Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A profound astonishment in their presence

The group of girls at the Balbec seashore who Marcel admired from afar for so long have accepted him into their company. They spend their days riding bicycles, playing games and exploring the resort where they are staying. Marcel loves them, and this is one of the few times in the long novel where is he happy and satisfied with his life.

"Such was for me this state of love divided among several girls at once. Divided, or rather undivided, for more often than not what was so delicious to me, different from the rest of the world, what was beginning to become so precious to me that the hope of encountering it again the next day was the greatest joy of my life, was rather the whole group of girls, taken as they were all together on those afternoons on the cliffs, during those wind-swept hours, upon the strip of grass on which were laid those forms, so exciting to my imagination, of Albertine, of Rosemonde, of Andree; and that without my being able to say which of them it was that made those scenes so precious to me, which of them I most wanted to love... Besides, as my perception of them was not yet dulled by familiarity, I still had the faculty of seeing them, that is to say of feeling a profound astonishment every time I found myself in their presence."

"Meanwhile, I had been thinking of the little page torn from a scribbling block which Albertine had handed me. 'I like you,' she had written. And an hour later, as I scrambled down the paths which led back, a little too vertically for my liking, to Balbec, I said to myself that it was with her that I would have my romance."


  1. Hi! I've just discovered your blog while looking for a picture of Botticelli's Zippora. I don't know if you can read spanish, but I think that maybe you'll be interested in my proust related project and blog ( I'm re-reading "In search of lost time", 10 pages a day, and writing on a daily manner about what I've just read. Thanks for your work on your excellent blog and greetings from Montevideo, Uruguay!

    1. Thanks, Ramiro! I am impressed by the scholarly merit of your Proust blog. Mine is just a hobby where I comment here and there on passages I find most interesting. Yours will be referenced for years to come by students and serious readers. Thanks for saying hello. Teresa