Sunday, June 29, 2008

Proust II

And then I went back to Proust.

One of the great things about this apartment is the little porch. We share it with the other half of the house, but we've never seen them out there and it's really only large enough for a few chairs, but it's still perfect.

I rushed home the Friday before last--put some pickles and cheese on a plate (having a salt craving apparently), set up the folding lounger I bought for this reason, the umbrella I got on sale from Pier 1 years ago and can finally use and read. Bliss--well, until the big raindrops came down--and I was only a few pages from the end of a section--spent a moment trying to decide if I could finish the section and had to decide that I couldn't. Oddly enough, in the book the narrator was describing being so moved by nature on his walks that he felt that he needed to find the space to put down in words a description of his feelings, but always, by the time he got home other things would intrude and the moment would be lost.
Having reached home I would begin to think of something else, and so my mind would become littered (as my room was with the flowers that I had gathered on my walks, or the odds and ends that people had given me) with a mass of disparate images--the play of sunlight on a stone, a roof, the sound of a bell, the smell of fallen leaves--beneath which the reality I once sensed, but never had the will-power to discover and bring to light, has long since perished.

On recognizing an idea (as I do in Proust):
...if I happened to find in one of his books some thing which had already occurred to my own mind, my heart would swell as though some deity had, in his infinite bounty, restored it to me, had pronounced it to be beautiful and right.

Its (rain) drops, like migrating birds which fly off in a body at a given moment, would come down out of the sky in serried ranks--never drifting apart, never wandering off on their own during their rapid course, but each one keeping its place and drawing its successor in its wake, so that the sky was more darkened than during the swallows' exodus.

On the sound of church bells on a hot day:
...in order to squeeze out and let fall the few golden drops which had slowly and naturally accumulated in the hot sunlight--pressed, at a given moment, the distended surface of the silence.

...--oh, marvellous independence of the human gaze tied to the human face by a cord so loose, so long, so elastic that it can stray alone as far as it may choose--...

A musical phrase (and I have felt this):
It had at once suggested to him a world a inexpressible delights, of whose existence, before hearing it, he had never dreamed, into which he felt that nothing else could initiate him; and he had been filled with love for it, as with a new and strange desire.

I was intrigued by and even somewhat confused by a passage on what is clearly a lesbian relationship by a daughter of a friend in which he speculates that some people must, in fear of physical desire, cloak it in a form of sadism--must label it as bad and themselves as bad as well in order to enjoy it.

I have at last moved into Swann in Love, the story of Swann's bad marriage which so shaped the first section without ever being its topic.

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