by Jeanne Badman
Gilbert’s feelings about the Duchess and how she has won the Duchess’ friendship through tolerance of her insults. How favorably Gilbert has impressed society. How Mme. and M. de Guermantes manipulate and influence each other’s views on the social acceptance of Gilberte. The insincerity of their memories of Swann and his parents. “..the Duc de Guermantes would not have hesitated to recommend them for jobs as gardeners.” The attitude of the Faubourg Saint- Germaine to the bourgeois compared to the way an anti-semite treats a Jew. The Duchess downplays Swann’s social status in front of Gilberte to distance herself and her husband from Swann. Gilberte has inherited some of Swann’s finer qualities; his tact and intelligence, his voice and his wit. They beg her to visit them again soon. There is to be no further mention of Swann as Gilberte is adopted by Forcheville and now calls him father. An exception is made when Gilberte speaks to Marcel about Swann. The topic comes up when Marcel notices two sketches by Elstir now on display in the Guermantes’ drawing-room. Swann had encouraged The Duchess to purchase them. The Duchess tries to prevent discussion of the sketches and their connection to Swann. Marcel uses this as an opening to mention his article in the Figaro. The Duchess instructs the Duke to read it later, but Gilberte insists she will read it as soon as she gets home. The Duchess diverts everyone’s attention with a lengthy anecdote about how the Duke looks British to the peasantry when he is clean-shaven. We are reminded that the Duke was once the Prince des Laumes, a point of great interest to Gilberte. When the Duchess mentions Lady Rufus Israels’ calling card Gilberte denies knowing her. Gilberte’s snobbishness. She is known to have once mispronounced Swann as “Svann,” unfortunately suggesting a German connection. The malady of egoism multiplied by intermarriage. Gilberte’s signature (G. S. Forcheville) retains an S. and seems to give it the same importance as her G., with a flourish like a vestigial tail connecting the two letters.
I like the bit about the hereditary egoism:
“And ever since the world began, ever since families in which some defect exists in one form have been intermarrying with other families in which the same defect exists in another, thereby creating a peculiarly complete and detestable variety of that defect in the offspring, the accumulated egoisms (to confine ourselves, for the moment, to this defect) must have acquired such force that the whole human race would have been destroyed, did not the malady itself engender natural restrictions, capable of reducing it to reasonalbe proportions, comparable to those which prevent the infinite proliferation of the infusoria from destroying our planet, the unisexual fertilization of plants from bringing about the extinction of the vegetable kingdom, and so forth.”
I’m reading each day’s assignment twice to be more prepared to summarize and highlight. That only takes about 30 minutes. It’s composing the blog page that takes time. Maybe we should all take turns…no, we’ll let Dennis have it back next week.
Moncrieff: “In spite of all this, there was something of Swann’s intelligent curiosity…” through “…it loved her; but it was only a love at second hand.” Pages 793-805. Check the comments for page number fsor Clark, etc.
As Dennis would say, “Enjoy.”