage ride, with the sudden memory evoked by the three trees, and the ride in Dr. Percepied’s carriage, when Marcel saw the steeples.  He saw both at the extreme outskirts of the little worlds of Combray and Balbec, and both memories revealed to Marcel that seemingly distinct worlds can be combined into one.  Proust had Marcel experience the two memories at the frontiers of these two worlds to symbolize the greater world which he must yet discover within himself.”

I’ll be in Berkeley on Wednesday the 24th, returning home to Houston on the 25th, so my next post won’t be until Thursday night/Friday morning.

Wednesday and Thursday’s Reading:

Moncrieff:  Page 692 “In the week the followed…” through Page 710 “…who was being useful to my father.”

Grieve:  Page 505 “Throughout the following week…” through Page 518 “…while letting him think he was being of use to him.”

Enjoy.

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Moncrieff:  669-680; Grieve:  489-496

by Dennis Abrams

Albertine gets a pencil from Andree, a piece of paper from Rosamunde, and writes Marcel a brief note:  “I like you.”  Albertine praises Gisele’s examination essay on the theme “Sophocles, from the Shades, writes to Racine to console him for the failure of Athalie.”  Andree patiently explains to Albertine what she would do differently in the essay, but all Marcel can think about is the fact that Albertine likes him.  Marcel has all the signs that are characteristic of being in love, yet, “Such for me was this state of love divided among several girls at once.  Divided, or rather undivided, for more often than not what was so delicious…was rather the whole of the group of girls, taken as they were all together on those afternoons on the cliffs, during those wind-swept hours, upon the strip of grass on which were laid those forms, so exciting to my imagination, of Albertine, of Rosemonde, of Andree; and that without my being able to say which of them it was that made those scenes so precious to me, which of them I most wanted to love.”  Marcel’s perception of the girls is not yet dulled by familiarity.  “No doubt this astonishment is to some extent due to the fact that the other person on such occasion presents some new fact; but so great is the multiformity of each individual, so abundant the wealth of lines of face and body, so few of which leave any trace…”  “And this inevitable astonishment is not the only one; for side by side with it comes another, born of the difference, not now between the stylisations of memory and the reality, but between the person whom we saw last time and the one who appears to us to day from another angle and shows us a new aspect.”  The faultiness of memory.

—-

1.  To continue Proust’s examination of memory, I was struck by this passage:

“But to a great extent our astonishment springs from the fact that the person presents to us also a face that is the same as before.  It would require so immense an effort to reconstruct everything that has been imparted to us by things other than ourselves — were it only the taste of a fruit — that no sooner is the impression received than we begin imperceptibly to descend the slope of memory and, without realising it, in a very short time we have come a long way from what we actually felt.  So, that every fresh glimpse is a sort of rectification, which brings us back to what we in fact saw.   Already we no longer had any recollection of it, to such an extent does what we call remembering a person consist really in forgetting him.”

I suspect Proust is on to something here.  (Of course, I’m of the mind that Proust is nearly on to something whatever he is talking about.)  Try this.  Picture in your mind’s eye someone close to you, someone you love, maybe even your partner or someone you live with.  Really try to picture them in great detail.  How complete a picture is it?  If you’re like me, even picturing my partner, the picture is rather vague, changing…nebulous.  But when you see them again in person, the outlines, the shadows are filled in.

—-

And a question for the group.  Proust devotes several pages to Albertine and Andree’s analysis of Gisele’s exam report.  I’m sure there’s some larger purpose here (besides having the opportunity to get a little dig in at the critic Saint-Beuve), but for the life of me, I’m just not seeing it.   Any takers?

—-

Tuesday’s Reading

Moncrieff:  Page 680 “As for the harmonious cohesion…” through page 692 “…rich in expected surprises, which is romance.”

Grieve:  Page 496 “The various waves of feeling…” through Page 505 “…which is romantic readiness.”

Enjoy.

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Moncrieff:  636-669; Grieve:  464-489

by Dennis Abrams

Marcel asks Andree if he can see her again the next day, but she lies and says she had to stay with her sick mother.  “Although this falsehood was of no real significance since Andree knew me so slightly, I ought not to have continued to seek the company of a person who was capable of it.   For what people have once done they will go on doing indefinitely…”  Albertine is compared to Giotto’s “Idolatry.”  Marcel meets Gisele, the girl “whose expression I had thought so cruel when I heard her say:  ‘Poor old boy, I do feel sorry for him,'”  Based on her handshake, smile, and confiding eyes, Marcel makes plans to run away with Gisele.  “And yet, what would she have thought of me had she known that I had hesitated for a long time between her and her friends, that quite as much as with her I had contemplated falling in love with Albertine, with the girl with the bright eyes, with Rosemonde.”  Marcel meets the rest of the girls, and began to spend all of his time with them.  Watching the girls, Marcel gets hints of what is to come.  “Alas!  in the freshest flower it is possible to discern those just perceptible signs which to the instructed mind already betray what will, by the desiccation or fruitification of the flesh that is today in bloom, be the ultimate form, immutable and already predestined, of the autumnal seed…Human faces seem not to change while we are looking at them, because the revolution they perform is too slow for us to perceive it.  But one had only to see, by the side of any of these girls, her mother or her aunt, to realize the distance over which, obeying the internal gravitation of a type that was generally frightful, these features would have traveled in less than thirty years, until the hour when the looks have begun to wane, until the hour when the face, having sunk altogether below the horizon, catches the light no more.”  Marcel, wanting to spend all of his time with the girls, neglects Mme de Villeparisis, Elstir, and even Saint-Loup.   Rainy days are spent in the casino, where Marcel joins the gang of girls in their games, tricks, and contempt for the Ambresac sisters.  Andree’s kindness to Marcel.  Similarities between Albertine and Gilberte, “that is because a certain similarity exists, although the type evolves, between all the women we successively love…”  Andree’s generosity towards Albertine.  Through Elstir’s eyes, Elstir’s art, Marcel views Balbec in an entirely new light, willing to accept the existence of modern life, of yachts, and women with parasols in his view of the sea.  Albertine and Andree’s contempt for Bloch’s sisters:  “‘I’m not allowed to play with Israelites’….’Besides, they’re shocking bad form, your friends’, said Andree with a smile which implied that she knew very well that they were no friends of mine.  ‘Like everything to do with the tribe,” added Albertine, in the sententious tone of one who spoke from personal experience.”  But Marcel adds, “To tell the truth, Bloch’s sisters, at once overdressed and half naked, with their languid, brazen, ostentatious, slatternly air, did not create the best impression.”  The admiration of Bloch’s fifteen year old cousin for Mlle Lea, “whose talent as an actress M. Bloch senior rated very high, but whose tastes were understood not to be primarily directed towards gentlemen.”  Picnics and games at Marie-Antoinette farm.  Marcel’s friendship with Marcel causes him “to be cosily preserved from solitude, nobly desirous of sacrificing myself for him, in short incapable of realising myself.  With the girls, on the other hand, if the pleasure which I enjoyed was selfish, at least it was not based on the lie which seeks to make us believe that we are not irremediably alone and prevents us from admitting that, when we chat, it is not longer we who speak, that we are fashioning ourselves then in the likeness of other people and not of a self that differs from them.”   Marcel is charmed by the girls’ ways of speaking.

1.  I was struck and bemused by Marcel’s brief infatuation with Gisele.  Based on nothing, Marcel decides that she loves him and wants to be with him, and he can certainly fall in love with her, and then, in a brief sentence “except Gisels, whom, owning to a prolonged delay at the level crossing by the station and a change in the time-table, I had not succeeded in meeting on the train, which had left some minutes before I arrived, and to whom in any case I never gave another thought” is immediately forgotten.  The absolute fickleness and arbitrariness of love.  Of course, to confess, I know of myself as well that based on as little as a smile and a look, I’m quite capable of behaving in a similar fashion.

2.  I do find myself constantly disturbed by Marcel’s (or is it the Narrator’s?) feelings about friendship.   I suspect what disturbs me is that when Marcel says things about friendship such as “…at least it was not based on the lie which seeks to make us believe that we are not irremediably alone and prevents us from admitting that, when we chat, it is no longer we who speak, that we are fashioning ourselves then in the likeness of other people and not of a self that differs from them,” that he is right.  Are in essence alone?  Is friendship a distraction from ourselves?

3.  If any of you are in the San Francisco area, I’m going to be in Berkeley this Wednesday the 24th attending Eric Karpeles’ lecture at UC Berkeley on Paintings in Proust, to be followed by a concert of the music that inspired Vinteuil’s sonata, followed by a Proustian inspired dinner at Chez Panisse.  I’ll be writing about it both for The Cork-Lined Room and for our sponsor, Publishing Perspectives.  The lecture and concert are free, so if any of you are in the area, I hope you can attend — I have a feeling it’s going to be great.  Here’s the basics:

Talk by Eric Karpeles:  5:00, Townsend Center for the Humanities, Stephens Hall, UC Berkeley Campus

A musical interlude of passages that inspired the Vinteiul sonata, 6:30, 125 Morrison Hall, UC Berkley Campus.

Additional information needed?  510-643-9670

Monday’s Reading:

Moncrieff:  Page 669 “Now and then a pretty attention…” through Page 680 “…or singing-masters as of a draughtsman.”

Grieve:  Page 489 “Now and then one or another of the girls…” through Page 496 “…or a singing teacher as of a draftsman.”

Enjoy.

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Weekend Miscellany

by Dennis Abrams

I don’t normally post on weekends (I figure I’ve given you more than enough to read during the week), but I had a couple of things to say that didn’t really fit into the normal week’s schedule.

1.  A reminder that not everybody is as enamored of Proust as our community is.  I’ve been reading H.G. Wells’ autobiography (research for a biography I’m writing), and came across this paragraph, in which  he is comparing his literary tastes to those of his second wife:

“We belonged to different schools.  Her admiration for Katherine Mansfield, for instance, was unbounded while my appreciation was tempered by a sense of that young woman’s limitations; and she had a leaning towards Virginia Woolf, whose lucubrations I have always regarded with a lack-lustre eye.  She liked delicate fantasy after the manner of Edith Sitwell, to whom I am as appreciatively indifferent as I am to the quaint patterns of old chintzes, the designs on dinner plates or the charm of nursery rhymes.  Again, she found great interest in Proust who for me is far less documentary and entertaining than, let us say, Messrs. Shoolbred’s catalogue of twenty-years ago, or an old local newspaper, which is truer and leaves the commentary to me.”

2.  On our sponsor’s website, http://publishingperspectives.com/, there was a recent article about what could become a new trend:  literary masterpieces turned into videogames.  The evidence?  Dante’s Inferno:  the game.

http://publishingperspectives.com/?p=11585

So my question to you is this:  How would you turn In Search of Lost Time into a videogame?

Enjoy your weekend!

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Moncrieff:  625-636; Grieve:  457-464

by Dennis Abrams

Walking with Marcel, Albertine talks with Octave, a young man carrying a bag of golf clubs, and a self-professed “wash-out,” but does not introduce him to Marcel.  “Come, come, she exclaimed, “I can’t introduce you to a gigolo!  This place simply swarms with them!  but what on earth would they have to say to you?”  (Interestingly, Grieve translates “gigolo” as “lounge lizard.”)  Marcel and Albertine encounter Bloch, who Marcel does not introduce to Albertine.  Bloch informs Marcel that he is going to go to Doncieres to see Saint-Loup, but Marcel is far too interested (or obsessed) in Albertine and her friends to consider making the trip.  Albertine admits that Bloch is “not a bad-looking boy…but he makes me feel quite sick.”  And then, “When I told her on this first day that his name was Bloch, she exclaimed:  ‘I would have betted anything he was a Yid.  Typical of their creepy ways.”  Marcel is not sure whether his conversation means anything to her, “without being any more conscious of where my words were falling, of what became of them, than if I were dropping pebbles into a bottomless pit.”   Albertine’s hardness, insensitivity, and rudeness for anyone outside of her little group.   Marcel meets Andree, the tall one “who had jumped over the banker…”  The sisters d’Ambresac.  Albertine praises Mme Elstir’s dress, “She’s very simply turned out, I admit, but she dresses wonderfully, and to get what you call simplicity costs her a fortune.”  From Elstir, Albertine’s taste in clothing and art has improved, but not yet her taste in music, evidenced by her enthusiasm for Cavalleria Rusticana.  Albertine explains that in her group of friends, “Andree, I must say,  is remarkably clever.  She’s a good girl, though perfectly weird at times, but the others are really dreadfully stupid.”

—-

What struck me from this section (besides the realization that both Albertine and Bloch have friends that they are embarrassed of) was this paragraph, which relates closely to one I cited yesterday.

“That our words are, as a general rule, filled by the people to whom we address them with a meaning which those people derive from their own substance, a meaning widely different from that which we had put into the same words when we uttered them, is a fact which is perpetually demonstrated in daily life.”

If the way we see and understand other people can’t be trusted, if our very words are bound to be misinterpreted by the people we’re trying to communicate with…

—-

The Weekend’s Reading:

Moncrieff:  Page 636 “When I had left Albertine…” through Page 669 :…a vague dazzlement that had spread from brain to eyes.”

Grieve:  Page 464 “As soon as Albertine had gone…” through Page 489 “…an unfocused daze of the delighted eyes.”

Enjoy your weekend.  And enjoy.

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Moncrieff:  615-625; Grieve:  450-457

by Dennis Abrams

My apologies for the late post — I thought I had published this last night, but obviously it didn’t go up.

Marcel arrives at Elstir’s party, doesn’t immediately recognize Albertine.  Marcel eats a strawberry tart and a coffee eclair, postponing his introduction to Albertine.  “But so far as the pleasure was concerned, I was naturally not conscious of it until some time later, when, back at the hotel, and in my room alone, I had become myself again.  Pleasure in this respect is like photography.   What we take, in the presence of the beloved object, is merely a negative, which we develop later…”  “As I drew closer to the girl and began to know her better, this knowledge developed by a process of subtraction, each constituent of imagination and desire giving place to a notion which was worth infinitely less, a notion to which, it is true, there was added presently a sort of equivalent, in the domain of real life, of what joint stock companies give one, after repaying one’s original investment, and call dividend shares.”  “Confronted with the common-place and touching Albertine to whom I had spoken that afternoon, I still saw the other mysterious Albertine outlined against the sea. ”  Albertine’s beauty mark.  Marcel’s disappointment at not yet meeting the other girls in the gang.

—-

I love this paragraph:  for me, it’s one of those moments reading Proust when all I can do is nod and say to myself “of course.”

“Thus it can be only after one has recognised, not without some tentative stumblings, the optical errors of one’s first impression that one can arrive at an exact knowledge of another person, supposing such knowledge to be ever possible.  But it is not:  for while our original impression of him undergoes correction, the person himself, not being an inanimate object, changes his part too:  we think that we have caught him, he shifts, and when we imagine that at least we are seeing him clearly, it is only the old impressions which we had already formed of him that we have succeeded in clarifying, when they no longer represent him.”

What does this quote leave you with?  Do you think it’s accurate?  And if it is (and I think that it is), what does it mean when it comes to all of our friendships and relationships?

—-

And then, there’s the comedy of Marcel and Albertine’s beauty mark:

“Finally, to conclude this account of my first introduction to Albertine, when trying to recapture that little beauty spot on her cheek, just under the eye, I remembered that, looking from Elstir’s window when Albertine had gone by, I had seen it on her chin.  In fact, when I saw her I noticed that she had a beauty spot, but my errant memory made it wander about her face, fixing it now in one place, now in another.”

Before finally…

“I took advantage of this immobility to look again and discover once and for all where exactly the little mole was placed.  then, just a phrase of Vinteuil which had delighted me in the sonata, and which my recollection allowed to wander from the andante to the finale, until the day when, having the score in my hands, I was able to find it and to fix it in my memory in its proper place, in the scherzo, so this mole, which I had visualised now on her cheek, now on her chin, came to rest for ever on her upper lip, just below the nose.”

Who else would find a link between a beauty mark and a phrase of Vineteuil’s sonata?

And finally, from Malcolm Bowie’s Proust Among the Stars:

“Two new features of Proust’s temporality begin to emerge, then, when we look beyond the retrospective and prospective dispositions of the individual complex sentence.  First, within paragraphs, the propulsive energy of the writing, the living sense of futurity that drives the narration on, comes from an astonishing power of recapitulation.  An ambiguity in sexual identity refashions earlier ambiguous relations — between, say, light that shines and light that dances, or between smooth and rough in the painterly representation of fabrics.  The way forward into a clear new future always involves revisiting the past.  Secondly, within extended episodes, continuities of this sort are at work even when the narration insists upon irreversible change.  Uncovering Elstir’s secret, or meeting the little band face to face for the first time, changes for ever the way the world looks.  The whole map has to be redrawn.  But the text carries along, from the before of unknowing into the afterwards of knowledge, not just a lively memory of key events and their affective colouring but the imprint of mental structures that have already proved themselves and can be expected to see active service again.  The appetite to know survives the moment of its own satiation, and the instruments by which the world is made intelligible, far from being thrown away after use, remain importunately in place and demand further exercise.  Whatever the ‘open’ future holds, its broad contours have already been foretold.

Yet when the large-scale temporal patterning of Proust’s text is described solely in these terms an important quality is still missing from the overall picture.  for although recapitulation and recurrence give the narrative a range of capitaving refrains — here in La Prisonniere are the tribulations of jealousy, as acute now, in the narrator’s manhood, as they were before his birth, and here in Albertine disparue is Legrandin being Legrandin, unchanged after all these years and pages — the past is not always treated as kindly as this, and simply revisited or revived at the narrator’s leisure.  Retroaction rather than simple retrospection sometimes occurs.  The past is not just subjected to an indefinite process of reinterpretation, but can be materially altered by the desiring intelligence of the narrator:  armed with new information and switching the direction of his gaze, he can give the past new contents.  That Miss Sacripant should be Odette rather than an anonymous actress for ever lost behind the name of a stage character, that she should be Odette rather than a fantasy figure in one of Elstir’s youthful caprices, changes the way the light had fallen, moments ago, in Elstir’s studio.  In the wake of the narrator’s discovery, new sexual predilections spring into being for Elstir, Swann, and Odette herself, and a new element is added to the already trouble prehistory of the Swann-Odette marriage.  A catalytic reaction spreads backwards from the very recent past of the narrator himself into the barely recoverable recesses of other people’s lives. All is altered.”

—-

Thursday’s Reading:

Moncrieff:  Page 625 “A young man with regular features…” through Page 636 “…but the others are really dreadfully stupid.”

Grieve:  Page 457 “A young man with regular features and tennis racquets…” through Page 464 “But honestly, the others are just silly.”

Enjoy.

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