Piazza San Marco, Venezia

Proust and Schubert, Captive

Proust’s The Fugitive has taken me captive. Though I am nearing its end, because of the nature of its style, Proust requires a slow and not always continuous reading. Towards its conclusion it gathers an extraordinary density to and within itself and, furthermore, an extraordinary disposition to the refulgence of mortal change, the observations liberated therein…

Marcel Proust

Exhaustion and Intoxication

“… while pretending not to have heard anything, and preserving in her fine eyes, ringed with dark shadows by the habit of listening to Debussy more than they would have been by that of sniffing cocaine, the exhausted look induced by musical intoxication alone, would revolve nevertheless behind her splendid brow, bulging with all those…

Rembrandt, drawing at a window. Self-portrait, 1648.

Self-portraits

“Each new doubt makes us feel that the limit has been reached, that we cannot cope with it; then we manage to find room for it all the same, and once it is introduced into the fabric of our lives it enters into competition there with so many longings to believe, so many reasons to…

Proust: From The Guermantes Way – Chapter One

… our cruellest adversaries are not those who contradict and try to convince us, but those who magnify or invent reports which are liable to distress us, taking care not to give them any appearance of justification which might lessen our pain and perhaps give us some slight regard for an attitude which they make…

Proust: From Within A Budding Grove

How Proust augurs, perhaps with presentiment based on experience of the present, a modern Presidential figure who speaks no known language. I have kept my introductory sentence to no more than 140 characters. It is true that even within [the walls of the Grand Hotel at Balbec-Plage] there were people who did not pay very…

My Moment with Proust – From Swann’s Way IV

A sliver of Casablanca recently had come to Robson Street in Vancouver’s West End, where I live. In the guise of a small restaurant owned and manned by a polyglot Moroccan chef who had wound his way from Marrakech through Italy, Germany, Montréal, Edmonton, to Vancouver, and, en route, acquired Arabic, French, Spanish, Italian, German, and…

From Swann’s Way III

“The process which had begun in her—and in her a little earlier only in than it must come to all of us—was the great and general renunciation which old age makes in preparation for death, the chrysalis stage of life, which may be observed wherever life has been unduly prolonged; even in old lovers who…

From Swann’s Way II

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…