Monday, October 06, 2008

sunflower, Marcel, ice-cream

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At this time of year the sunflowers, which I sowed in May, continue to produce blooms but progressively smaller and tidier.

Dave and Barrett's comments are encouraging. I am currently on page 662 of 1001 of the first of the three volumes in the Bibliotheque de la Pleiade edition. Proust is all absorbing (and often difficult) because so many layers of thought and observation are packed together in a single paragraph or a single sentence. (Very tortuous, as Barrett says, when the abstract is involved). Marcel has just stopped off at Balbec ,on his way to Balbec Plage, to visit the church for the first time. He has built it up in his mind to become something of almost mythical qualites, and his disappointment in the reality, like his initial disappointment, when previously he hears, for the first time the actress Berma perform, forms itself into a general reflexion, in which we can all share, of how our imaginations create an ideal state of existence, which reality seldom lives up to. When reading Proust, you keep encountering such reflections on relationships - on time, on taste on aesthetic matters -and you want to say: "Yes, isn't that true!" And you go on reading because you feel drawn into an intensely personal discourse, which seldom fails to have a general application, and to touch you personally, however far removed you may be from Marcel's world.

A small boy loses the last mouthful of ice cream from the stick which he holds in his hand. He jumps up and down beside the melting lump on the pavement. I know how he feels. I think of that sad song of which the refrain goes: "When you come to the end of the lollipop..."

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