by Jeanne Badman
Comparing the final phase of love to the early days. The cruelty of memory as a journey in reverse direction. The first of three stages on the journey to the state of indifference. A walk in the Bois. Remembering Albertine playing Vinteuil’s sonata. The “little phrase” as a message from the vanishing Albertine. Other elements of his love vanishing. A glimpse of a woman can set his heart aflutter with the mistaken notion “Perhaps it is she!” Looking at girls as Albertine might have looked at them. Thinking about the transient influence of a good novel. (hmm…) Reflecting on how he was attracted to Albertine at Balbec. Finding Albertine everywhere, in many girls. Seeing a group of three girls and his failed effort to follow them. A few days later these girls are leaving his building, having been to call on the Duchess while she was out. Exchanging glances with the fair girl. Questioning the concierge. Deciding that she is Mlle d’Eporchville, with whom Saint-Loup previously had an assignation. Her clandestine glance establishes her as “…already almost half mine.” This selection of the fair girl is similar to his selection of Albertine from among her friends at Balbec. The pang of this memory. Anxiety while seeking to confirm the girl’s identity. Planning his rendesvouz with Mlle d’Eporchville, preparing, shopping. Imagining speaking to her alone in a corner of the drawing room of the Duchess in two days time. Telegraphing Saint-Loup to confirm the girl’s identity. Memories of brooding over Gilberte. Anger with his father for making plans to take him from Paris, and his mother’s intervention. The telegram from Robert – it was not the girl. Discovering his article in the Figaro after not recognizing it at first. Playing the part of an ordinary reader to be objective about his own article. Scheming to find out if his friends have read it. Wondering what they think of it. How his poor health may impact his social life and how writing could take the place of society. Going down to Mme de Guermantes more to see if she has read his article than to see Mlle d’Eporchville. The Duchess is “the real point of intersection between reality and dream.” Finding that Mlle d’Eporchville already knows him, that she is in fact Gilberte. Her new name is de Forcheville as she has been adopted by mother’s new husband. Her progress in society since the death of Swann. The stages of removing Swann, and her Jewish connection, from her name. The Guermantes view of Gilberte’s place in society after the death of Swann.
Wow! I didn’t know that I could go on like that!
Here is a zinger from this section:
“Certain philosophers assert that the external world does not exist,and that it is in ourselves that we develop our lives. However that may be, love, even in its humblest beginnings, is a striking example of how little reality means to us.”
Thanks, everyone, for all these weeks and months of reading. We are doing this together and that makes it work for me!
Moncrieff: “As for Gilberte, all the people who were fond of her…” through “like the tail, which still long in the monkey, has ceased to exist in man.” Pages 781-793. I welcome any comments that help folks find page numbers in Clark and Kindle versions of both.
And, as Dennis would say, enjoy.