Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Within a Budding Grove post III

There is still a great deal to read but as the chapter Madame Swann at Home ends there is a shift in time and a shift away from the intensity of the association with the Swann's.

Bullet points between pages 630 - 700

* Having decided to stop seeing Gilberte the narrator sets out to keep away from her and is in a state of torture as he waits for a letter that never comes from her pleading with him to come back

* He starts spending time with Madam Swann to make sure that she passes on details about him to her daughter and is content to hear that Gilberte has been trying to get him to commit to coming round for tea, something he always gets out of doing

* There is a real sense of teenage love with letters being written and torn up and moments of agony and you get the feeling that the plan might have backfired and Gilberte feels she is better off without him

* Madame Verdurin makes a brief appearance with the explanation that Swann now limits his wife to seeing her just twice a year

* There is then quite a long description of how Madame Swann is living, with her development of her own style, as well as a comment about how her husband appears slightly trapped in seeing her how he used to do

* After resisting invitations to see Gilberte he finally decides that he will pay a surprise visit to her but on his way sees her with another boy and any chance of rekindling the relationship is shattered

* Even Madame Swann appreciates that he will never see Gilberte again but asks him not to stop seeing her as a result of the end of the friendship with her daughter

* With the start of the chapter, Place Names: The Place the narrator has moved from Paris to the Normandy coast and two years have gone by but he is still haunted by his love for Gilberte

*It is easy to forget that the narrator has health problems - asthma, nervous anxiety amongst others - so a trip to the coast is just what is required according to his doctor but he finds parting from his mother difficult and thinks of her life without him

For those of us with interests in history one interesting passage involves Madame Swann explaining that Madame Verdurin is having electricity in all of her rooms and has a telephone, both innovations she sees fit to do without and then later the narrator talks about taking a journey to the coast in a motor car to make it a more comfortable experience.

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