From Swann’s Way II

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Asparagus

Just as one thinks, in the section on Combray, that this time Proust has gone on too long in one of his unpredictable meanderings with unpredictable interpolations, one comes to this:

“… but what fascinated me would be the asparagus, tinged with ultramarine and rosy pink which ran from their heads, finely stippled in mauve and azure, through a series of imperceptible changes to their white feet, still stained a little by the soil of their garden-bed: a rainbow-loveliness that was not of this world. I felt these celestial hues indicated the presence of exquisite creatures who had been pleased to assume vegetable form, who, through the disguise in this radiance of earliest dawn, these hinted rainbows, these blue evening shades, that precious quality 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 as the fairies in Shakespeare’s Dream) at transforming my humble chamber into a bower of aromatic perfume.”

I shall never regard asparagus quite the same way again; but anticipate I shall enjoy it even more.

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Puck, in the collection of the Universitat de València

“And those things do best please me / That befall preposterously.” – Puck, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, III.ii.120

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