Sunday, September 10, 2006

Swann's way post VII

Volume I finally ends in a flurry of deep description and a passing of the torch of obsessional love from Swann to the narrator.

Bullet points for pages 415 - 462

* The focus shifts back to the original narrative point of view with the boy now living in Paris and because of his nervous disposition on the brink of a trip to Florence and Venice he ends up being told by the doctor to stay behind in Paris

* The result is that he starts going out to the Champs-Elysee and there starts playing with a bunch of people including Gilberte Swann, the daughter of M. Swann, and he falls in love with her

* In turn not only does Gilberte seem to be oblivious but also when he asks her to meet up seems to relish in letting him down – something she must have learnt from her mother who it is finally revealed is Odette

* Swann no longer gets on well with the family he knew so well at Combray and it must be because they disapprove of Odette and as we know in the previous chapter Swann is prepared to sacrifice his social standing and sanity to be with her

* Volume I ends with Proust contrasting the days of Madame Swann walking around in beautiful clothes and waiting for her carriage with the motorcars and fashions of his day and expresses regret at the changes

“The places we have known do not belong only to the world of space on which we map them for our own convenience. None of them was ever more than a thin slice, held between the contiguous impressions that composed out life at that time; the memory of a particular image is but regret for a particular moment; and houses, roads, avenues are as fugitive, alas, as the years.” Pg462

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