Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Within a Budding Grove post II

I have to confess that the more I read around Proust and discover that I am currently reading an old translation and Penguin went off in 1995 to get an more up-to-date version it reminds me of why sometimes libraries can be limiting in their choices. Judging from the checkout slip at the front of this volume not too many people have bothered to read Proust in my local library hence why they would be quite satisfied sticking with an old translation.

Anyway on with the bullet points…

Bullet points from pages 551 – 630

* As a result of marrying Odette Swann is isolated from quite a large social circle so they work hard to ingratiate themselves with people and are determined to advertise their success when they do make contacts

* Swann for so long torn by jealously over Odette’s affairs has fallen in love with another woman but keeps the relationship hidden from his wife and at this stage we find out nothing more about it

* As Madame Swann plays the narrator the sonata by Vinteuil that had produced such a powerful effect on Swann the boy is unable to appreciate the music on first listening and this develops into more general comments on how history can provide the right perspective to measure what is great art

* A childhood dream is finally realised as the narrator meets Bergotte, the writer he admires, and they talk and discuss opera and literature but the narrator comes away unable to decide if he is good or bad and then as he is driven home in Bergotte’s carriage the writer calls Madame Swann a whore

* Gilberte is analysed with her split personality being attributed to her father and mother with the worst parts, the tendency to cancel a meeting without warning or to be stubborn being attributed to her mother

* The narrator is introduced via a friend Bloch to brothels and although he never seems to do anything he makes the mistake of giving them some of his aunts old furniture and then is tortured by the contrast of that god-fearing woman and her belongings in that context

* Because the narrator, so long locked out of Gilberte’s world is now able to come an go to the house when he pleases things come to a head with Gilberte starting to show signs of impatience with him and after a particularly difficult encounter the narrator, despite being besotted, resolves never to see her again

We will need to see if he can keep his resolve tomorrow…

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