[PDF / Epub] ☆ Le Côté de Guermantes By Marcel Proust – Saudionline.co.uk

Le Côté de Guermantes pdf Le Côté de Guermantes, ebook Le Côté de Guermantes, epub Le Côté de Guermantes, doc Le Côté de Guermantes, e-pub Le Côté de Guermantes, Le Côté de Guermantes 4680ee37526 After The Relative Intimacy Of The First Two Volumes Of In Search Of Lost Time, The Guermantes Way Opens Up A Vast, Dazzling Landscape Of Fashionable Parisian Life In The Late Nineteenth Century, As The Narrator Enters The Brilliant, Shallow World Of The Literary And Aristocratic Salons Both A Salute To, And A Devastating Satire Of A Time, Place, And Culture, The Guermantes Way Defines The Great Tradition Of Novels That Follow The Initiation Of A Young Man Into The Ways Of The World This Elegantly Packaged New Translation Will Introduce A New Generation Of American Readers To The Literary Richness Of Marcel ProustFirst Time In Penguin ClassicsA Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition With French Flaps And Luxurious DesignPenguin Classics Superb New Edition Of In Search Of Lost Time Is The First Completely New Translation Of Proust S Masterwork Since The S


10 thoughts on “Le Côté de Guermantes

  1. says:

    how can a sociopath love society so much because, make no mistake, that is what we are dealing with here.in this third installment, our dear narrator graduates from being a feeble child, from being a lovesick adolescent into a manipulating, stalking, social climbing creature who learns a lesson in disillusionment cheers.for all his bookish intelligence, his overthinking, his lofty words, at the end of the day, he is just a pale sticky thing masturbating in society s stairwell this is his idea of true love I was genuinely in love with Mme de Guermantes The greatest happiness that I could have asked of God would have been that he should send down on her every imaginable calamity, and that ruined, despised, stripped of all the privileges that separated her from me, having no longer any home of her own or people who would condescend to speak to her, she should come to me for asylum THAT would be his greatest happiness dude I was less sad than usual because the melancholy of her expression, the sort of claustration which the startling hue of her dress set between her and the rest of the world, made her seem somehow lonely and unhappy, and this comforted me he is such a little shit.so then how does he get to simultaneously have such refinement and linguistic elegance to make these beautiful observations For the fact of the matter is that, since we are determined always to keep our feelings to ourselves, we have never given any thought to the manner in which we should express them And suddenly there is within us a strange and obscene animal making itself heard, whose tones may inspire as much alarm in the person who receives the involuntary, elliptical and almost irresistible communication of one s defect or vice as would the sudden avowal indirectly and outlandishly proffered by a criminal who can no longer refrain from confessing to a murder of which one had never imagined him to be guilty this is how salieri must have felt that such a wanker as mozart was given such talent and yes, i get all my history from peter schaffer i do love proust, but it is not the way i love anyone i want to spend a lot of time with, and not the kind of love you feel for distant relations, where you kind of have to love them.i don t feel an obligatory book lover s love for him he moves me so often that i know my love is genuine, but he also kind of sickens me.because he writes these gross scenes My food was brought to me in a little panelled room upstairs The lamp went out during dinner and the serving girl lighted a couple of candles Pretending that I could not see very well as I held out my plate while she helped me to potatoes, I took her bare forearm in my hand, as though to guide her Seeing that she did not withdraw it, I began to fondle it, then, without saying a word, pulled her towards me, blew out the candles and told her to feel in my pocket for some money you just know after the money in the pocket routine, he went home and had himself a good scrawl, kevin spacey in se7en kind of way, in his notebooks piling to the ceiling he pursues women the way he pursued his mother, with this obsessive need that once obtained is quickly discarded, as a scene in this book which i will not spoil for others makes most apparent incidentally,mommy is only mentioned once or twice in this volume we are all grown up now and why does that serving girl scene gross me out so much because i love byron, and he is known for his falling upon chambermaids like a lightning bolt.what, ultimately, is the difference between byron and this guy is it just a matter of proactivity vs passivity because if byron had said that about a serving wench, i would have just sighed oh, byron but this guy suddenly pulling out his one tough guy move, it just makes the skin crawl.he hasn t earned my belief as an irresistable lady killer, and comes across instead as kind of rape y.i picture him as a tiny, pale truman capote creature in the corner, complaining about the draft while trying to look down ladies blouses and calling it love.unrelated to the last paragraph, the whole time i was reading this, all i could think of was this song, one of my all time favorites.and then i found that youtube video which was great because someone else had made the leap from recording studio to salon and made the visual for me just to use in this review thanks, internet note the video has changed, but the song remains the samemusic pun intentional this is a perfect song about the purity of nostalgia and hero worship and all of that, with a different ending than proust offers, but i think,a sweetly poignant ending who knew there was a bigger downer than morrissey it is a different situation entirely, of course, but the impulse of infatuation with someone you only know through reputation these society women were the rock stars of their times why am i dwelling so much on morrissey cuz he is my madeleine.and this makes it sound like i didn t like this book, but that s not true i am just focusing on what i felt the most strongly about the first 200 pages were not terribly fun for me, despite an alarming number of bookmarks indicating my favorite passages and then dialogue it was like a revelation that s what has been missing from then on i liked it a lot , but less than the previous two volumes i am giving it four, but shhh it really means 3.5 the parts that were good were very very good, and reminded me of another favorite non book related piece of entertainment, but let s be honest there were some dull bits here.in a novel about the emptiness of the social elite, the impulse is to side with, emotionally, the narrator over the shallow society types but here, you really can t, because his fawning judgmental inertia is not heroic he has done nothing to earn my love or readerly hurrahs there are no heroes here it is france.come to my blog


  2. says:

    In the first two volumes I argue, anyway, in my review of A L Ombre Des Jeunes Filles En Fleurs , Proust was most interested in putting romantic relationships under the microscope He returns to that theme later on in the series, but in the third book he is primarily concerned with picking apart the concept of wit, exactly, sprit, something that has always been terribly important to the French upper classes If you want an easier tour of the subject, you might like to check out Leconte s 1996 movie Ridicule, which covers roughly the same ground as Proust s novel.As usual in Proust, a vast number of things happen, and the language is very beautiful, so I m only giving the barest of bare bones The narrator develops a major crush on the Duchesse de Guermantes, Paris s most charming, fashionable, and above all witty hostess It s kind of embarrassing at first he pretty much stalks her But, after a while, he manages to get into her highly exclusive social circle, and appreciate all that sparkling sprit at first hand People sometimes criticize Proust for not being amusing, but this book is the exception The Duchesse is, in fact, pretty damn funny a lot of the time I particularly like her d sinvolture as she comments on the Duc s interminable series of mistresses, and how much trouble they always cause her What s both fascinating and rather scary is the way in which Proust then focuses his analytical intelligence on the Duchesse s wit Instead of just enjoying it, he decides to pick it to pieces He s almost too successful in this attempt a good part of me wished he hadn t done it What was originally sparkling becomes trite and mechanical She s got a number of formulas, and she rings the changes on them I shouldn t have looked at the man behind the curtain It s all part of Proust s overall program, and it s thematic, so I guess I shouldn t complain the true reward for reading him is supposed to be at a higher level All the same, it would be nice to get some straightforward pleasure every now and then without him insisting on ruining it immediately afterwards His analysis reminds me of the following well known lines from T.S Eliot s Murder in the Cathedral Man s life is a cheat and disappointment All things are unreal,Unreal and disappointing The Catherine wheel, the pantomime cat,The prizes given at the children s party,The prize awarded for the English Essay,The scholar s degree, the statesman s decoration,All things become less real, man passesFrom unreality to unreality.I like this passage for the same reason I like Le C t de Guermantes it expresses despair in a wonderfully elegant way.__________________________________________After posting my review of The Information a couple of days ago, I started to wonder what other books there were which directly address the Goodreads experience It occurred to me that Le C t De Guermantes was a strong contender Literary salons have passed into the realm of myth, so you don t immediately recognize one when it comes along, but Goodreads does indeed seem to have many of the qualities you find in descriptions from 19th century and early 20th century novels We re all sitting around trying to dazzle each other with our witty sallies, and there is a definite cachet attached to being friendly with the pickier reviewing stars And, just as in Proust, you discover how hard it is to maintain a high standard of sprit Over and over again, you see the phenomenon he describes here you re first captivated by someone s brilliant aper us, then, having become familiar with their style, you start anticipating them In the end, they become predictable and boring, and you move on to admiring someone else.I hope I haven t ruined too many people s days by pointing this out, and I m honestly not thinking of anyone in particular It s everyone it s part of the human condition Damn Proust for noticing that and explaining it so well.


  3. says:

    Names with PowerAccording to Proust, proper names imply a soul, even for inanimate objects like cities If something has a proper name, it somehow lives and has some sort of spiritual coherence And the existence of such names has a specific effect on human beings It provokes them to join with proper names in a sort of search for what this nominal soul, and their own, might consist of Guermantes is such a proper name Guermantes is a person, in the first instance the Duchess but also her husband Le Duc Guermantes is also a place, or rather two particular places, a castle in the country and a Parisian residence in the Faubourg St Germain Further removed, but also denoted by the proper name, Guermantes is a dispersed set of estates in space, and a corresponding family history which chronicles their acquisition and management in time.All of these denotations, according to Proust s theory, have a soul to be searched for and explored But it is not the person or place that is to be investigated it is the proper noun itself Thus, for example, the actress Berman, by whom the younger Marcel was captivated, no longer has a soul for him The concrete person is vacuous and her name has no real significance except as a good actress No longer an archetype of Woman, she has been reduced to that actress , not even a proper noun Although he admires her theatrical skill, she has lost all power in Marcel s life.On the other hand, Guermantes is a name with power, not archetypal but singular power It is a word that, like all proper nouns, has a meaning that exceeds its denotations It is a word that can only be described as having a life of its own It is self referential And such a proper noun is powerful precisely to the degree of its self referentiality It is bigger than its denotation, not in the sense of suggesting something beyond but because it attracts meaning to itself.So, the Duchess Guermantes, although fashionable, is a fairly unimpressive woman Out of the context of her proper name she might be considered merely ordinary But her salon is the most sought after in Paris Guermantes castle is insignificant militarily and architecturally but it us enmeshed in a sort of regal nostalgia which seems a part of the French national psyche since the Revolution The Guermantes family name itself has no ancient pedigree but it has emotional and social connections which allow it to be treated as if it had Its history is a symbol for the history of all of France.Words with power condense inarticulate feelings into articulate myths and ideals But however articulate these myths and ideals, they are unanalyzable, first because their articulation is never stable and second because they are infinitely interpretable Every interpretive statement about them becomes a component of their meaning and adds to their power.This power of proper names appears to be supernatural, even mysterious and potent than language in general It emanates mysteriously from human interaction but is beyond the control of any individual, as all language is But there is a character to proper nouns which is decidedly religious, even doctrinal As Marcel says with some obvious religious emotion, the presence of Jesus Christ in the host seemed to me no a mystery than the Duchess s house in the Faubourg being situated on the right bank of the river and so near my bedroom in the morning I could hear its carpets being beaten But the line of demarcation that separated me from the Faubourg St Germain seemed to me all the real because it was purely ideal It is not possible to escape the power of these proper nouns One cannot ignore them or unilaterally refrain from using them in one s vocabulary because they intrude continuously and intimately into one s life Encountering Le Duc, for example, without knowing who he is or without using the correct form of address will evoke a humiliating response On the other hand, attempting to actively resist this power is futile The power does not exist in the concrete embodiment of Le Duc, or his castle, or even of his wealth It exists in his name itself Its power is that of vocabulary not of politics or armaments It is a power that is immune from individual effort to displace it As is always the case with language, fighting it means isolating oneself utterly from one s fellow The name derives its potency for all intents and purposes from another dimension.Therefore one must submit to the power of these proper nouns, either by merely accepting their mythical and ideological demands, or by assimilating these demands into one s own personality In this matter event, one discovers the motivation of ambition for the first time the active desire to become a part of the word with power.The recognition of ambition marks Marcel s transition into adulthood The grown up world is not one of the concrete reality of things It is a world of the symbolic reality of proper names Of course symbolism has always been important for Marcel one thinks of the meanings suggested by church steeples, as well as the actress in previous volumes, for example But the symbolism of these things was directed toward an ungraspable beyondness, a primitive spirituality, that evoked searching, as it were, past the symbol to some other reality These symbols represented something internal to Marcel, whether purpose or destiny, he knew not But they called him forth into himself.Marcel s emergent adult symbolism is of a radically different sort The symbols of proper nouns point not beyond themselves but only to themselves This is the psychic sump of their self referentiality Their profound self referentiality will eventually blind Marcel to his infantile symbolic quest altogether His iconic symbolism will be steadily replaced by a sort of heretical symbolism which narrows and closely binds Marcel s perception This is the Guermantes Way.


  4. says:

    Finally the scheme of the novel as a whole comes into view, as the narrator uses the characters of book two the always gallant St Loup and the outmoded Madame de Villeparisis to try to ascend socially to the pinnacle of Mme de Guermantes s legendary salon But along the way, we encounter two beloved characters from book one who have drastically changed, who are shown not to fit into what s required of Marcel s new world view Three highlights An incredible tour de force Balzacian 100 pages at Madame de VilleParisis s that involves a fantastic comedy of errors with hats the force of Charlus, who, though a problematic character w r t gay anxiety, is fantastically written a trip to the theater that complicates interpersonal analysis from book 2 and ends with a memorable wave.Now, there are problems too You NEED to carefully read the Wikipedia page on the Dreyfus case before this volume, as all of Proust s Paris is swept up in the incredibly confusing vagaries of the case Two sequences one on military history, and somewhat disappointingly, the book s climactic dinner which is an intentional disappointment, I know, and stylistically fascinating , read sluggishly Proust s worldview is fundamentally flawed in all sorts of ways, but is presented as truth, which has its seductions but also its frustrations But there s so much that s fascinating here His willful denial of plot conventions the book abounds with spoilers and refusal to focus on what most interests us really work There s a European storm building up here and the novel ends on an excellent cliffhanger for the first time, I started reading the next volume as soon as I finished.


  5. says:

    And even in my most carnal desires, oriented always in a particular direction, concentrated round a single dream, I might have recognized as their primary motive an idea, an idea for which I would have laid down my life, at the innermost core of which, as in my day dreams while I sat reading all afternoon in the garden at Combray, lay the notion of perfection Marcel ProustI go forward slowly, dead, and my vision is no longer mine, it s nothing it s only the vision of the human animal who, without wanting, inherited Greek culture, Roman order, Christian morality, and all the other illusions that constitute the civilization in which I feel.Where can the living be Fernando Pessoa Constants are a comfort Predictable, reliable, indestructible, themes upon which to stake a claim, build a life, and conjure up a culture Without them, there would be no tradition, no heritage, no common meaning that has been given centuries to bring together the many millions of humanity, and will continue to do so long into the future.Transience is stimulating Unique, original, unpredictable, the many spices that fill each day of life with novelty and excitement Without them, civilization would die a slow death, unable to provide for the insatiable minds crowding its surface, compensate them for all the rules and regulations that confine them in every aspect of their lives.In Swann s Way, we were introduced to the fragile chaos that is memory, all of its invisible triggers and surprising strengths when it came to prying forth events that molt and flex with each passing second, as fast as we ourselves can metamorphosize In Within a Budding Grove, we found beauty, then lost it, then found it again, so long as we lied and were lied to, consciously or otherwise, in hopes of that one instant where what we loved was indeed what was In Guermantes Way, we reach out of our protective cocoons, and unleash these truths of mind and matter to rampage over the wide plane of humanity What results is both admirable and terrible, a truth of life whose nakedness proves too ferocious for the majority of minds We are satisfied with neither peace nor war, with neither the unchanging monotony that lies too close to the cold and silent realm of mortality, nor the rampant fury that upturns our sensibilities and forces us through evolutionary contortions at a sometimes deathly speed We yearn for connections based on similarity, and shy away from anything that decries our individuality We wish to be understood we do not want to be spoken through.So we form our societies, our little cliques, our passion plays that eternally jest with one hand and keep a tight hold on emergency conventions with the other We set the trends, watch as the clusters form and the enthusiasm rises to a fever pitch, then switch gears as soon as the crowds begin to settle and the dissonant murmurs begin to rise We ensure that, above all else, shallowness is the key to every sort of success we make sure to never tread too deeply in the psyche, where the shadowy past looms large and conforms thoroughly than one with inherent beliefs in ones self can bear We adapt at every social turn and mental acrobatics trick so that the momentary thrill is always there and always momentary, and make the word hypocrisy nothing than the incessant whine of those who failed One never has to worry about disagreeing states of mind so long as one is the ringmaster of the entertainment One never has to concern oneself with, say, feelings, and justice, and empathy, when the supreme goal is maintenance of the social formula One need not ever have to plant oneself in another s shoes, when one is so busy in leading a parade of thousands.For how else are we supposed to be satisfied, we social animals with our countless hopes and dreams and mentalities, always clashing when together and so very lonely when apart How else do we function within the constricting walls of ideologies that have had millenia in which to grow, find a little variation to make the promise of a new day something of a comfort rather than a living hell Our minds, our bodies, our souls change with every passing moment, and yet we seek the refuge of similarity with a fellow human being whose transformations are just as quick and just as erratic We grow upon ideas that have given us security since the first idea came into being, and then we find ourselves outgrowing them, flaying ourselves on insidious restrictions that are almost too ingrained to be even be considered in words, let alone questioned.Our thoughts swim to gorgeous depths that cannot sustain life, and so we must wait on the surface and make do with the wreckage that manages to float up through the darkness The bits and pieces last until they no longer suffice for a pleasant existence, what with so many others crowding and crewing and manipulating the flotsam and jetsam to their own advantage We wonder if it would be enjoyable to sink down and make ones own way through the sunken ships, with only ones thoughts for company We would miss the others, though, what with their complete removal from our own frame of mind, so refreshingly different despite all their sometimes aggravating differences.It s difficult, balancing the worth of self in solitude against that of living in conformation, judging how much of oneself is an identity and how much of it is a sociocultural construct Truth, versus stability It s not a wonder that most of the world is devoted to the latter At least, there, you re not alone.


  6. says:

    the literary equivalent of that genius but dull as rocks 10 minute tracking shot in le week end.


  7. says:

    Guermantes Way is like the pretentious, over educated older sister of Budding Grove who constantly outdoes her little sister at everything She s longer, she s boring, she s interesting, she s wittier and funnier, and she just loves to show off how much she knows We really get to know Saint Loup in this volume, as well as the Guermantes family in general who are some pretty superficial crazies anyway M., being a creep, stalks Mme de Guermantes everyday on her morning walks, and befriends her nephew, Saint Loup and is like oh can I have that picture of your aunt why uh whatever, we ve all been there right..right.anyone anyone Bueller We also get historical in this one with the Dreyfus affair as the background There are a few Jewish characters, Bloch who is totally oblivious about being unwanted and annoying, and Charles Swann who of course we love and sympathize with since he married a whore The Dreyfus affair really wears Swann out, which is sad, but as a reader you re really distracted by the total creepiness of Marcel so you get over it pretty quickly.This chapter also emerges us in, what every book ought to have, TONS OF SOCIETY BITCHES And they re all really obsessed with seeming witty which I ve learned from Balzac is REALLY important to French people We get a LOT of Mme de Guermantes superrr bitchy opinions about her friends and family Like Princess de Parma and etc We also hear lots of gossip about people we ve met, like Charlus and his dead wife and M de Norpois and his affair with Mme de Villeparisis SCANDALOUS My only complaint about this volume is I felt like it talked about the lineage of the Guermantes for way too long, and like, the lineages of everyone in all of France It got rather dry for a good 30 100 pages, but it picked up later.This book kind of kills Elstir in M s eyes a little since the Guermantes don t like his paintings Whateverbitches.There s a really funny scene and witty, go figure where B de Charlus has given M a book of Bergotte s which happens pretty much right after he s all like Bergotte sucks , and then Charlus calls M to his house and accuses him of slandering him because M told people he would help him into society which he did , and he says Similarly, you did not even recognize on the binding of Bergotte s book the lintel of myosotis over the door of Balbec church Could there have been a clearer way of saying to you Forget me not I laughed out loud in an untrammeled geeky way, since it is totally absurd to read that much into such a thing.The book ends on a CLIFFHANGER Guys, Proust is basically the Agatha Christie of 4000 page novel y things that sorta don t have a plot and sorta don t have action verbs and stuff It ends and its like, WILL M BE INVITED TO THIS PARTY You would die without knowing if you didn t ever read volume four How could you live with that suspense You couldn t Onto V.4 Sodom Gomorrah


  8. says:

    No longer confined to orbiting his parents and living for the freedom of a solitary walk, no longer living in thrall of adolescent hormones and grappling with the strange new worlds blossoming both within and without himself, The Guermantes Way finds our Narrator thrust ever forward into adulthood and the disappointing discovery that grown ups rarely behave like adults, especially when the pride of ancestral inheritance is on the line and there are duplicitous societal niceties to abide by, while the utterly insignificance and inanity of it all are underscored to devastating though understated effect by the first real taste of loss that this age usually carries with it This third volume of In Search of Lost Time captures the period when our window to early 20th century Parisian society is finding his place in it, though, true to his nervous, writer persona, he seems content to observe now with the emergence of a sly humor rather than engage with these exalted figures whose human forms slowly pale in comparison to the larger than life names he has aggrandized in youth It is, I imagine, intentional that battlefield philosophy receives generous attention early in this volume, as everything that follows is revealed to rest upon a framework of military caliber tactics, from love or what passes as love within the confines of Proust s created world ye gods, do any of these characters know what a healthy relationship actually looks like to facing the Grim Reaper as he counts down the minutes to one s predestined departure from this mortal coil to the carefully plotted choreography of maintaining superficial acquaintances to simply navigating daily life among even second rate society when each moment brings a new potential for detonating reputationally ruinous land mines If my piecemeal knowledge of foreign language pronunciations isn t too far off the mark, I d go so far as to suggest that the first syllable of the titular name is tellingly reminiscent of the French word guerre I am so grateful that the still somewhat and charmingly naive Narrator is beginning to see through the shiny veneer of the socialites with whom he spends so much time and is slowly discovering, through both his own astute observations and whatever decidedly reliable tidbits are churned out by the rumor mill, what dirty secrets are hidden just below the surface and who has a limitless number of faces he or she presents according to present company and circumstance not to mention the public knowledge that is simply not spoken of unless it s being rehashed in hushed voices If these vast stretches of recounting one gathering after another weren t full of the Narrator s observations about who s lying to whom, marital fissures slowly widening right before the public s eye, the double talk that flatters one while slandering another or are simply backhanded compliments cruelly served to one unlucky individual and other betrayals of the his unwillingness to swallow the facade presented at these salons, I would have been bored to tears, page after page of gorgeous language or not, because I just don t care about such petty triflings in real life A moment of the Narrator s blunt honesty echoed my own sentiments while handing them back to me in a beautifully rewrapped package while also illustrating that he was just as bored as I was in danger of becoming if not for his wit, beautiful prose and keen insights making it all worth the effort I scarcely listened to those anecdotes, something like the ones M de Norpois used to tell my father they afforded no food for my preferred patterns of thought and, besides, even had they possessed the elements they lacked, they would have needed to be of a highly exciting nature for my inner life to be aroused during those hours spent in society when I lived on the surface, my hair well groomed, my shirtfront starched that is to say, hours in which I could feel nothing of what I personally regarded as pleasure.He does offer such a poetic presentation of these long hours listening to others witticisms grow stale with every retelling, of gossip masquerading as current events, of current events being reduced to small talk thanks for the Dreyfus affair primer, V. that it was easy for me to forget that the Narrator just wants to lose himself in his hosts collection of Elstirs which he does with abandon when finally given the opportunity, like the awkward animal lover who spends most of a party in the corner drunk on liquid courage and cooing not to an attractive stranger but to the party giver s cat not that I have any personal experience there , catch a play and maybe finally start tapping into the creative juices that just won t let the words flow smoothly from his mind to the page Society is no place for a sensitive man with an artist s soul, as even the most celebrated wit at the salon will eventually turn him into a plaything or a vehicle of immortality, as great painters are demonstrably reduced to mundane portraiture that will only be nitpicked by unappreciative minds for failing to capture the subject s outer beauty and inner glow adequately enough to pacify an aging ego that is fighting the nullification of death with the frivolity of social escapades As a sobering reminder of such an inevitability, this volume also sees the loss of the Narrator s beloved grandmother it s not really a spoiler if the book in question is nearly a century old, right , whose stroke and rapid decline allow her one last gesture of undying love, as she suffers in valiant silence so as to not upset her family and amends her few voiced complaints to meaningless utterances should they be overheard, lest she further worry those she s about to leave behind The visible wreckage gathering in the Narrator s mother as she watches her own mother s life ebb away is heartache set to words and makes for one of the most sorrowful sequences I ve ever observed as a reader, but also serves as a testament to the humanity with which Proust animates his already estimable writing The Narrator s own first taste of loss that runs deeper than simple interruption of a mother s nightly affections is the natural foil to the artificial high society world he so often finds himself in, which emphasizes the skewed perspective of the latter and permanent void of the former.It seems that a book about recapturing lost times through recollections of the past is bound to memorialize the dead as well as serve as the predictable offspring of a society that is so obsessed with itself that it gleefully, and often maliciously, recounts its own clever turns of phrase when it s not reliving a favorite adversary s shameful misstep Because if that s not the epitome of living in a moment before it hurries into the fading past, what is


  9. says:

    After being a little disappointed in the second volume of Proust, this one returns to the absolute wonderfulness of Swanns Way I noticed that another reviewer commented on the addictive quality of Proust and I have to agree A few weeks ago when I started Swanns Way I figured I d read one of his books, and then maybe next summer go into the next one and leisurely through the remaining years of my thirties read one Proust book a year and enter into my forties being able to say that I d read Proust Instead though as soon as I finish one of his books I want to immediately begin the next Thinking about this book and if I was asked to tell someone what it was about , a question I ve been asked by three people while reading this book One of them, a security guard at work,and one someone in one of my library classes and the third a person in the park who none of the characters of this book would ever associate with Each time I told them it was about France around the turn of the century Each in turn told me they were sorry and it didn t sound interesting, I should note that not one of the people knew who Proust was, a fact that left me a little baffled I mean what s the point of reading the highest of high brow literature if you can t wow people with your reading material, is there really another reason to be reading this stuff Isn t one expecting to be seen reading something like Proust or Joyce and then be invited to some wonderful soir e, filled with fashionable and witty people and live out your own little Proust fantasy When I think really what this book is about the answer is almost worse then saying it s about France to people who never heard of the author Instead it s about a couple of parties, and a little bit of stuff that happens before them Of course the characters and description given to these couple of parties is so fucking good you might find yourself cursing Proust a little bit when he switches gears and goes back into his internalized bits, but after a few pages of inner monologue I always found myself in following the words with a rapt attention Now on to Cities of the Plain.


  10. says:

    This may be my favorite book of ISOLT so far Yes there are moments that seemed to go on.and ona bit, but overall I feel that the narrator became real, human, as did many of the people around him, including those who he has been studying from afar In The Guermantes Way, our unnamed narrator has matured somewhat, though his exact age remains unspecified He is now attending the salons of those who he has admired from a distance, especially Mme de Guermantes, the woman he virtually stalked in the streets, setting up regular impromptu meetings during her daily travels around Paris A love struck teen or slightly older perhaps.But at these salons, exciting things happen not duels or sightings of fabulous art and people so much as overhearing wonderful conversation Our narrator learns about people, his heroes and heroines, himself, and we learn about him The politics of the time are discussed, with the Drefus case front and center, views on that race matter being central, anti semitism rampant Then there are the posing and poseurs, the toadying for favors, and the finding that people are not who they outwardly appear to be And all of this is done in Proust s quite wonderful prose.Here is a description of the Guermantes and their interactions with others And yet, to take an example, all of them all those who were true Guermantes, that is when you were introduced to them, indulged in a kind of ceremony, almost as though by holding out their hands to you they were performing an act as weighty as confirming a knighthood upon you The moment he heard your name uttered, a Guermantes, even a twenty year old Guermantes, but treading already in the footsteps of his elders, let fall upon you, as though he had not made up his mind to acknowledge you, a gaze that was generally blue and always as cold as a steel blade, seemingly destined to plunge into the deepest recesses of your heart And this is just what the Guermantes imagined themselves to be doing since they all regarded themselves as first class psychologists.They also felt that this inspection intensified the affability of the greeting that was to follow it, which would not be delivered without a shrewd idea of your worth All this occurred at a distance from yourself that would have been too close for a passage of arms, but seemed immense for a handshake. p 440 And to complete this when the Guermantes in question, after a lightning tour of the last hiding places of your soul and your integrity, had deemed you worthy to consort with him in the future, his hand, directed toward you at the end of an arm stretched out to its full length, seemed to be presenting a rapier for single combat, and the hand was in fact placed so far in front of the Guermantes himself at that moment that when he proceeded to bow his head it was difficult to distinguish whether it was yourself or his own hand he was acknowledging. p 440 And these are only observations of the male side of the family To read of Mme de Guermantes, you really must read this book Proust comes into his own here, in my opinion, with his clever witticisms, sometimes gentle but biting descriptions and some beautiful language There are some sections that seemed s bit long but it also seemed I was rewarded for these by a writerly gift or two throughout the novel.Highly recommended with the caveat that you should begin with Swann s Way


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