Posts Tagged ‘Proust’

Such Riches

December 22, 2011

Should you be interested, the relevant passages in Proust for ‘I am falling asleep…’ can be found on pages 162 -169 in the new translation by Lydia Davis of Swann’s Way. Penguin Books. The USA edition, 2003.  Such riches indeed.


I am falling asleep, Marcel says, taking a young girl in his arms.

December 20, 2011

There was a time when he was always taking long aimless walks, but today it’s different. He has a goal in mind, a date deep in the Combray countryside. The landscape expands as he travels. His parents have returned to Paris in preparation for Madame’s gynecological appointment (though Marcel did not know this), so he’s not pressed to return home early; in fact, he’s rather inclined to stay out for the afternoon, find a spot to settle down in, and read a good book.

He has The Stones of Venice to read, he has his umbrella in case of a sudden downpour, and he has his spyglasses, a neat pair that folds up and fits comfortably in a side pocket. In his novel, Marcel rather forgets to mention how often he kept a pair of opera glasses on his person; how often he used them, peeking across the low hills at lovers in the woods, spying on strangers and casual friends, intimate friends and at times his own lovers. You learn to forgive the great artist his little peccadilloes…and he would tell you he was studying the landscape, the birds, the wind in the willows,  that sort of thing…but Marcel had a bit of the voyeur in him, even at an early age.

In Search of Lost Time tells the incident this way. Marcel has walked out to Montjouvain, the house which was once owned by M. Vinteuil and is now occupied by his daughter, Mademoiselle Vinteuil. M. Vinteuil had recently passed away and his daughter is in deep mourning. Marcel portrays himself as nonchalant about visiting the area: he was fond of the reflections in the small pond next to the house; it was hot; he finds a shady spot on the hill above the house…oh, just with a view into the sitting room window, that’s all…and falls into a deep sleep. No one is around; the countryside is sepulchral.

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