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"Vital And Not Logical"

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

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.