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read kindle ☆ Du côté de chez Swann ´ Paperback ò marcel proust ½ Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time is one of the most entertaining reading experiences in any language and arguably the finest novel of the twentieth century But since its original prewar translation there has been no comPart of the vast unfolding structure of In Search of Lost Time The first volume of the work that established Proust as one of the finest voices of the modern age satirical skeptical confiding and endlessly varied in its response to the human condition Swann's Way also stands on its own as a perfect rendering of a life in art of the past re created through memor Reading a book for the first time is a great exciting experience that packs a myriad of emotions and sensations you’re happy because of the joy of starting another journey anxious because of your expectations curious because of the reviews you've read or things you’ve heard about the story it’s something similar to going out on a first date where everything is novelty and if the book the person proves to be interesting indeed you want to find out and Once the initial excitement is over and the euphoria settles down once you know the story and you’re serious about your and their intentions it’s time to find out whether you can see yourself marrying that person less enchanted by what have come so far than by the valuable promises of what’s yet to come Do you want to commit and not commitment in the sense of obligations or compromising but as an alignment of expectations convergence of desires and companionship? Yes? Then you can re read the book you know the story you know the characters you know what it has given you so far but you feel there’s to absorb to learn That was my feeling when I decided to re read Swann's Way I wanted to extend my experience with it I needed to go through it all againMeeting the characters for a second first time made it possible for me to observe certain traits in them that perhaps by not being sure of which of those characters would become important in the narrative like when you meet someone and you not always can tell if they’re gonna be in your life for than that brief moment so you don’t pay them the deserved attention I didn’t register in my mind or that I never truly noticed and now after knowing and caring for them re reading their first words and the first time they were described had that same sensation you feel when opening a photo album from long ago and looking at the old pictures where you see how younger your friends were how they were thinner and had a different haircut Du côté de chez Swann was first released in 1913 with publications costs paid by Proust after it had been turned down by leading editors who had been offered the manuscript in longhandUpon the release of this first volume of the Recherche Marcel Proust was commanded for his wonderful effort I should say accomplishment really but his work was uestioned for having no structure at all Another positive aspect that reading Swann's Way for a second time provided me and that brought me great satisfaction was to note how there are no loose ends in Proust’s narrative and how it all comes together but only eventually and once you read it completely Sections that apparently I didn’t make much sense of in the first time or just imagined were there because of the writer’s recognized taste for digressions and lengthy inner monologues now appear clear to me as being essential to the work as being active and important parts of his story and giving me a sense of how well planned even from the conception and greatly executed everything was It’s all connected and bound together but I do agree it’s merely perceptible at firstThe general themes of the book are all mentioned in the first part Combray pt 1 or Overture in some editions in those glorious opening pages about the confusions one might feel between sleeping dreaming and being awake The section was masterfully inserted in the beginning of the book as Proust’s calling card for it works perfectly as a introduction to the marvelous unknown world outside of time that we’re about to enter Besides the innumerable meanings it has to the continuation of the story which was only accessible to me on this re read what I most appreciated about those first pages and I can remember the same sensation back when I first read them although the feeling was then wrapped by another even a stronger one that of the complexity it was for me to read to ‘decipher’ his long sentences and the meanings of his prose was how that confusion of falling asleep is something simple that everyone can relate to that everyone has felt at least a couple of times and yet it was so skillfully written that he was able to isolate to perfectly put into words such an ethereal volatile moment as if he gave a proper form to something that’s been known and felt but never seen like he painted the windIn addition to being such a beautiful overture and a perfect writing lesson that passage also stands strongly as a decisive metaphor for everything that’s yet to come as the drowsy narrator falls asleep and wakes up getting lost in between and trying to find himself to locate his whereabouts completely adrift in time and space so he will remain that way throughout most of the narrative of his life trying to find himself to know who and what he is resorting to numbing philosophical observations and deep self reflections on various subjects and his relations All the confusion of that seemingly regular moment also serves as a parallel to the work itself what is À la recherche du temps perdu an autobiography a romance a novel? And does it have to be or become one or any of those? Is it Proust speaking directly to me and if not who is this person saying “I”? With all of this uncertainty taking place at the beginning one might feel that the writer gathered all possible puzzles and doubts in the palm of his two hands and threw them in the air as if he was trying to pick them up in whatever order it was in which they landed on the floor; what is not clear just yet is that all of these riddles are interconnected like a spider web is and that instead of making a mess he only enlarged the scope so the connecting lines would become discernible and placed it all precisely as he needed things to beDuring one of the nights where the narrator reminisced about his past in bed trying to remember it voluntarily one outstanding scene came to him the goodnight kiss drama that would forever scar his life and alter his identity What Proust does in that renowned episode that speaks wonders about character presentation is to introduce us to the narrator’s personality to his nervous ways and delicate susceptible nature In that moment we witness an important discovery he makes about himself he becomes aware that he can’t resist or control his nervous impulses that he is oversensitive and the fact that his parents abdicated their authority only came as confirmation to his diagnosis This originated in him the paralyzing fear that he would never have any will or strength to achieve whatever he needed to or planned in his life What seems to be nothing than a simple moment where a spoiled child a brat disobeys and challenges his parents is indeed the beginning of a long lasting disorder that will be pivotal to the comprehension of the path the narrator walks in life up to the last moments of Time RegainedFor obvious reasons this piece was one he could easily remember but the remaining of his past experiences didn’t come to him as naturally Enter then the celebrated madeleine episode The sumptuous moment where the taste of a madeleine dipped in tea rekindles inside of him all the details from a lost time as if he was able to relive to grasp them is probably the part for which Proust and the Recherche are most known and recognized because of the involuntary memory incident; but it is in my opinion only a detail a pretty one that changes everything in the painting no doubt but still only a drop in the vast ocean he opens before us inviting us to sail away not that the episode isn’t once again wonderfully written it receives life while being read it comes alive out of the book just like the flowers the good folk of the village the parish church and the whole of Combray came out of his cup of tea But there is still so much to be explored to be appreciated and that eually deserves recognition this is one in a series of perfect brilliant moments in the first of seven volumes of a work’s life It is not the apex the climax although it brings the narrator and to his readers such a sense of happiness; but to single out this passage without what’s to come is to miss the point of Proust’s entire work as the narrator tells us uietly between parenthesis that ”he did not know yet and must long postpone the discovery of why this memory made him so happy” Just like him we must also wait to understand what this passage really meant in his lifeWith all of his remembrances at hand thanks to that singular taste of madeleine dipped in tea the narrator then unveils the enchanting alluring times he spent with his family in the small town of Combray This section Combray pt 2 is so ravishing and carries such a lovely warm feeling perhaps because of the importance that we attribute to those times because we know the impact it had on us so it’s completely relatable that even though of course my childhood memories does not correspond to those remembered and told I could still feel the magical aura and dive into the book as if I was his best friend visiting at Easter time listening to aunt Léonie’s talking with Françoise and trying to reassure her of her ultimate recovery; reading with him in the garden; and ultimately glimpsing his ambitions of becoming a writer My favorite part of my vacation was however walking with him both on the Méséglise and the Guermantes ways these two paths these two sides so separated from each other that they even reuire different doors to be accessed and beginning to understand the implications they would later have in the narrator’s fateThe next chapter Un Amour de Swann is an extensive and intensive comprehensive analysis of love and all of the feelings that come with it or derive from it or because of it Proust analyses every aspect of this happy glowing feeling that can turn into a malady dissecting everything putting every action under many different lights and observing them from different perspectives from the very beginning the reasons love appeared to how it grew to how it went sour and faded away It could easily and rightly be called Une étude de l’amour insteadThis narrative takes place years before the narrator was even born and it shows us the poignant relationship between Charles Swann and Odette de Crécy a relationship that will be paralleled by the narrator in years to come mostly everything on Swann's Way is set for important future developments I appreciate how realistic the approach for this love story was like it’s happened time and again in many relationships it begins with both parties involved going besides themselves to please each other doing things they normally wouldn’t in order to enchant the other not realizing that they wouldn’t be able to act that way forever to keep those promises and live up to that established pattern to what has come to be the expected It seems a common behavior to paint oneself in better colors to be nicer to be arranged in better lights while in the seduction phase and then once the work appears to be done once the goal has been achieved the lights are dimmed the cosmetics are off and enters the actor the true person behind the character; while perhaps this actor without the personage wouldn’t be as charming and therefore not enough for the enchanting act after love has happened it seems he's sufficient to keep it going The effort one made in order to seduce switches sides and becomes the effort the other has to make in order to break up which seems to be eually as challenging if not After Odette landed Swann and he fell for her she turns cold and distant leaving him jealous and wary His suspicions become so uncontrollable and consumes every little detail like an animal who’s been hungry for days and once being fed eats as much as it can less as a compensation for its starvation than to store food for not knowing when it would be able to eat again Swann’s ultimate desire is to possess Odette Possession not only physical but also psychological of the mind of the spirit and soul the obsessed lover wants to be inside of Odette’s body to know every single person she knew talked to or simply met from past and present times He needs to know her every thought as if it was possible to detach her scalp and pick up her brain like a woolen ball that once disentangled would become a long thread of readable sentences containing all of her opinions and ideas Swann seems so caught up in Odette’s spell that freeing himself looks and as something impossibleAfter shifting back years to the future still in the past though don’t lose yourself comes chapter 3 the last one Place Names The Name In this section like in the previous ones the narrator takes us on a journey through time beginning with his infatuation for Gilberte Swann’s daughter and their play dates on Champs Élysées passing through another moment that displays his poor health and ending while visiting again the Bois de Bologne many years after he went there daily to cross paths with her mother only this time he is disappointed and melancholic about the passing of time not as much as another jump in time will make him feel though but I’m getting too ahead in the narrative as that only happens in the last volume and the transformations he sees in the Bois and in the women’s dresses their hats and even in the cars What's interesting about this closing chapter is that it gives us concomitantly a taste of the past as the book title suggests the narrator seems to be really walking on Swann’s way or wearing his shoes for a clearer metaphor as we can see glimpses of the obsessive sick love Swann felt for Odette appearing on the young boy’s nervous nature on his reflections about this feeling that are already borderline crazy and also of the future of what’s to become of him and his visions of love of how he’ll evolve and deal with it all throughout his lifeAlthough it may seem we have nothing in common with a seemingly spoiled nervous child who lived and grew up in Paris than a century ago who breathed art and was constantly surrounded by paintings and classical music and that’s the point where my life and his diverges the most as I was not brought up with a strong art background and didn’t have a Swann to walk on his way still his maxims and reflections are so universal and relatable and one of the things that makes this possible is the fact that this almost anonymous narrator of whom we have no physical descriptions and that expresses his thoughts by saying “I” to the point of when you read them out loud they become your own opinions acting almost as a mirror to ourselves are so relevant and adaptable to our simple ordinary every day situations that reading him is like reading myself Proust’s writing produces recognition I thought this would be a much slower read; I planned to let the book dictate its own pace and take as much time as needed to get through this second read for I had a feeling this was how it would go However the fluidity of the text don’t laugh at me that does come once you get used to his style and the familiarity with the themes characters and places ended up speeding things up even though this time around I made a point of re reading than once entirely my favorite passages and highlighting all of my favorite uotes For having already read these 3000 pages of the Recherche once and precisely because of this intimidating length the only promise I made was to re read Swann's Way although I did feel the lingering desire to re read everything But I imagined that I would be better euipped in making that decision after reading the first volume And now I know I can’t stop I'll proceed with a full re readThere’s a film adaptation of Un Amour de Swann from 1984 directed by Volker Schlöndorff and starring Jeremy Irons and Alain Delon Despite its name it does borrow scenes characters and episodes from the other volumes not confiding itself strictly to chapter 2 of this book so be advised of spoilers As it freuently happens when books are adapted into films especially ones we know so well it wasn’t uite what I expected and had in mind perhaps I’m too influenced by the narrator in finding out things don’t live up to my expectations and the real never uite compare to the imagined M Swann I had in mind suffered struggled than he did in the film I missed the raw sentiment I felt while reading the narrative and of course many of his analysis and favorite uotes weren’t includedRating I’m beyond ecstatic that even though Proust was immoderate with his money he still had some funds to pay for the publication of this volume that was at first overlooked by publishers but that later became the first part the seed of many wonderful things yet to grow and delight readers all around the world in the subseuent volumes of this classic masterpiece of literature For a magnificent first volume that I would let’s be honest that I will read yet one time 5 stars For my re reading experience of the entire À la recherche du temps perduVol 1 Swann's Way ★★★★★ reviewVol 2 In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower ★★★★★ reviewVol 3 The Guermantes Way reviewVol 4 Sodom and Gomorrah reviewVol 5 La Prisonnière The Captive reviewVol 6 Albertine disparue The Fugivite reviewVol 7 Time Regained review

text é Du côté de chez Swann Ó Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust's In Search of Lost Time is one of the most entertaining reading experiences in any language and arguably the finest novel of the twentieth century But since its original prewar translation there has been no completely new version in English Now Penguin brings Proust's masterpiece to new audiences throughout the world beginning with Lydia Davis's inte ”At the hour when I usually went downstairs to find out what there was for dinnerI would stop by the table where the kitchen maid had shelled them to inspect the platoons of peas drawn up in ranks and numbered like little green marbles ready for a game; but what most enraptured me were the asparagus tinged with ultramarine and pink which shaded their heads finely stippled in mauve and azure through a series of imperceptible gradations to their white feet still stained a little by the soil of their garden bed with an iridescence that was not of this world I felt that these celestial hues indicated the presence of exuisite creatures who had been pleased to assume vegetable form and who through the disguise of their firm comestible flesh allowed me to discern in this radiance of earliest dawn these hinted rainbows these blue evening shades that precious uality which I should recognize again when all night long after a dinner at which I had partaken of them they played lyrical and coarse in their jesting like one of Shakespeare’s fairies at transforming my chamber pot into a vase of aromatic perfume” The you look at asparagus the odder and wonderful they lookNow anyone can see beauty in the Pacific Ocean in the Rocky Mountains in the New York Skyline or in a Turkish spice market but not everyone looks at asparagus and sees beauty Proust looks at this unusual looking vegetable and sees so much than just his next meal He sees rainbows mythical creatures and an explosion of radiant colors He inhales their aroma as they exit his body as well Their final gift to his senses When we see an asparagus and see so much than just an asparagus; life however small or however large becomes a kaleidoscope of adventure It is wise to see beauty in the smallest things Our narrator although I can not distinguish him from Proust; so therefore I will continue to think of them as one and the same is a reader So much so that his parents have to insist that he do something in the fresh air before he buries himself in his books for the rest of the day Many of us can identify with that desire that indulgence if I may that would allow us to spend a day in bed reading Even the best jobs can not compete with the worlds to be experienced in books or for that matter with our favorite sheets our fluffy pillows and our washed a hundred times comforter ”I always returned with an unconfessed gluttony to wallow in the central glutinous insipid indigestible and fruity smell of the flowered bedspread”He loves his momma In fact bedtime is one of his favorite points in the day where he waits with great anticipation for the moment when his mom slips in to kiss him goodnight He will even risk the ire of his father to elicit this kiss if he feels his mother is distracted by guests or may believe she can skip this all important much awaited brush of her lips to close the day Marcel Proust he loves his momma and there ain't nothing wrong with thatHe meets a girl Gilberte the daughter of Swann a man who drifts in and out of his family affairs A man who becomes an obsession of our narrator As he pursues the daughter he also pursues the story of her father Swann meets a woman named Odette de Crecy She in the beginning is much enad with him than he is with her ”She had struck Swann not certainly as being devoid of beauty but as endowed with a kind of beauty which left him indifferent which aroused in him no desire which gave him indeed a sort of physical repulsion as one of those women of whom all of us can cite examples different for each of us who are the converse of the type which our senses demand”Swann looks at her the way we do when we are first analyzing a potential mate overcritical in a Seinfeldesue manner ”Her profile was too sharp her skin too delicate her cheekbones were too prominent her features too tightly drawn to be attractive to him Her eyes were beautiful but so large they seemed to droop beneath their own weight strained the rest of her face and always made her appear unwell or in a bad mood”As they are thrown together at the same parties and Odette continues to pursue him his opinion of her changes although reluctantly He keeps a little seamstress as almost a counter weight to his relationship with Odette ”But Swann told himself that if he could make Odette feel by consenting to meet her only after dinner that there were only pleasures which he preferred to that of her company then the desire that she felt for his would be all the longer in reaching the point of satiety Besides as he infinitely preferred to Odette’s style of beauty that of a young seamstress as fresh and plump as a rose with whom he was smitten he preferred to spend the first part of the evening with her knowing that he was sure to see Odette later on”Swann begins to see her beauty differently and we the reader can start to feel the shift in affections ”Standing there beside him her loosened hair flowing down her cheeks bending one knee in a slightly balletic pose in order to be able to lean without effort over the picture at which she was gazing her head on one side with those great eyes of hers which seemed so tired and sullen when there was nothing to animate her she struck Swann by her resemblance to the figure of Zipporah Jethro’s daughter which is to be seen in the Sistine frescoes” Botticelli's ZipporahHe realizes that despite his best efforts he is falling in love with her or accurately of an ideal version of her His resistance has crumbled ”And it was Swann who before she allowed it as though in spite of herself to fall upon his lips held it back for a moment longer at a little distance between his hands He had wanted to leave time for his mind to catch up with him to recognize the dream which it had so long cherished and to assist at it’s realization like a relative invited as a spectator when a prize is given to a child of whom she has been especially fond Perhaps too he was fixed upon the face of Odette not yet possessed nor even kissed by him which he was seeing for the last time the comprehensive gaze with which on the day of his departure a traveller hopes to bear away with him in memory a landscape he is leaving for ever”Sigh Swann is in love It is really an interesting roller coaster that Proust takes us on with this relationship At first I felt that Swann was being rather unchivalrous with Odette and unduly harsh but then as Odette pursues him I start to feel like maybe his first reaction to her was the proper evaluation As he falls into pit after pit of jealousy both become mired in a relationship that probably never should have started As his passion increases her ardour for him cools He has turned a corner in the relationship that blocks his view of the road that would take him away from Odette ”And this malady which Swann’s love had become had so proliferated was so closely interwoven with all his habits with all his actions with his thoughts his health his sleep his life even with what he hoped for after his death was so utterly inseparable from him that it would have been impossible to eradicate it without almost entirely destroying him; as surgeons say his love was no longer operable” In each of their gardens the moonlight copying the art of Hubert Robert scattered its broken staircases of white marble its fountains its iron gates tempting ajar All that was left of it was a column half shattered but preserving the beauty of a ruin which endures for all timeA character a friend of Swann’s named Princesse des Laumes shows up in the later pages of the book and I wish she’d had a bigger role I want to share a bit of conversation she has with a General about Mme de Cambremer ”Oh but Cambremer is a uite a good name old too” protested the General“I see no objection to its being old” the Princess answered dryly “but whatever else it is it’s not euphonious” she went on isolating the word euphonious as though between inverted commas a little affection to which the Guermantes set were addictedDo you hear just a bit of the Dowager Countess Lady Grantham in that exchange? Swann finds himself unhappily happily in love ”he said to himself that people did not know when they were unhappy that one is never as happy as one thinks” I will counter that to say that rarely are people aware of how happy they are either He may have been as happy as he was ever going to be when he was cuddling with his seamstress Our narrator sees Odette long after all the negotiations passions and pain have passed with her relationship with Swann ”I doffed my hat to her with so lavish so prolonged a gesture that she could not repress a smile People laughed As for her she had never seen me with Gilberte she did not know my name but I was for her like one of the keepers in the Bois or the boatman or the ducks on the lake to which she threw scraps of bread one of the minor personages familiar nameless as devoid of individual character as a stage hand in a theatre of her daily walks in the Bois”There are those books that once finished inspire the reader to turn back to the first page and start again This is one of those books for me It does not feel like a 600 novel Once you are sucked into the story which for different readers begins at different points the pages will seem to fly by I finished this in the midst of the recent snowstorm in Kansas City The blizzard provided the proper isolation for me to devote my total attention to the final 200 pages If you are finding Proust difficult I might suggest starting with the section called Swann in Love I know odd to think of reading a book out of order but this is one of the few books that you actually can If you enjoy that section then you can go back and read the rest after all at that point as they say in poker you are pot committed I may still be in a Proust glow but I must say for me this fits the bill of a masterpiece I’m in awe of the Proustian insights into human behavior and his uniue and inspiring way to see the world around us More Proust please

Marcel Proust Ó Du côté de chez Swann reader

Du côté de chez SwannRnationally acclaimed translation of the first volume Swann's Way Swann's Way is one of the preeminent novels of childhood a sensitive boy's impressions of his family and neighbors all brought dazzlingly back to life years later by the taste of a madeleine It also enfolds the short novel Swann in Love an incomparable study of sexual jealousy that becomes a crucial Childhood ExpectationsThe Delphic maxim Nosce te ipsum Know thyself is the motivating force not only of Western philosophy and Christian theology but of much of Western literature All of the volumes of In Search of Lost Time are an experiment in self understanding an experiment which incorporates something that is left out of much of modern science particularly psychological science namely the concept of purposefulness Purposefulness is the capacity to consider purpose rather than the adoption of any specific purpose It is a concept which is difficult to grasp and to live with since it easily deteriorates into some specific purpose through the sheer frustration with the unsettlement it provokes The most startling characteristic of Swann’s Way is Proust’s dogged refusal to subvert purposefulness to purposeAbout 20 years ago I was asked to give a speech at a meeting of the Italian Bankers Association At the dinner afterwards I was seated next to the chairman of the Banco Agricultura a charming man of approximately seventy who as many Italian businessmen had a very different social manner than most Northern Europeans Instead of spending ten minutes on pleasantries leading to a serious business conversation the chairman reversed conventional priorities after ten minutes of business oriented chit chat he signalled an end to that portion of our conversation with the line “You know I think Freud had it entirely wrong” A bit taken aback but intrigued by his change of tack I asked how so “According to Freud we all go through traumas when we are young that we have to live through for the rest of our lives” He replied and continued “My experience is completely different I believe that we all make fundamental decisions about ourselves that we try to live up to for the rest of our lives” He then went on to explain how he a scientist by training had ended up in banking as the correct expression of his childhood decisionClearly only the very rare and probably incipiently psychotic child would be able to take a such a decision about himself to become a banker So I was somewhat sceptical about the chairman’s rationale until I watched an instalment of the British ITV programme originally entitled 7 Plus See postscript below; the final instalment is nigh This programme followed the lives of a dozen or so Britons beginning at age seven at subseuent intervals of seven years to my uncertain knowledge the next instalment should capture them at age 63 In the early years the children are clearly both inexperienced and inarticulate as would be expected Yet they make statements which are also clearly reflective of their later experienced and articulate selves Some are uncanny a seven year old Yorkshire lad herding cattle in his remote family farm asked by the interviewer what he wants to do when he grows up replies “I want to know everything about het moon” By his mid thirties he had become a prominent astrophysicist The association between most childhood statements and life outcomes are far subtle than this but almost all correlate to such a degree that one can match young to old merely on the basis of what the children and adults say and do rather than their physical statesThe ITV programme is obviously anecdotal rather than scientific but I nevertheless I find it compelling Alfred Whitehead observed that we are all born either Platonists or Aristotelians As with religious faith we cannot verify either position except by adopting it Confirming evidence flows from the choice not vice versa Proust knows thisThe facts of life do not penetrate to the sphere in which our beliefs are cherished; they did not engender those beliefs and they are powerless to destroy them; they can inflict on them continual blows of contradictions and disproof without weakening them; and an avalanche of miseries and maladies succeeding one another without interruption in the bosom of a family will not make it lose its faith in either the clemency of its God or the capacity of its physicianSo where do these beliefs not just Platonic and Aristotelian but all important beliefs particularly about purpose come from? Do we actually decide these beliefs in some sort of analysis and process of verification as rationalists suggest is ‘rational’? Or do they emerge incrementally from our actual experience in the world shaping us through an appreciation of ‘the facts’ as empiricists insist? Is anyone really driving the bus at all?For Proust the impetus to action is vague and ambiguous intention not specific causal stimulus not even the ‘future cause’ of a defined purpose; his cosmos is Platonic and idealistic rather than Aristotelian and material; his theology is that of a Bonaventure who finds infinite significance in small things not of a Thomas Auinas who looks to the cosmos for confirmation of the divine; for him the mind is better described by Jungian archetypes than Freudian phobias There is also a profound twist in Proust’s apparent modernism His intense romantic self consciousness the drive to understand oneself through feelings leads to something unexpected and very post modern the recognition that the unconscious is indistinguishable from reality a reality which is created The realm of the particular and individual those parts of the world with proper names like cities and people can't be pinned down We can't be sure where things begin and end including ourselves Our inability to distinguish the particular Kantian thing in itself from what we think of it can even make us ill as Marcel discovers in the book's final part Even profoundly the Self our consciousness combined with this reality is indistinguishable from God As God is infinite and infinitely ‘beyond’ our ability to understand so too the Self That the Self is inherently unknowable except as a direction of search is a conclusion he reaches again and again in Swann’s Way Every feeling is traced through memory until memory merely points further without a material reference When memory stops at objects without recognising the transcendent reality Marcel finds himself in errorNo doubt by virtue of having permanently and indissolubly united so many different impressions in my mind simply because they made me experience them at the same time the Meseglise and Guermantes ways left me exposed in later life to much disillusionment and even to many mistakes For often I have wished to see a person again without realising that it was simply because that person recalled to me a hedge of hawthorne in blossomThis is also the eponymous Swann's fate In attaching the 'signs' of an emotionally moving indeed transformative musical phrase authored significantly by a resident not of Swann's Way but the other path the Guermantes Way in Combray and a female figure in a Botticelli painting Botticelli shared with Swann an ambivalence about commitment in relationship to the person of Odette Swann creates a false reality The music indicates a distant ideal Swann regardsmusical motifs as actual ideas of another world of another order ideas veiled in shadow unknown impenetrable to the human mind but none the less perfectly distinct from one another uneual among themselves in value and significanceHis compulsion to fill the void between these aesthetic ideals which he recognises as divine and his concrete situation with whatever is at hand is overpowering The result is an apparently disastrous confusion and self imposed delusion Swann emerges in Proust's text as an avatar of Saint Augustine knowing that he is over valuing the object of his desire yet unwilling to cease digging the spiritual pit in which he finds himself The second half of the book which is entirely third party narrative uses this tale of destruction as a sort of case study of the theory developed in the first which is entirely introspective and associative There are constant reminders throughout that the map which indicates the direction toward the ideal is not its territory On a short coach trip during childhood with the local doctor for example Marcel recalls the comforting sight of three village church steeples Why are they comforting? The scene is pastoral at sunset but minutely crafted analysis gives no clear reason for either the importance of the memory or the intensity of the feeling Nevertheless there is something there just out of sight obscurely attractive just beyond the steeples It is what lies beyond behind this image that is the source of its power His imagery of women is similarly and explicitly archetypal Sometimes in the afternoon sky the moon would creep up white as a cloud furtive lustreless suggesting an ancient actress who does not have to come on for a while and watches the rest of the company for a moment from the auditorium in her ordinary clothes keeping in the background not wishing to attract attention to herselfOften he presents the naked image leaving it without comment except that he considers it significant enough to write about The evocation simply echoes in this exampleHere and there in the distance in a landscape which in the failing light and saturated atmosphere resembled a seascape rather a few solitary houses clinging to the lower slopes of a hill plunged in watery darkness shone out like little boats which have folded their sails and ride at anchor all night upon the seaProust often uses grammar to make his point about the obscure reality of these ‘strange attractors’ as they are called in the modern theory of chaos In describing a meadow by the River Vivonne in CombrayFor the buttercups grew past numbering in this spot where they had chosen for their games among the grass standing singly in couples in whole companies yellow as the yolk of eggs and glowing with an added lustre I felt because being powerless to consummate with my palate the pleasures which the sight of them never failed to give me I would let it accumulate as my eyes ranged over their golden expanse until it became potent enough to produce an effect of absolute purposeless beauty; and so it had been from my earliest childhood when from the towpath I had stretched out my arms towards them before I could even properly spell their charming name a name fit for the Prince in some fairy tale immigrants perhaps from Asia centuries ago but naturalised now for ever in the village satisfied with their modest horizon rejoicing in the sunshine and the water's edge faithful to their little glimpse of the railway station yet keeping none the less like some of our old paintings in their plebeian simplicity a poetic scintillation from the golden EastThe sheer length and complexity of the sentence combined with the ambiguity of the referents of many of the pronouns and the allusions to a mysterious Asian past are components of his monumental experiment to express that which is just beyond the reach of expression Its density is poetic but it is not poetry It is a new genre In it Proust makes the search for the Platonic ideal visible by subverting literary habits but no so much as to make the text incomprehensibleLife then for Marcel is a search in which habits may provide comfort security and facile communication peace even but inhibit discovery of what one is By simply accepting our habitual responses to events as obvious or inevitable we short circuit the investigation of why and how they should be as they are In particular this applies to habits of thought methods if you will our ways of dealing with the emotional world There is no essential method not just for psychology but for thought in general Both the Meseglise Way and the Guermantes Way are essential to one’s formation to use a term from religious development Proust’s implicit proposal is that there is an emotional epistemology which is the heart of human purposefulness but that this epistemology excludes nothing It ‘sweeps in’ everything it can using every approach it can imagineProust’s implicit contention is that what is important in adult life is decided in early conscious life which adult life then induces us to make unconscious thus confirming the chairman of the Banco Agricultural and Freud of whom Proust was ignorant as well as the producers of ITV But like the chairman and unlike Freud Proust appreciated this as a positive necessity For him human beings are creative idealists who become oriented to a certain configuration of not just how the world is but how it ought to be Appreciating the source of this phenomenon is what he is about Proust's ‘therapy’ is not Freudian since he seeks neither to neutralise the motivational effect of childhood ideals nor to subject these ideals to some sort of choice His intention is to further articulate and explore what the ideals might be indeed what we might be behind the veil of appearances The ideals created in childhood are after all as the chairman said what we actually are But the ITV children suggest contrary to the chairman's opinion that these ideals are not deterministic There are any number perhaps an infinite number of ways through which ideals may be interpreted and approached Only afterwards can the creativity of the individual be discerned This is the domain of choice and learning Nosce te ipsum does not imply therefore an analytic understanding of one's desires But without some sort of reflective assessment these desires feelings aversions remain unappreciated as does conseuently the Self in which they occur and which they constitute These desires are created in youth not as specific neurotic fixations but as memories and responses to a vague inarticulate presence essence perhaps which is just behind just beyond what we perceive and what we can express This knowledge is essential because without it we are liable to pursue ineffective paths; but it is also useless because it will bring us no closer to the real content of the ideal Neither the past nor the Self can ever be found or recovered houses roads avenues are as fugitive alas as the years But they can be appreciated 'Worldly' desires those conventions of society are forceful but sterile once achieved love social position power wealth and do not really create that which ought to be because that which ought to be is irretrievable For Proust as for Augustine each of us is a Citizen Kane pursuing an ideal we can know only faintly often through inappropriate means The Rosebud is our uniue possession – or properly a sign to its hidden meaning and it is the only possession we needIn his 1651 publication of The Leviathan Thomas Hobbes makes an intentional mistranslation of Nosce te ipsum ‘Read thyself’ is how he prefers the classic maxim in English When we read we are forced to interpret to bring ourselves into the text When our interpretation becomes a text which it must if it is articulated that too is subject to interpretation And so on ad infinitum As the philosopher Richard Rorty famously uipped it’s interpretation all the way down There is no terminal point of truth in a text nor is there a true Self just as there is no foundation in terms of first principles for thought The post modern position reckons our job as one of permanent interpretation an un ending search for the truth – about the world as well as ourselves Hobbes had the insight that we are texts to be read and interpreted Proust demonstrates how this is done The fact that the horizon recedes at the same pace as it is approached doesn't invalidate the task Goal orientation according to psychologists therapists and management consultants is a desirable human trait This is demonstrably false Goal orientation is a neurosis involving the fixation of purpose regardless of conseuences It implies a wilful rejection of the possibility of learning through experienceThe most vital experience is not about learning how to do something techniue; but learning about what is important to do value Loyalty to purpose is a betrayal of purposefulness of what constitutes being human This is a prevailing poison in modern society Proust understood this toxin and without even giving it a name formulated the cure This for me is the real value of Swann's WayPostscript 26May19