A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs, I
August 29, 2007: I am looking for a job for my children; and although I encourage them to search
the internet, I'll try to use my connections.
"Well, well, I should never have believed it - old Norpois doesn't at all disapprove of the idea of your
taking up writing," my father had reported. And as he had a certain amount of influence himself, he imagined that there was nothing that could not be "arranged," no problem for which a happy
solution might not be found in the conversation of people who "counted". "I shall bring him back to dinner, one of theses days, from the Commission. You must talk to him a bit, so that he can
get some idea of your calibre. Write something good that you can show him; he's a great friend of the editor of the "Deux-Mondes"; he'll get you in there; he'll fix it all, the cunning old
Within a budding grove: Madame Swann at home
Du côté de chez Swann, II (Un amour de Swann)
From this lofty perch she would take a spirited part in the conversation of the "faithful", and would
reveal in all their "drollery"; but, since the accident to her jaw, she had abandoned the effort involved in wholehearted laughter, and had substituted a kind of symbolic dumb-show
which signified, without endangering or fatiguing her in any way, that she was "splitting her side". At the least witticism aimed by a member of the circle against a "bore", or against a
former member who was now relegated to the limbo of "bores" - and to the utter despair of M. Verdurin, who had always made out that he was just as affable as his wife, but who, since his
laughter was the "real thing", was out of breath in a moment and so was overtaken and vanquished by her device of a feigned but continuous hilarity - she would utter a shrill cry, shut
tight her little bird-like eyes, which were beginning to be clouded over by a cataract, and quickly, as though she had only just time to avoid some indecent sight or to parry a mortal blow,
burying her face in her hands, which completely engulfed it and hid it from view, would appear to be struggling to suppress, to annihilate, a laugh which, had she succumbed to it, must
inevitably have left her inanimate. So, stupefied with the gaiety of the "faithful", drunk with good-fellowship, scandal and asseveration, Mme Verdurin, perched on her high seat like a
cage-bird whose biscuit has been steeped in mulled wine, would sit aloft and sob with affability.
Swann's way: Swann in love
But it is sometimes just at the moment when we think that everything is lost that the intimation arrives
which may save us; one has knocked at all the doors which lead to nowhere, and then one stumbles without knowing it on the only door through which one can enter - which one might have sought
in vain for a hundred years- and it opens of its own accord.
14 août 2007: la Bourse est remontée, comme la valeur de Mme de Villeparisis pour le narrateur:
A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs, II
So she was related, and very closely, to the Guermantes, this Mme de Villeparisis who had for so long been for me the lady who had given me a duck filled with chocolates when I was small, more remote then from the Guermantes way than if she had been shut up somewhere on the Méséglise way, less brilliant, less highly placed by me than was the Combray optician, and who now suddenly went through one of those fantastic rises in value, parallel to the no less unforeseen depreciations of other objects in our possession, which - rise and fall alike - introduce in our youth, and in those periods of our life in which a trace of youth persists, changes as numerous as the Metamorphoses of Ovid.
Within a budding grove, Place-Names: the Place
dimanche 11 août: du café, je vais regarder les gens qui vont à la messe, dans cette église de Sceaux:
Du côté de chez Swann, I,II
August 11, 2007: from the café's terrace, I'll watch people going
to mass, in the Sceaux church.
10 août 2007: la photo prise par Laurent, du clocher de Sceaux: c'est demain dimanche. Tous les dimanches je prendrai un sujet religieux.
9 août 2007: Je viens d'acheter un moule à madeleines en silicone: coïncidence, c'est justement le jour où j'apprends qu'Eric a vendu aux Américains sa société qui fabrique des implants eux aussi en silicone:
Du côté de chez Swann, Première partie: Combray, I
August 9, 2007: I just bought a madeleine mould made of silicone: surprise, that very same day I learned that Eric had sold to Americans his company which manufactures silicone implants:
had elapsed during which nothing of Combray, save what was comprised in the theater and the drama of my going to bed there, had any existence for me, when one day in winter, on my return
home, my mother, seeing that I was cold, offered me some tea, a thing I did not ordinarily take. I declined at first, and then, for no particular reason, changed my mind. She sent for one of
those squat, plump little cakes called "petites madeleines", which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted valve of a scallop
Swann's way, Overture
proustpourtous.com8 août 2007: Ma grand'mère avait été une garce toute sa vie. Mais dans son grand âge, elle s'était terriblement adoucie. Un peu comme Odette :
Le temps retrouvé
August 8, 2007: During all her life, my grandmother had acted as a real bitch. but with age, she greatly softened. A bit like Odette:
Beautiful still, she had become - what she had never been in the past - infinitely pathetic; she who had been unfaithful to Swann and to everybody found now that the entire universe was unfaithful to her, and so weak had she become that , the roles being reversed, she no longer dared to defend herself even against men. And soon she would not defend herself even against death.
7 août 2007: Coincée dans l'ascenceur avec des gens qui d'habitude ne me sourient même pas. Mais la promiscuité rend aimable et tout le monde se dit bonjour et se souhaite une bonne, une excellente, une merveilleuse journée.
A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs, II
6 août 2007: Maurice, un ami de mes parents, très pince-sans-rire, avait coutume de dire, quand il ne pouvait répondre à une question, et n'en était pas gêné: "Je sais tout... ce que j'ai besoin de
savoir". Le Duc de Guermantes, lui, est sérieux:
Le côté de Guermantes, II,II
August 7, 2007: As I was boxed in the elevator with people from other offices who usually would not even smile to me, they all said "Hi", and "Have a good, an excellent, a wonderful day !", because promiscuity forced them to be amiable.
Mme de Villeparisis herself confirmed, though indirectly, my diagnosis, which was already a conviction, of the essential points of her nephew's character one day when I met both coming along a path so narrow that she could not do otherwise than introduce me to him. He seemed not to hear that a person's name was being announced to him; not a muscle of his face moved; his eyes, in which there shone not the faintest gleam of human sympathy, showed merely, in the insensibility, in the inanity of their gaze an exaggeration failing which there would have been nothing to distinguish them from lifeless mirrors. Then, fastening on me those hard eyes as though he wished to examine me before returning my salute, with an abrupt gesture which seemed to be due rather to a reflex action of his muscles than to an exercise of will, keeping between himself and me the greatest possible interval, he stretched his arm out to its full extension and, at the end of it, offered me his hand. I supposed that it must mean, at the very least, a duel when, next day, he sent me his card. But he spoke to me when we met only of literature and declared after a long talk that he would like immensely to spend several hours with me every day. He had not only, in this encounter, given proof of an ardent zest for the things of the mind; he had shown a regard for me which was little in keeping with his greeting of the day before. After I had seen him repeat the same process every time someone was introduced to him, I realized that it was simply a social usage peculiar to his branch of the family, to which his mother, who had seen to it that he should be perfectly brought up, had molded his limbs; he went through those motions without thinking about them any more than he thought about his beautiful clothes or hair; they were a thing devoid of the moral significance which I had at first ascribed to them, a thing purely acquired...
Within a budding grove, Place-Names: the
August 6, 2007: Maurice, a friend of my parents, with a dry wit, used to say, when he could not answer a question, and was not embarrassed not to know: "I know everything.... I need to know" He was joking, unlike the Duc de Guermantes:
"Ah! The Hague! What a gallery!" cried M. de Guermantes. I said to him that he had doubtless admired Vermeer's View of Delft. But the Duke was less erudite than arrogant. Accordingly he contended himself with replying in a self-complacent tone, as was his habit whenever anyone spoke to him of a picture in a gallery, or in the Salon, which he did not remember having seen: "If it's to be seen, I saw it !"
The Guermantes way, chapter two
dimanche 5 août 2007: A 9 heures ce matin, je prenais un café à la terrasse de la boulangerie, devant l'église de Sceaux, et je regardais le clocher, en attendant que Laurent en prenne une photo.
Du côté de chez Swann, I, II
Sunday August 5, 2007: At nine this morning, I was drinking my coffee, on the bakery's terrace facing the Sceaux church. I was admiring its steeple, waiting for Laurent to take a picture.
Swann's way, Combray
4 août 2007: L’une de mes collègues de bureau avait amené hier sa fille de 8 ans : au déjeuner, alors que l’enfant avouait ne pas s’amuser beaucoup, nous avons évoqué les fêtes ou les vacances durant lesquelles nous nous étions ennuyés à mourir, jusqu’à ce que le moment du départ étant très proche on se met à aimer tout le monde, à les trouver sympathiques…
Parfois pourtant la pluie trop cinglante nous retenait, ma grand-mère et moi ; le Casino étant fermé, dans des pièces presque complètement vides, comme à fond de cale d’un bateau quand le vent souffle, et où chaque jour, comme au cours d’une traversée, une nouvelle personne d’entre celles près de qui nous avions passé trois mois sans les connaître, le premier président de Rennes, le bâtonnier de Caen, une dame américaine et ses filles, venaient à nous, entamaient la conversation, inventaient quelque manière de trouver les heures moins longues, révélaient un talent, nous enseignaient un jeu, nous invitaient à prendre le thé, ou à faire de la musique, à nous réunir à une certaine heure, à combiner ensemble de ces distractions qui possèdent le vrai secret de nous faire donner du plaisir, lequel est de n’y pas prétendre mais seulement de nous aider à passer le temps de notre ennui, enfin nouaient avec nous sur la fin de notre séjour des amitiés que le lendemain leurs départs successifs venaient interrompre.
A l’ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs, II
August 4, 2007: Yesterday, one of my office’s colleagues brought her 8 year old daughter: during lunch, we reminded her, who was a bit bored, of the parties and vacations during which, after having been very bored, the coming departure would let us like everybody, and have finally a great, but short time
Sometimes, however, the driving rain kept my grandmother and me, the Casino being closed, in rooms almost completely deserted, as in the hold of a ship when a storm is raging; and there, day by day, as in the course of a sea-voyage, a new person from among those in whose company we had spent three months without getting to know them, the senior judge from Caen, the leader of the Cherbourg bar, an American lady and her daughters, came up to us, engaged us in conversation, thought up some way of making the time pass less slowly, revealed some social accomplishment, taught us a new game, invited us to drink tea or to listen to music, to meet them at a certain hour, to plan together some of those diversions which contain the true secret of giving ouselves pleasure, which is not to aspire to it but merely to help ourselves to pass the time less boringly – in a word, formed with us, at the end of our stay at Balbec, ties of friendship which, in a day or two, their successive departures from the place would sever.
Within a budding grove, Place-Names: The Place
3 août 2007: J'ai aperçu un voisin qui marchait péniblement dans la rue, à Sceaux, et je me suis dit qu'il portait la maladie sur son visage, sur son corps !
Sodome et Gomorrhe, II, I
Cities of the plain, part two: chapter one
31 juillet 2007: Tiré du New-York Times d'hier (au sujet de la mort d'Ingmar Bergman): "I have maintained open channels with my childhood,” he told Ms. Kakutani in 1983. “I think it may be that way with many artists. Sometimes in the night, when I am on the limit between sleeping and being awake, I can just go through a door into my childhood and everything is as it was — with lights, smells, sounds and people ...”
Du côté de chez Swann, I,I
July 31, 2007:
Quoted in the New York Times (Ingmar Bergman's obituary)
"I have maintained open channels with my childhood,” he told Ms. Kakutani in 1983. “I think it may be that way with many artists. Sometimes in the night, when I am on the limit between sleeping and being awake, I can just go through a door into my childhood and everything is as it was — with lights, smells, sounds and people ...”
Swann's way, overture