Moncrieff: 367-379; Treharne: 265-273
by Dennis Abrams
Marcel considers the fact that “my emotion on that evening long ago when I had spoken about Mme Swann and Gilberte was known to the Princesse de Guermantes, whom I imagined never to have heard of my existence.” Mme Swann studiously ignores the fact that Mme de Guermantes was at the salon. Mme de Villeparisis speaks “with an affectation of contempt,” about Mme Leroi. “I’ve known such interesting such delightful people in my time that really I don’t believe Mme Leroi would add much to what I already have.” The Prince compliments Mme de Villeparisis’ paintings. Marcel makes plans to have dinner with Robert and Bloch the following evening. Marcel becomes convinced that he would never become friends with Mme de Guermantes. “I knew that I did not appeal to her, that I had not hope of ever making her like me…” Marcel makes a series of gaffes, asking Charlus why he’s taking the wrong hat, and not realizing that Charlus and the Duc de Guermantes are brothers. Saint-Loup tells Marcel that he is going to purchase the Boucheron necklace for Rachel. (If you recall, the lunch and fight with Rachel took place just hours before Mme de Villeparisis’ salon.)
So how’s everybody doing with this section? Too much social chatter? Just the way you like Proust?
The only thing I have to add today is to quote this section from today’s reading, which, for me, is one of those sections that strike me as being nearly unbearably true:
“Each of our actions, our words, our attitudes, is cut off from the ‘world,’ from the people who have not directly perceived it, by a medium the permeability of which is infinitely variable and remains unknown to ourselves; having learned from experience that some important utterance which we eagerly hoped would be disseminated (such as those enthusiastic speeches which I used at one time to make to everyone and at everybody on the subject of Mme Swann, thinking that among so many scattered seeds one at least would germinate) has at once, often because of our very anxiety, been hidden under a bushel, how immeasurably less do we suppose that some tiny word which we ourselves have forgotten, which may not even have been uttered by us but formed along its way by the imperfect refraction of a different word, could be transported, without ever being halted in its progress, infinite distances — in the present instance to the Princesse de Guermantes — and succeed in diverting at our expense the banquet of the gods! What we remember of our conduct remains unknown to our nearest neighbour; what we have forgotten that we ever said, or indeed what we never did say, flies to provoke hilarity in another planet, and the image that other people form of our actions and demeanor no more resembles our own than an inaccurate tracing, on which for the black line we find an empty space and for a blank area an inexplicable contour, resembles the original drawing.”
What are your thoughts? Reactions?
Moncrieff: Page 378 “Robert swept me back to his mother.” through Page 389 “…not only of the past but of the future.”
Treharne: Page 273 “Robert swept me back to his mother.” through Page 281 “…not only of the past but of the future.”