Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Swann's Way post III

It is hard to read Proust quickly because of the depth and richness of his descriptions so it is worth taking that little bit longer to read through, hence the lower page rate than usual. If you were to rush it you might miss things like this:

“But in summer, when we came back to the house, the sun would not have set; and while we were upstairs paying our visit to aunt Leonie its rays , sinking until they lay along her window-sill, would be caught and held by the large inner curtains and the loops which tied them to the back of the wall, and then, split and ramified and filtered, encrusting with tiny flakes of gold the citronwood of the chest-of-drawers, would illuminate the room with a delicate, slanting, woodland glow.” (pg145)

Bullet points between pages 145 - 204

The family is very much cantered when in Combray on the idea of taking walks and they have the choice of going in two directions, on of which is Swann’s Way because it goes along the border of his property

When with his granddad and father the narrator goes down Swann’s Way because they believe Swann and his family to be absent but in fact his wife and daughter are there and the narrator sees the daughter and although she insults him seems to fall in love with her

Eventually the old bedridden aunt Leonie does die leaving his parents to sort out the legal affairs and a distraught Francoise who was devoted to her mistress to the last showing all that she loved not hated her

Because his parents are too busy to walk he goes alone after a spell reading a book and his sensuality is starting to develop and he talks of women in a way that he has not done so far in the book

Having exhausted his description of the “Meseglise way” the family set off on the alternative “Guermantes way” and that includes walking past some of the grander parts of the town Combray and the route hugs a river, which they cross numerous times on the route

He talks about his future plans to become a writer but admits he doesn’t know what type of books he would write and daydreams that he father would sort it out but then comes to the conclusion that would not work and so denounces literature

He finally looks back and concludes that even if he went back down the routes he had walked as a young man he would not be able to recreate the same feelings and the best memories are those left and reconstructed in the mind

“So the “Meseglise way” and the “Guermantes way” remain for me linked with many of the little incidents of the life which, of all the various lives we lead concurrently, is the most episodic, the most full of vicissitudes; I mean the life of the mind.” (pg 200)

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