In Search of Lost Time 3-31-2022

So far I am enjoying the In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower (the second volume of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time) more than Swann’s Way (the first volume). In reflection, the first volume seems more like exposition. There are two main stories. The one about Swann and Odette had conflicts and concerns, and in the other not much happens. But it seems like it was necessary to write Swann’s Way for the second volume, which is much more interesting with more conflicts between characters and the narrator falling in love with Gilberte, the young girl of his fantasy. Thinking of which, there is what should have been considered a scandalous scene in literary history, but I don’t think it was perceived that way. When the narrator and Gilberte are playfully wrestling and flirting, the narrator got over excited and “shed my pleasure, before I even had time to be aware of the nature of it” (67). He prematurely ejaculated (as many young boys do), and Gilberte realized it. When Leopold Bloom, from Ulysses, ejaculated in his pants, it led to a court case about pornography in Ulysses, but as far as I’m aware, Proust suffered no such response. Nonetheless, it was a sweet scene as both he and Gilberte tried to pretend neither noticed. Gilberte then asked him if wanted to wrestle again, and he “agreed to wrestle with her again, in case she might think my only purpose, now achieved, had been the pleasure that left me feeling no desire other than to sit quietly beside her” (67).

I’ve gone off track, and there is so much to write about, such as the narrator’s ideas on space, time, and writing, as well as writing and love. Maybe I’ll do that in another post, but I must share the following.

Norpois is a respected diplomat and the narrator looks up to Norpois because he is smart and well read. The narrator gave Norpois something he wrote, and the great diplomat responded to the narrator:

But in the piece you showed me, one can detect Bergotte’s [a factious writer (based on Anatole France) the narrator admires] pernicious influence. Now, clearly, it come as no surprise to you to learn that it contained none of his better qualities, he being a past master in the art of a certain phase-making—though one should add, mind you, that it’s a shallow art—and you being a boy who cannot be expected to have grasped even the rudiments of that. Still, young as you are, it’s exactly the same defect, the aberration of stringing together a few fine-sounding words, and not finding any substance to put into them until afterward. (46-7)

Narpois then goes on to put down the narrator’s favorite writer even more. As a result, the narrator “was devastated by what M. de Norpois had said about the piece I had given him to read. . . . I became once more acutely aware of my own intellectual poverty and of the fact that I had no gift for writing.” (47). What Narpois did was crush the writing spirit and hopes in the young narrator. It’s very mean. I don’t think he was trying to be mean. Instead, I think he was showing off about how smart he is. But he’s one of those people who make themselves look smart by putting others down. In addition, I think he puts down Bergotte’s writing because he doesn’t like Bergotte the person, which, I think, is how literary criticism was often performed . . . and maybe it still is. 😁 However, he’s a diplomat, so you think he’d be better equipped to respond to a child. So if you ever want to ensure your kid never writes again, be sure to follow Norpois’s response. . . . Luckily, the narrator later on still wants to write.


Words of the Day:

sesquipedalianism (p. 30) — given to using long words. Containing many syllables. The word is its definition. 😀

fustian (p. 47) — (as it is used on this page): inflated or turgid language in writing or speaking. Pompous or bombastic, as language.

orbiter dicta (p. 57) — (Latin) passing remark, opinion.

lavabo (p. 65) — a French word that means “wash basin” or “water closet.” The note in the Notes section on page 537 reads: “The OED does not confirm that it has ever been used in English in the modern sense of ‘lavatory’.”

hypogean (p. 66) — underground, subterranean

toque (p. 66) — (pronounced tohk) a brimless and close fitting hat for woman in any of several shapes. Compare with the Canadian “tuque” (pronounced “took” rhymes with “fluke”), which is a knitted hat, traditionally made of wool and worn in the winter. And now I’m thinking about Strange Brew. Take off to the great white north.

porte cochére (p. 70) — a covered carriage entrance leading to a courtyard.

per viam rectam (pp. 73, 78) — by a straight/direct road. “By the right way.” I think this term will become important.

cosa mentale (p. 74) — mental occupation. DaVinci said, “pittura è una cosa mentale,” which translated is  “painting is a mental occupation.”

Reuters news agency (p. 92) — I’m sure we all know what this is, but did you know it was founded in Great Britain in 1851, which is 43 years before this volume is published.


Happy Hour Food and Drinks

This is a list of foods and drinks I have encountered so far in In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower, the second volume of In Search of Lost Time. I have noticed that foods and drinks occur in clumps, and there are more foods and drinks than in volume I, Swann’s Way.

beef in aspic (p. 17)

finest slabs of rump steak (p. 17)

the best shin of of beef and calf’s foot (p. 17)

a New York ham (p. 17)

York ham (p. 17)

ham (p. 17)

cheap wine (p. 23)

cold beef with carrots (p. 30)

aspic (p. 30, three times)

a dish of braised beef (p. 30)

carrots (p. 30)

beef Stroganoff (p. 30)

pineapple-and-truffle salad (p. 31)

Nesselrode pudding (p. 38). It’s “a Victorian ice-cream-style dessert packed full of chestnuts and fruit.” A recipe is here: https://www.historyextra.com/period/victorian/historical-recipe-nesselrode-pudding-2/.

cold beef (p. 57)

soufflés (p. 57 and 58)

beef jelly (p. 58)

jellies (p. 58)

custard (p. 58)

beef (p. 58)

gravy (p. 58)

jelly (p. 58)

cream (p. 58)

marrons glacés (p. 58) — a confection of chestnuts candied in sugar and glazed. Candied chestnuts. Here’s a recipe: https://www.curiouscuisiniere.com/marrons-glaces-candied-chestnuts/.

marrons déguisés (p. 58) — (marrons in disguise) sweet chestnuts coated in dark chocolate. Soft bites. Here’s a recipe: http://www.recettesdecuisine.tv/recette-r10764/marrons+deguises/recette+marrons+deguises.html.

spice cake (p. 59)

appetizing chop (p. 69)

caffeine (p. 69): “the caffeine already prescribed as an aid to my breathing.”

beer (p. 69)

champagne (p. 69)

brandy (p. 69): “I should have a drink of beer, champagne, or brandy each time I feel an attack coming on.” Man, I love this Doctor Cottard’s prescriptions. 😀

milk (p. 71 four times, p. 72 four times)

meat (p. 71)

alcohol (p. 71)

clear soup (p. 72)

broth (p. 72)

olé! au lait! (p. 72) — a delicious pun. 😀

tea (pp. 77, 80 five times, 81 three times, 119

chocolate cake (p. 79)

cake(s) (pp. 80 two times, 81 two times)

chocolate (p. 80)

Ninevite cake-castle (p. 80) — I’m not sure what it is, but someone decided to invent what it is here: http://insearchoftimetasted.blogspot.com/2009/02/tea-with-gilberte-dangerously-sweet.html.

scarlet fruit (p. 80)

toast (p. 81 two times)

eggs Béchamel (p. 100)

icy pink glaze (p. 100)

le pudding de Christmas (p. 101) — Christmas pudding

lobster à l’américaine (p. 112) — here’s a recipe: https://www.aftouch-cuisine.com/recipe/lobster-a-l-americaine-778.htm.

orangeade (p. 113)


0 Responses to “In Search of Lost Time 3-31-2022”

  1. Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The Cave (Winner of The Bitter Oleander Press Library of Poetry Book Award for 2013.)

The Cave

Material Matters

Poems for an Empty Church

Poems for an Empty Church

The Oldest Stone in the World

The Oldest Stone in the Wolrd

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Henri, Sophie, & The Hieratic Head of Ezra Pound: Poems Blasted from the Vortex

Pre-Dew Poems

Pre-Dew Poems

Negative Time

Negative Time

After Malagueña

After Malagueña

Enter your email address to subscribe to The Line Break and receive email notifications of new posts.

Join 3,267 other subscribers
March 2022


The Line Break Tweets

%d bloggers like this: