New Saxon Merino Yarn This Week

Natural Colors

~

Lamb Sausage On The Grill To Sample

Mergueza, A Tunsian Style Merguez With Pomegranate

Saturday, August 1st

Union Square Greenmarket 

And

Sunday, August 2nd

79th St & Columbus Ave Greenmarket

Order Local Lamb From The

Lamb Store 

Lamb Bacon

Chops

Leg of Lamb

Lamb Jerky

And More...

We Ship

Order Sheepskins From The

General Store

Hand-Dyed Yarn

Natural Colors

Local Lamb Sausages

Merguez

Rosemary

Curry-Pomegranate

Maqaniq

With Garlic We Grew

Garlic Scape

Garlic Bacon

Garlic Merlot

And More...

~

Sausages In Sheep Casings

Nitrate Free

Antibiotic Free

2015 Harvest

Garlic Store

Order Now

Farm Stand 

Union Square Greenmarket

New York City

Blog Categories/Tags
1/2 & 1/2
120
17.4 Cochineal
36
3rd Party Certification
60
77 Dream Songs
A la recherche
A la recherche du temps perdu
A l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs
Adam Gopnik
Adele Bloch-Bauer
Albert King
Ansel Adams
Antibiotics
Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Antonius Cetosus. Lions
Art
Art Criticism
Art Knowledge News
Ass's Shadow
Audible
baa
Balzac
Barthes
Basic Lamb Recipes
Baudelaire
Beauty
Becall
Beethoven Op. 130
Big Food
Big Yarn
Biking
Bill of Rights
Bittman
Black
Black & Blue
Blanket
Blue
Bolano
Botticelli
Botton
Breeding
Breeding Stock
Buddha
Bullamalita
Butler
Cage
Capital in the Twenty-First Century
Capitalism
carnivores
Carter
Case of habit
Catskill Merino Hat
Cecil Beaton
Cesare Pavese
Cezanne
Charles James
Chaturbriand
Christianity
Chunky Yarn
CIA
Cicero
Cineman
Citric Dyes
Clara Parkes
Cleanth Brooks
Cochineal
Coco Chanel
Colette
Colorant
Comments
Complementary Protein
Constable
Contre Sainte-Beuve
Cooking Lamb
Corn
Corriedale
Coup de Grace
Cous Cous
Coyotes
Criticism
David Foster Wallace
DaVinci
Delanceyplace
Deworming
Dialogue
Dick and Dee Dee
Discount Code
Dogs
Dominion?
Dominique
doxa
Drugs
Duck
Ducks
Dye
Dyeing
Dyeing Black
Early Lambs 2014
Eartag 36
Eating Policy
Edward Hopper
Electric Fence
Elkins
Emerson
Emma
Employment
End of Poverty
Ewe 159
Ewes
Exercise
Experimental Dyeing
Facebook
Factory Farm
FAMACHA
Famous Knitters
Farm Help
Farm Stand
Farming
FDR
Fecals
Festival
Fiction
Fish
Flaubert
Florence Fabricant
Fluxus
Flystrike
Food
Food Deserts
Food Flock
Food Politics
Food Swamps
Foodie
Forecast
Forest Fire
Frances Middendorf
Francesco Mastalia
Franck
Frank O'Hara
Fred Kaplan
Garlic
Garlic 2013-14
Garlic 2015
Garlic Cultivation
Garlic Scapes
Gary Lutz
Genesis Deflowered
George Eliot
Georgia O'Keeffe
Gertrude Stein
Gift Certificates
Gilbert-Rolfe
Goncourt Brothers
Goodreads
Gordon Lightfoot
Grazing
Grazing 2009
Great Expectations
Green Mountain Spinnery
Green turn
Greener Shades
Greenmarket
Greenmarket; Union Square
Guggenheim
Gustave Flaubert
GWB
Habit
Hahn
Hamlet
Hand Dyeing
Hand Dyeing Workshop
Hang Tag
Hang Tags
Hannah
Hats
Hats for Haiti
Hay Feeding
Headcheese
Heather
Heather Yarn
Heatwave
Hecate
Heine
Help Wanted
Hemingway
Henry James
Herbicide
Hickey
High Noon
Home
Homer
Honore Balzac
Ida
Improv
Indigo
Ink
Intelligence
Interns

All Categories
Blog Entries by Date
Sunday August 2, 2015

The Narrator says "So often, in the course of my life, reality had disappointed me..." and I think of him seeing Mme de Guermantes in the church and hearing Berma for the first time, etc.

So often, in the course of my life, reality had disappointed me because at the instant when my senses perceived it my imagination, which was the only organ that I possessed for the enjoyment of beauty, could not apply itself to it, in virtue of that ineluctable law which ordains that we can only imagine what is absent.

Le temps retrouvé by Marcel Proust (1927) and Time Regained translated by Andreas Mayor and Terrance Kilmartin (1981) and revised by D. J. Enright (1992) p. 263

Note: this is a posthumously published volume; (it) was written at the same time as Swann's Way, but was revised and expanded during the course of the novel's publication to account for, to a greater or lesser success, the then unforeseen material now contained in the middle volumes. Wikipedia.

In addition to Andreas Mayor and Terrance Kilmartin there are other translators of this same volume: Sidney Schiff (1931), Ian Patterson (2003) and Neville Jason (2011) who recorded his translation on Naxos. 

That "we can only imagine what is absent," reminds me of the Mahayana philosopher,  Nägärjuna (~250 BC) and the Tetralemma"It cannot be said to exist. It cannot be said not to exist. It cannot be said to both exist and not exist. It cannot be said to neither exist or not exist." Wikipedia.

At the Guermante's library in Time Regained,  once again we meet our mystical Proust (or his stand-in, the Narrator). The language they use is not as smooth and perfect as most people think. It's holely—and the homonym is intended. God lurks within it as Zen masters do not say.

What transpired in the immediate years before the Narrator happened upon the uneven paving stones in the courtyard at the Guermante's party intrigues me.

In The Varieties of Religious Experience 1902 by William James, the author states mystical states are always proceeded by a hopelessness and the surrender to this fact. This is much like the mental state of the Narrator coming from a sanatorium outside of Paris to a daytime party at the Princess de Guermantes.

... now that I possessed the proof that I was useless and that literature could no longer give me any joy whatever, whether this was my fault, through my not having enough talent, or the fault of literature itself ...

Le temps retrouvé by Marcel Proust (1927) and Time Regained translated by Andreas Mayor and Terrance Kilmartin (1981) and revised by D. J. Enright (1992) p. 254.

After many years of trying, now he had decided that he couldn't write and furthermore Art had absolutely nothing to offer him—he  surrendered to this view.

Then, just before he entered the Guermantes' mansion, he stumbles on uneven paving stones in the courtyard and seeming by magic they fill him with an uncommon joy—eventually he becomes mystically aware of Venice and the uneven stones at Saint Mark's.

'Yes, reality can contain sensual beauty'. The Narrator can see beauty (it is there in the reality he perceives) but he cannot enjoy it or imagine it because the perception overpowers his imagination. Beauty is present and he perceives it, albeit unenthusiastically—he cannot imagine or enjoy beauty's unique attributes because "we can only imagine what is absent."

We must remember that this is a sentence fragment from a long novel which becomes more mystical as I reread it and is so unlike a realist work. 

Simon quotes Samuel Becket in Proust (1931), "The Proustian equation is never simple," and part of that equation is a possible ending:

And I understood that all these materials for a work of literature were simply my past life; I understood that they had come to me, in frivolous pleasures, in indolence, in tenderness, in unhappiness, and that I had stored them up without divining the purpose for which they were destined ...

Le temps retrouvé by Marcel Proust (1927) and translated as Time Regained  by Andreas Mayor and Terrance Kilmartin (1981) and revised by D. J. Enright (1992) p. 304.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
7/28/2015 5:57 am

Though they were now separately identifiable, still the mutual response which they gave one another with eyes animated by self-sufficiency and the spirit of comradeship, in which were kindled at every moment now the interest now the insolent indifference with which each of them sparkled according as her glance fell on one of her friends or on passing strangers, that consciousness, moreover, of knowing one another intimately enough always to go about together, by making them a 'band apart' established between their independent and separate bodies, as slowly they advanced, a bond invisible but harmonious, like a single warm shadow, a single atmosphere making of them a whole as homogeneous in its parts as it was different from the crowd through which their procession gradually wound.

À l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs by Marcel Proust 1919; translated as Within a Budding Grove by C. K. Scott Moncrieff 1923, p. 509.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
7/21/2015 12:19 pm

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
7/20/2015 7:26 pm
Labels: Sheep Journal

The first was when a list member called my attention in private email to capitalization, "Was 'habit' capitalized in the English translation or in the original French?" I responded by showing two passages from Gutenberg; the first was Proust writing in French and the second was Moncrieff translating the same passage in English:

Mais cette souffrance et ce regain d'amour pour Gilberte ne furent pas plus longs que ceux qu'on a en rêve, et cette fois, au contraire, parce qu'à Balbec l'Habitude ancienne n'était plus là pour les faire durer. ...

But this suffering and this recrudescence of my love for Gilberte lasted no longer than such things last in a dream, and this time, on the contrary, because at Balbec the old Habit was no longer there to keep them alive. ...

As far as the question goes the answer is 'yes'. Even in the third sentence of the passage where Proust uses a lower case "h". Moncrieff follows him in his translation:

Le changement d'habitude, c'est-à-dire la cessation momentanée de l'Habitude paracheva l'oeuvre de l'Habitude quand je partis pour Balbec. ...

The change of habit, that is to say the temporary cessation of Habit, completed Habit's task when I started for Balbec. ...

However in the paragraph before that Proust uses the lower case 'h',

... les lois plus générales de l'habitude.

while Moncrieff capitalizes it,

... the still more general rules of Habit.

Later Kilmartin and Enright honor Moncrieff.

~

The second thing is in the carriage of Mme de Villeparisis, talking about Chateaubriand, beginning with page 410 of the Modern Library Edition. The Narrator is speaking:

Shyly I would quote to Mme de Villeparisis, pointing to the moon in the sky, some memorable expression of Chateaubriand ...

“And you think that good, do you?” she would ask, “inspired, as you call it. ...

She continues,

... As for his fine phrases about the moon, they had quite simply become a family joke. Whenever the moon was shining, if there was anyone staying with us for the first time he would be told to take M. de Chateaubriand for a stroll after dinner. When they came in, my father would take his guest aside and say: ‘Well, and was M. de Chateaubriand very eloquent?’—‘Oh, yes.’ ‘He talked to you about the moonlight.’—‘Yes, how did you know?’—‘One moment, didn’t he say—’ and then my father would quote the phrase. ‘He did; but how in the world . . . ?’—‘And he spoke to you of the moonlight on the Roman Campagna?’—‘But, my dear sir, you’re a magician.’ My father was no magician, but M. de Chateaubriand had the same little speech about the moon which he served up every time.”

We have a real person, François-René, vicomte de Chateaubriand being spoken of by a fictional person, Mme de Villeparisis, who is retelling  the stories of her fictional father. Obviously the relations reported didn't happen between the parties stated.

During a Summer in Brittany I read Mémoires d'Outre-Tombe at Saint-Malo but I know little of Chateaubriand's biography. Did the moonlight walk sequence, as reported, happen to someone else? It seems Chateaubriand's words about the moonlight "had quite simply become a family joke" could be argued as defamation especially in a French court to be settled for a single Franc or an Euro as the case may be.

How far can one go making the real into fiction in a french novel? 

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
7/19/2015 9:18 am

For the first time in Marcel Proust's novel, Habit is mentioned in the second volume with a capital H.

Now the memories of love are no exception to the general laws of memory, which in turn are governed by the still more general laws of Habit(1)

At Balbec on his first visit, and the journey there, the Narrator has relapses of l'amour fou for Gilberte—an intermittence of indifference—after two years. He finds himself loving her and suffering because he lacks her,

The self that had loved her, which another self had already almost entirely supplanted, would reappear, stimulated far more often by a trivial than by an important event (2)

On the sea-front at Balbec the Narrator was reminded that he'd overheard a conversation between Gilberte and her father in Paris mentioning the same trivial Ministry,

... I heard someone who passed me on the sea-front at Balbec refer to “the head of the Ministry of Posts and his family.” (3)

Hearing that, caused him to feel—once again—forlorn for Gilberte. What follows is much like the result of involuntary memory.

... but hidden from our eyes in an oblivion more or less prolonged.

It is thanks to this oblivion alone that we can from time to time recover the person that we were, place ourselves in relation to things as he was placed, suffer anew because we are no longer ourselves but he, and because he loved what now leaves us indifferent. (4)

Habit is neither good nor bad but "... is bound by a diversity of laws."

In Paris I had grown more and more indifferent to Gilberte, thanks to Habit. The change of habit, that is to say the temporary cessation of Habit, completed Habit’s work when I set out for Balbec. (5)

I love Proust's magical side when he equates faeries with women in houses, when he writes of metempsychosis and time gone-bye—and so much more—and this too:

... what best reminds us of a person is precisely what we had forgotten (because it was of no importance [it was trivial], and we therefore left it in full possession of its strength). (6)

(1) À l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs by Marcel Proust 1919; translated as Within a Budding Grove by C. K. Scott Moncrieff 1923 et al, p. 300.

(2) Ibid, p. 299.

(3) Ibid, p. 299.

(4) Ibid, p. 300.

(5) Ibid, p. 301.

(6) Ibid, p. 300.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
7/16/2015 7:54 am
Labels: Habit, Marcel Proust

We harvested our Porcelain Garlic the first week in July and today I split a head into cloves to photograph it. The house smells rich like butter.

Buy a baker's dozen for the price of twelve in the Garlic Store.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
7/13/2015 5:02 pm
Labels: Garlic 2015

I hope a better understanding of the Narrator's amorous trials with Gilberte may lead,

... in the context of another and later love affair ... (1)

to a fuller comprehension of Albertine which is a much more mysterious love.

~

As a child, when the Narrator saw Gilberte on the Méséglise way he was attracted to her; that attraction was to become a deeper love in Paris. Later, he often met her to play on the Champs-Élysées and he was overjoyed when she finally invited him to tea. At her house, he was a favorite with Gilberte, and moreover, he had become Swann's friend for the good influence on his daughter.

Surprisingly, he began to sense that Gilberte was put off by his frequent visits especially when he was invited by her parents, 

... detecting certain signs of impatience which she betrayed when her father asked me to the house almost against her will, I wondered whether what I had regarded as a protection for my happiness was not in fact the secret reason why that happiness could not last. (2)

Unwillingly Gilberte—at her mother's insistence—stays home with the visiting Narrator rather than go out dancing; she frowns and answers him in monosyllables while he assumes a mien of protective "coldness". They quarrel; he leaves and vows "never to see her again"

The storm that was blowing in my heart was so violent that I made my way home battered and bruised, feeling that I could recover my breath only by retracing my steps, by returning, upon whatever pretext, into Gilberte’s presence.

But she would have said to herself: “Back again! Evidently I can do what I like with him: he’ll come back every time, and the more wretched he is when he leaves me the more docile he’ll be.” (3)

The Narrator wants Gilberte in a singular way; she wants to go out dancing. They have many wants. A want can be denied by a power greater than what it desires, and in this instance, by parental authority. In Combray, a similar thing happened to the young Narrator: he wanted a goodnight kiss from his mother. He was denied it because of a guest and he was sent upstairs to bed by his father. But in contrast to Gilberte, he disobeyed the power,

Certainly my mother’s beautiful face seemed to shine again with youth that evening, as she sat gently holding my hands and trying to check my tears; but this was just what I felt should not have been; her anger would have saddened me less than this new gentleness, unknown to my childhood experience; I felt that I had with an impious and secret finger traced a first wrinkle upon her soul and brought out a first white hair on her head.

This thought redoubled my sobs ... (4)

A mother's love, the love of another woman...they are both beautiful but both different and both unreeling the same, 

Absence is the figure of privation; simultaneously, I desire and I need. Desire is squashed against need: that is the obsessive phenomenon of all amorous sentiment (5)

(1) À l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleurs by Marcel Proust 1919; translated as Within a Budding Grove by C. K. Scott Moncrieff 1923 et al, 278.

(2) Ibid 214.

(3) Ibid 218.

(4) Du côté de chez Swann by Marcel Proust 1913; translated as Swann's Way by C. K. Scott Moncrieff 1922 et al, 52.

(5) Fragments d’un discours amoureux by Roland Barthes 1977; translated by Richard Howard as A Lover's Discourse: Fragments  1979, 16.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
7/7/2015 2:51 pm

In The Captive the Narrator sits down at the piano waiting for Françoise to bring back Albertine from the Trocadero where he feared that she might meet Lea. He starts to play Vinteuil and is reminded of Wagner and instead plays Tristan.

He muses about art...

Not factitious, perhaps indeed all the more real for being ulterior, for being born of a moment of enthusiasm when it is discovered to exist among fragments which need only to be joined together; a unity that was unaware of itself, hence vital and not logical, that did not prohibit variety, dampen invention.

p. 208

and then he muses about life (the situation in the novel with Albertine). Fictively, he is torn between one and the other...

Could it be this that gave to great artists the illusory aspect of a fundamental, irreducible originality, apparently the reflexion of a more than human reality, actually the result of industrious toil?

If art is no more than that, it is no more real than life and I had less cause for regret.

p. 209

La Prisonnière (1923, published posthumously) Marcel Proust; translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff, Terrence Kilmartin & revised by D. J. Enright in 1923, 1981 and 1992 as The Captive.

My small library is mostly nonfiction—I prefer that to reading fiction.  However I feel a little remiss about the lack of fiction in my life but reading À la recherche du temps perdue permits me both—fiction and nonfiction in the same volume. When what is positively written about in À la recherche du temps perdue is philosophy, aesthetics, art, history, religion, politics and other real things that matter to him, the Narrator is generally the author, Marcel Proust.

The Narrator in the first quote is Marcel Proust—what he says is nonfiction; the Narrator in the second quote is also Marcel Proust but fictively posing as the 1st person reflective Narrator (writing from his point of view)—what he says is fiction.

Simon: Proust's Note 1 to Sésame et les lys,

... obeyed a kind of secret plan, unveiled at the end, that retroactively imposes a kind of order on the whole and makes it seem magnificently staged, right up to the climax of the final apotheosis.

echoes your quote from The Captive, and moreover, it is nonfiction,

... a unity that was unaware of itself, hence vital and not logical, that did not prohibit variety, dampen invention.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
7/1/2015 10:46 pm

Recently I've re-read the 35 pages of the Modern Library Edition of Within a Budding Grove: (p. 165-200) from the time of the luncheon at the Swanns with Bergotte to the time the Narrator gets out of the carriage at home that he shared with the author.

Some years ago I skimmed the passage the first time I read it. To tell you the truth, Bergotte bored me—I passed over the passage quickly and remembered little. But the plus to the situation was that when I read it again (or "for the first time" according to Proust on music, p. 140) it was fresh. I liked what Proust learned from the writing of Ruskin and I better liked Bergotte because Proust made him the axis of their stylistic interaction. Note 1 was published with Sésame et les Lys in 1906; À l'ombre de jeunes filles en fleurs (translated as Within a Budding Grove in 1922) was published in 1919 and was revised during the Great War of 1914 to 1918. Here are partial contents of Note 1:

He (Ruskin) moves from one idea to the next without any apparent order, but actually the imagination which leads him is following its own deep affinities and imposing a higher logic on him in spite of himself, to such an extent that at the end he finds himself to have obeyed a kind of secret plan, unveiled at the end, that retroactively imposes a kind of order on the whole and makes it seem magnificently staged, right up to the climax of the final apotheosis. 

IOn Reading translated by Damion Searls published in 2011.

There are other passages, to be sure; the one I singled out has mostly to do with Bergotte. In this passage I find that Proust, like his mentor Ruskin, stylistically "moves from one idea to the next without any apparent order", he "impose(s) a higher logic on him in spite of himself ... right up to the climax of the final apotheosis" and that was Bergotte in the carriage calling Mme Swann a "whore" (and its consequences for her husband) in spite of his being congenial to their faces. The Narrator was a little shocked at Bergotte's duplicity but I found it refreshing. 

Might I remind you that this is the same young Narrator who wouldn't eat caviare at the luncheon because he didn't know what it was. There is a music here and Proust has the advantage over the non-fictive Ruskin by writing with different Narrators: the younger 1st person active, the 3rd person omniscient or Marcel Proust and, here among indeterminate times, the older 1st person reflective:

Names, no doubt, are whimsical draughtsmen, giving us of people as well as of places sketches so unlike the reality that we often experience a kind of stupor when we have before our eyes, in place of the imagined, the visible world (which, for that matter, is not the real world, our senses being little more endowed than our imagination with the art of portraiture—so little, indeed, that the final and approximately lifelike pictures which we manage to obtain of reality are at least as different from the visible world as that was from the imagined).

Within a Budding Grove Marcel Proust 1919, translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff, Terrence Kilmartin & revised by D. J. Enright in 1923, 1981 and 1992, p. 166.

Delightful, Marcel.

Ruskin writes without an editor, and a single nonfiction narrator, himself. Proust has an editor and writex fiction and with several narrators.

The Narrator who won't eat caviare and the one who speaks about "Names" above are the same person but separated by some years, much learning and the "secret plan, unveiled at the end".

I thank Sharon for putting Note 1 in the hand-out about Bergotte given to members of the discussion group that met on Jane St. Because of the handout, I reread the Bergotte passage from a different viewpoint.

This is why one should read the actual texts of classical writers, and not be satisfied with excerpts or selections. Writers’ most famous pages are often those where this inner structure of their language is masked by the beauty of the excerpt, beauty of an almost universal character. 

Marcel Proust’s translation of John Ruskin's Sesame and Lilies and his preface On Reading were published in 1906. The introduction and translation of the preface, On Reading is by Damion Searls of the same title, published in 2011, p. 44.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
6/29/2015 3:25 pm

It seemed clear, however, that it really was he who had written the books that I had so loved, for Mme Swann having thought it incumbent upon her to tell him of my admiration for one of these, he showed no surprise that she should have mentioned this to him rather than to any other guest, and did not seem to regard it as due to a misapprehension, but, swelling out the frock-coat which he had put on in honour of all these distinguished guests with a body avid for the coming meal, while his mind was completely occupied by other, more important realities, it was only as at some finished episode in his life, and as though one had alluded to a costume as the Duc de Guise which he had worn, one season, at a fancy dress ball, that he smiled as he bore his mind back to the idea of his books; which at once began to fall in my estimation (bringing down with them the whole value of Beauty, of the world, of life itself), until they seemed to have been merely the casual recreation of a man with a goatee beard.

Within a Budding Grove Marcel Proust 1919, translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff, Terrence Kilmartin & revised by D. J. Enright in 1923, 1981 and 1992, p. 167.

What initially attracted me to the sentence above was the places it goes and the persons it visits in 200 words, but when I  re-read it, I realized there are better examples in À la recherche du temps perdu of a traveling syntax than this. However this sentence was more appropriate to Saint-Simon's portrait of the Duc de Villars quoted on page 170 of Within a Budding Grove that began with a memoir-like description, "He was a rather tall man, dark ..." but the end of the citation 

“... and to tell the truth, a trifle mad” 

adds variety and is unexpected. What Saint-Simon said of Villars, in a small way, pertains to the Narrator's reversal of opinion on Bergotte's work: the love (of his books) becomes a loss of estimation (of their value), upon being disappointed—if not shocked—by meeting the author who had "a red nose curled like a snail shell and a goatee beard." Bergotte in reality was so unlike the Narrator's idealized idea of him. 

The first volume of À la recherche du temps perdu was published in 1913 but Contre Sainte-Beuve—written earlier—was unpublished; it is where Proust refuted the noted literary criticism of Charles Augustin Sainte-Beuve (1804–69). From The Modernism Lab at Yale University:

Sainte-Beuve championed a biographical criticism that saw texts as morally and intellectually inseparable from their writers.

and, as one can see in regard to Bergottean idealized (inseparable by the Narrator)—yet imaginary—personal conception of the author particularly his physiognomy. Yet the story of the young Narrator is a bildungsroman that has a successful ending. Idealization is not unlike idolatry which Proust faulted Ruskin in his translation of The Bible of AmiensExamples of the young Narrator's idealization: think of his disappointment seeing Berma for the first time; think of him confessing to Elstir how wanting the Balbec church was when he finally saw it, etc.

What of the corrective storytelling by the Narrator as an older, reflective person of the foibles of his youth in regard to Berma. To reflect on these errors is to have dealt with them and to say as Lady Macbeth said, What's done is done.

Sainte-Beuve is quoted by Proust in Contre Sainte-Beuve which is included in Marcel Proust on Art and Literature: 1896–1919, by Sylvia Townsend Warner, p. 99.

So long as one has not asked an author a certain number of questions ... What were his religious views? How did he react to the sight of nature? How did he conduct himself in regard to women, in regard to money? Was he rich, was he poor?

Was he snail-shell nosed; did he have a goatee, etc? I wonder, am I correct in comparing the erroneous valuation process of the young Narrator to Sainte-Beuve—well maybe—but I do feel secure in applying the style of Saint-Simon to Proust such that the writing syntactically equates Villars with the Narrator. Anyway...

When Proust found the composite way of storytelling (the reflective Narrator) that he would use in the novel, he could write À la recherche du temps perdu as we know it.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
6/24/2015 5:17 pm

On page 98 of the Modern Library edition of Within a Budding Grove the Narrator, who was ill, received an invitation to tea from Gilberte. Her letter cheered him and was to become an object of reverie; like Leonardo said of painting, the letter was a cosa mentale. The Narrator longed for admittance to the Swann household and now the doors were open to him. When he received the letter he reread it every few minutes and kissed it.

Beginning the second volume of À la recherche du temps perdu, we notice that Swann has changed: among other things, he married Odette, he has a daughter, he's proud of the wives of lowly governmental ministers who call on his outcast wife and, contrary to his very discreet former-self, he has the "... habit of crying aloud from the house-tops the name of everyone he knew, however slightly ..." so says the Narrator's father.

But Swann is unchanged too. He is good and continues to be good over the years; he is probably the best and most consistent character in À la recherche du temps perdu. His goodness is apparent when we first meet him in Combray in the garden talking to the Narrator in Swann's Way, and it continues in the digression called Swann in Love (where he courts Odette) to his last appearance in the novel in Sodom and Gomorrah where he announces to the Duke and, the soon-to-be-red-shoed, Duchess his sickness and impending death. 

In Swann in Love he believed that if he waited until he no longer loved Odette, he will no longer be jealous and the vindictive actions he had planned when jealous will disappear as his love disappeared. We heard this reasoning then, and we hear it now,

But whereas at that other time he had made a vow that if ever he ceased to love the woman who, though he did not then know it, was to be his future wife, he would show her an implacable indifference that would at last be sincere, in order to avenge his pride that had so long been humiliated, now that he could enforce those reprisals without risk to himself (for what harm could it do him to be taken at his word and deprived of those intimate moments with Odette that had once been so necessary to him?), he no longer wished to do so; with his love had vanished the desire to show that he no longer loved.

Within a Budding Grove Marcel Proust 1919, translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff, Terrence Kilmartin & revised by D. J. Enright in 1923, 1981 and 1992, p. 134.

One could argue that Saint-Loup bests Swann as a good person. But late Saint-Loup is not the person he was earlier in Balbec—where we loved him. 

À la recherche du temps perdu is a delicate interweaving of facts and relations from its seven volumes. The reader becomes a detective and she discovers what Proust had in mind according to her social personalty...but only after a subsequent reading.

From the goodnight kiss episode in Swann's Way,

I imagined that Swann would have laughed heartily at it if he had read my letter and had guessed its purpose; whereas, on the contrary, as I was to learn in due course, a similar anguish had been the bane of his life for many years, and no one perhaps could have understood my feelings at that moment so well as he; to him, the anguish that comes from knowing that the creature one adores is in some place of enjoyment where oneself is not and cannot follow...

Swann's Way Marcel Proust 1913, translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff, Terrence Kilmartin & revised by D. J. Enright in 1923, 1981 and 1992, p. 40.

The young Narrator was sent upstairs; he was ostracized from his mother and her goodnight kiss the evening that Swann came to dine in Combray. (The Pain of Exclusion from Scientific American in DelanceyPlace is telling.)

Being excluded was what happened in Within a Budding Grove at Swann's house. With the Narrator in the drawing room, Gilberte would "often" go up to another room (for a reason that is not explained). By Gilberte's leaving, the Narrator experienced the empty, ostracized feeling that Swann had known courting Odette,

...the anguish that comes from knowing that the creature one adores is in some place of enjoyment where oneself is not and cannot follow...

Swann felt and knew the pain the Narrator suffered being a compassionate person; and I suspect, because of that, he confided the story of Swann in Love to him, if I may be so fictional.

From Within a Budding Grove

I was radiant with happiness in this house where Gilberte, when she was not yet with us, was about to appear and would bestow on me in a moment, and for hours to come, her speech, her smiling and attentive gaze as I had glimpsed it for the first time at Combray. At the most I was a trifle jealous when I saw her so often disappear into vast rooms above, reached by an interior staircase. Obliged myself to remain in the drawing-room, like a man in love with an actress who is confined to his stall and wonders anxiously what is going on behind the scenes, in the green-room, I put to Swann some artfully veiled questions with regard to this other part of the house, but in a tone from which I could not succeed in banishing a slight uneasiness. He explained to me that the room to which Gilberte had gone was the linen-room, offered to show it to me himself, and promised me that whenever Gilberte had occasion to go there again he would insist on her taking me with her. By these last words and the relief which they brought me, Swann at once abolished for me one of those terrifying inner perspectives at the end of which a woman with whom we are in love appears so remote. At that moment I felt for him an affection which I believed to be deeper than my affection for Gilberte. For he, his daughter’s master, was giving her to me, whereas she withheld herself at times; I had not the same direct control over her as I had indirectly through Swann. Besides, it was she whom I loved and whom I could not therefore see without that anxiety, without that desire for something more, which destroys in us, in the presence of the person we love, the sensation of loving.

Within a Budding Grove Marcel Proust 1919, translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff, Terrence Kilmartin & revised by D. J. Enright in 1923, 1981 and 1992, p. 138-139.

My emphasis.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
6/14/2015 12:21 pm

Bernard Palissy 1510-1590

On long drives I listen to À la recherche du temps perdu [Remembance of Things Past] read by Neville Jason on Audible.com and when I hear a passage that interests me, I bookmark it in the Naxos Edition and type a note to distinguish it from other bookmarks. At home, I replay the bookmarked portion and select a relatively unique search word but common enough to be included in both the Moncrieff translation—which Jason reads—and the Modern Library translation which is on my iPhone in a Kindle version. Searching for "shrimps", I found the passage below and this gave me the page number or location. On my iPhone, I emailed it to myself on my iMac so I could read it at my leisure on a larger screen or easily put it in my blog, etc.

Marcel Proust gives us aspects of fellow-feeling in a novel where homosexuality is an important topic. In the passage that I selected, he brackets a food description (food interests me being a farmer) with his description of men talking: they were sheltered from the others (the troopers who were dining there) by the imposing veils of one of those instinctive likings between men which, when they are not based on physical attraction, are the only kind that is altogether mysterious. I wanted Proust to elaborate further on these instinctive likings between men...perhaps he will later on.

The seafood in France is now called Fruits de Mer but it may have not been called that then; he likens the dish to the work of an interesting early French potter, whom I didn't know, Bernard Palissy.

Palissy failed to discover the secret of Chinese porcelain, but invented a style of rustic pottery, called "Palissy ware," for which he is now famous. The pottery is decorated with reliefs mimicking wildlife from Palissy's native Saintonge marshes, and includes fish, crustaceans, reptiles, ferns and flowers.

From Wikipedia.

~

At Doncières where Saint-Loup and his fellow troopers take their mess,

On the third evening, one of (Saint-Loup's) friends, to whom I had not had an opportunity of speaking before, conversed with me at great length; and at one point I overheard him telling Saint-Loup how much he was enjoying himself. And indeed we sat talking together almost the entire evening, leaving our glasses of Sauterne untouched on the table before us, separated, sheltered from the others by the imposing veils of one of those instinctive likings between men which, when they are not based on physical attraction, are the only kind that is altogether mysterious.

The Guermantes Way 1922 by Marcel Proust; translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff 1925, Terence Kilmartin and revised by D. J. Enright, p. 133.

I felt cut off—not only from the great icy darkness which stretched out into the distance and in which we could hear from time to time the whistle of a train which only accentuated the pleasure of being there, or the chimes of an hour still happily distant from that at which these young men would have to buckle on their sabres and go—but also from all external preoccupations, almost from the memory of Mme de Guermantes, by the kindness of Saint-Loup, to which that of his friends, reinforcing it, gave, so to speak, a greater solidity; by the warmth, too, of that little dining-room, by the savour of the exquisite dishes that were set before us. These gave as much pleasure to my imagination as to my palate; sometimes the little piece of nature from which they had been extracted, the rugged holy-water stoup of the oyster in which lingered a few drops of brackish water, or the gnarled stem, the yellowed branches of a bunch of grapes, still enveloped them, inedible, poetic and distant as a landscape, evoking as we dined successive images of a siesta in the shade of a vine or of an excursion on the sea; on other evenings it was the cook alone who brought out these original properties of the viands, presenting them in their natural setting, like works of art, and a fish cooked in a court-bouillon was brought in on a long earthenware platter, on which, standing out in relief on a bed of bluish herbs, intact but still contorted from having been dropped alive into boiling water, surrounded by a ring of satellite shell-fish, of animalcules, crabs, shrimps and mussels, it had the appearance of a ceramic dish by Bernard Palissy.

“I’m furiously jealous,” Saint-Loup said to me, half laughing, half in earnest, alluding to the interminable conversations apart which I had been having with his friend. “Is it because you find him more intelligent than me? Do you like him better than me? Ah, well, I suppose he’s everything now, and no one else is to have a look in!” (Men who are enormously in love with a woman, who live in a society of woman-lovers, allow themselves pleasantries which others, seeing less innocence in them, would never dare to contemplate.)

So rare Marcel. 

The Guermantes Way 1922 by Marcel Proust; translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff 1925, Terence Kilmartin and revised by D. J. Enright, p. 151.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
6/3/2015 5:42 pm

An abridged version of La mort des cathédrals was published in Pastiches et Mélanges 1919 by Marcel Proust. In 1948 Gerard Hopkins translated it as The Death of Cathedrals and included it in Marcel Proust, A Selection from his miscellaneous Writings.  

Here is a note by Marcel Proust on the abridgment included in Pastiches et Mélanges and translated by Gerard Hopkins:

This is the title of an essay which I once published in the Figaro, with the object of combatting one of the clauses in the Act which set the seal upon the Separation of Church and State. It was a mediocre affair, and I reprint here only a short extract from it, to show how, even after the shortest of intervals, words change their meanings; and how, in the twists and turns of life, we can no more foresee the future of nations than we can of individuals. When I spoke of death coming to the cathedrals, I feared that France was to be transformed into a beach strewn with vast heaps of chiseled shells, emptied of the life that once filled them, and no longer bringing to the listening ear the sounds that formerly they held; mere museum-pieces, frozen and dead. Ten years have passed. Death has come to the fabric of our Cathedrals at the hands of the German armies, but not to their spirit as the result of the activities of an anti-clerical Chamber which now stands solidly united with our patriot bishops. 

Marcel Proust, A Selection from his miscellaneous Writings 1948 by Gerard Hopkins is available at AbeBooks

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
5/26/2015 5:34 pm
Labels: Marcel Proust

At the age when Names, offering us an image of the unknowable which we have poured into their mould, while at the same moment connoting for us also a real place, force us accordingly to identify one with the other to such a point that we set out to seek in a city for a soul which it cannot enshrine but which we have no longer the power to expel from its name, it is not only to towns and rivers that they give an individuality, as do allegorical paintings, it is not only the physical universe which they speckle with differences, people with marvels, it is the social universe also; and so every historic house, in town or country, has its lady or its fairy, as every forest has its genie, every stream its deity.

The Guermantes Way 1922 by Marcel Proust; translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff 1925, Terence Kilmartin and revised by D. J. Enright, p. 3.

I noticed this sentence for its expressed impossibility. Listen to a fragment from it: "...offering us an image of the unknowable..." but offering us an image of the unknowable makes it known, on one handdoesn't it. Proust's syntax is from a mostly realistic novel, À la recherche du temps perdu. But on the other hand, we can normalize this fragment to not find it impossible and still we find it somewhat implausible with very correct but disparite meanings like the Narrator's loves for Albertine where, as some would say, he metaphorically plucks the petals of a daisy and muses, "I love her, I love her not..."

~

Proust discusses new art, specifically music he loved, Beethoven's Late Quartets:

The reason why a work of genius (art) is not easily admired from the first is that the man who has created it is extraordinary, that few other men resemble him. 

By this thought on Beethoven and others Proust makes on his fictional artists (Bergotte, Vinteuil, Elstir), I was reminded of the title of a 1980 book The Shock of the New by Robert Hughes. By the way, the book arrived today; I wonder if Hughes credits Proust with his concept or, much less, with his title; but perhaps the idea  predates Proust.

...

It was Beethoven’s quartets themselves (the Twelfth, Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth) that devoted half a century to forming, fashioning and enlarging the audience for Beethoven’s quartets, thus marking, like every great work of art, an advance if not in the quality of artists at least in the community of minds, largely composed today of what was not to be found when the work first appeared, that is to say of persons capable of appreciating it.

Within a Budding Grove 1919 by Marcel Proust; translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff 1922, Terence Kilmartin and revised by D. J. Enright, p. 142.

A "community of minds..."

~

With a wink, I subscribe to Groucho Marx's adage about clubs—that he wouldn't belong to any organization that would accept him as a member—yet, teasing aside, I have that specific Proustian difficulty—that of reading—I find little to read after reading Proust.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
5/22/2015 7:44 pm

At the age when Names, offering us an image of the unknowable which we have poured into their mould, while at the same moment connoting for us also a real place, force us accordingly to identify one with the other to such a point that we set out to seek in a city for a soul which it cannot enshrine but which we have no longer the power to expel from its name, it is not only to towns and rivers that they give an individuality, as do allegorical paintings, it is not only the physical universe which they speckle with differences, people with marvels, it is the social universe also; and so every historic house, in town or country, has its lady or its fairy, as every forest has its genie, every stream its deity.

The Guermantes Way Marcel Proust translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff 1925, Terence Kilmartin and revised by D. J. Enright, p. 3.

The bold face is used to mark the subject and the verb and it marks the predicate that makes the sentence periodic.

Last Saturday I was at the Coffee Shop on 16th Street and Union Square West and I said to Sharon Girard and Marcelita Swann, two charming Proustians, "I began reading Proust because he writes difficult sentences." 

O Sharon I do agree with you; to determine the subject and the verb of a sentence helps in understanding the meaning in some of Marcel Proust's sentences; in addition, when I started reading À la recherche du temps perdu, I broke the sentence down by its parentheticals (its modifiers, its phrases, its clauses: see below) as that made the identification of subject and verb easier and the sentence more understandable.

Proust's sentence is a period, (periodos = a circuit, a race course in Greek of the time) made famous by the Marcus Tullius Cicero (106 BC - 43 BC), and is not complete until "has its lady or its fairy" makes the meaning of the sentence.  

... the decline of the periodic sentence's popularity goes hand in hand with the development toward a less formal style, which some authors date to the beginning of the Romantic period (~1800) ...

From Wikipedia: Periodic sentence.

Marcel Proust's Les Plaisirs et les Jours (1896) was written more or less in the Romantic style; but let's go forward in time and backward at once before the Romantics into Proust's Grand Style writing of À la recherche du temps perdu (1913 - 1927).

 

At the age when Names,

offering us an image of the unknowable which we have poured into their mould,

while at the same moment connoting for us also a real place,

force us accordingly to identify one with the other to such a point that we set out to seek in a city for a soul which it cannot enshrine but which we have no longer the power to expel from its name,

it is not only to towns and rivers that they give an individuality,

as do allegorical paintings,

it is not only the physical universe which they speckle with differences,

people with marvels,

it is the social universe also;

and so every historic house,

in town or country,

has its lady or its fairy,

as every forest has its genie,

every stream its deity.

The Guermantes Way Marcel Proust translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff 1925, Terence Kilmartin and revised by D. J. Enright, p. 3.

Note that the 1st volume ends with the subsection entitled Noms de Pays: Le Nom and the 2nd volume ends with the subsection entitled Noms de Pays: Le Pays. We are in the 3rd volume and talk about Noms still, so important it was for Proust.

 

A l'âge où lesNoms, nous offrant l'image de l'inconnaissable que nous avons versé en eux, dans le même moment où ils désignent aussi pour nous un lieu réel, nous forcent par là à identifier l'un à l'autre au point que nous partons chercher dans une cité une âme qu'elle ne peut contenir mais que nous n'avons plus le pouvoir d'expulser de son nom, ce n'est pas seulement aux villes et aux fleuves qu'ils donnent une individualité, comme le font les peintures allégoriques, ce n'est pas seulement l'univers physique qu'ils diaprent de différences, qu'ils peuplent de merveilleux, c'est aussi l'univers social: alors chaque château, chaque hôtel ou palais fameux sa dame, ou sa fée, comme les forêts leurs génies et leurs divinités les eaux.

Le Côté de Guermantes Marcel Proust 1920, p. 3.

Posted by: Eugene Wyatt
5/19/2015 9:28 pm