Friday, September 29, 2006

The Guermantes Way - post V

A really good day’s reading for a change. For the benefit of the librarian who said nothing happens in the book there has already been an insight into how the Dreyfus case divided friends and families

Pages 268 - 382

* Still in the setting of Mme de Villeparisis’s salon there is an exchange with a German Prince that makes Marcel realise that his father will never get the backing from his friends to be elected to the Academy

* Madame Swann turns up and tells him that Norpois has attacked him behind his back and then Saint-Loup tells him that his aunt believes that he doesn’t like her because he never talks to her there then follows a moment of clarity for Marcel about his position with Mme de Guermantes

“I knew that I did not appeal to her, that I had no hope of ever making her like me.”pg285

* He is on the brink of heading off for another stay at Balbec and knows he won’t see her again before he goes

* As he leaves the gathering he is accompanied by M de Charlus who although acting strange for most of the time has a proposition from Marcel and on the way towards telling him moans that being anti-Semitic, which was all the rage following the Dreyfus case is opening up society to patriotic nobodies

* M de. Charlus outlines a proposition to take Marcel in hand and give him every chance to advance in society but in order to go ahead with the plan he needs to see him everyday to get to know his tastes and opinions better and for him to avoid going into society

* But things change rapidly as his grandmother becomes ill and starts to decline. A doctor recommends she gets some fresh air but she has a stroke while out and then takes to her bed and after a protracted illness passes away marking the end of chapter one

* Saint-Loup finally finishes with his mistress after falling out of love with her but not before she accuses Marcel of trying to seduce her while her lover was back in his barracks

* Saint-Loup tells Marcel that he has come across Madame de Stermaria (who I can't remember) in Morocco on his travels and she is recently separated from her husband and implies in the letter that she would be keen to pick up again with Marcel

* At the same time Albertine, the old flame from Balbec reappears, but he doesn't love her anymore. She comes to his room and although at one point interrupted by Francoise they make love and although it gives him the chance to answer some of the questions he asked back in Balbec it is still loveless

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