Monday, October 02, 2006

The Guermantes Way - post VII

A real day for getting the eye to the paper and reading through the remaining pages left in Volume III of Remembrance of Things Past.

All the way through this volume I thought the title referred to the journey that he took in the first volume in a physical sense as he walked with his family. But when you get to the nub of it then it is about the way that the Guermantes live and view the world.

Bullet points between pages 457 - 620

* The final third or so of the book concentrates on an evening that Marcel spends with the Duchess de Guermantes, something that earlier in the book hw fantasised about but now he no longer loves her he is able to observe in a calmer more neutral capacity

* The centre of the Guermantes Way is a large family that is acutely aware of its own history and its own position in society. The Duchess and the Duke no longer love one another but know how to spur each other on in public to get the best out of each other

* The Duchess is well read and displays wit that entertains her social circle but can often be rude and introverted in its humour

* At the end of the evening, where Marcel does enjoy himself because he laughs at some of the anecdotes in the carriage on the way, his visits M. de Charlus as arranged and is kept waiting for a long time before being given a meeting

* Charlus, who has been described as mad seems to think that Marcel has bad mouthed him and the more the narrator protests his innocence the more Charlus gets angry until he vows never to see him again

* The volume ends with a sad reappearance of Swann, who is a friend of the Guermantes, who comes round to see them despite being very ill and at the end he warns them that he can not go with them to Italy because he is dying and in their rush to get to a social occasion they leave him with Marcel as they fuss over the carriage and shoes

I am at a work related conference for the next couple of days but will post a review by mid-week.

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