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married, Odette de Crécy, is told at length. At first it seems to have no relation to the consciousness of the narrator; it must have taken place before he was even born. But, although the history of Swann and Odette cannot have been obtained by any exploration of the mental hinterland such as yielded the first part of the story, it becomes apparent that the behaviour of Swann's mind during his love-affair is governed by the same laws that operated in the writer's rediscovery of his childhood. While Swann's passion for Odette grows, hers for him cools; but, in the midst of his agony, his knowledge and memory of their love seem to have dissolved. Sentit et excruciatur'; but what he has lost he cannot tell, until one night he goes to a musical evening in the Faubourg St Germain. If we had to choose a single episode from M. Proust's enormous book as a sample of the whole, it would be the twenty odd pages describing this evening. In a sense they are too good to be truly representative; but every quality that can be found in them will be found in a more or less concentrated form throughout the work. But, whereas in the rest of the book they are often, as it were, held in solution, here they are solidified into crystals.

That complete projection of the sensibility which distinguishes great literature is here beautifully accomplished. Since it is impossible to continue the description of M. Proust's book at length, we may try to give an account of this episode.

Swann, the darling of the most exclusive Parisian society, preoccupied with his love for Odette, has given up frequenting it. When he enters Mme de Ste Euverte's house on this evening, what was once familiar has become strange to him. He finds himself in an alien universe. Of the multitude of lackeys on the stairs, each one appears to him mysterious, and evokes in him an image, from the first who, in approaching him, semblait témoigner du mépris pour sa personne, et des égards pour son chapeau.' At last with an accumulated sense of strangeness he enters the salon. He sees a number of once familiar friends, like himself wearing monocles. But to-night their monocles, instead of passing unnoticed, are peculiar; General de Froberville's seems like "a wound that it was glorious to receive but indecent to display, the Marquis of Forestelle's 'a superfluous



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cartilage whose presence was inexplicable and material precious'; while M. de Palancy's 'grosse tête de carpe aux yeux ronds ... avait l'air de transporter seulement avec lui un fragment accidentel et peut-être purement symbolique du vitrage de son aquarium.' By these curious and striking images we are made to feel how utterly foreign to Swann is become his once habitual environment. He stands near by a fashionable lady, Mme de Franquetot, and her country cousin, Mme de Cambremer, and watches their strange contortions to mark their interest in the music. Then the feelings of Mme de Gallardon, a connexion of the Guermantes, are described. Then the young Princesse de Laumes, soon to be

, the Duchesse de Guermantes, enters. Mme de Gallardon makes a not too successful attempt to enter into conversation with her, and is snubbed. M. de Froberville tries to be introduced to Mme de Cambremer's daughter-inlaw. The Princesse de Laumes shows her contempt for the princes of the Empire, and catches sight of Swann. He refuses her invitation to Guermantes, introduces Froberville to young Mme de Cambremer, and longs to bury himself in this place où Odette ne viendrait jamais,

' où personne, où rien ne la connaissait, d'où elle était entièrement absente.'

Suddenly the pianist begins a sonata, and Swann hears a little musical phrase to which he and Odette had listened together in the salon where they used continually to meet.

*Et avant que Swann eût eu le temps de comprendre, et de se dire: “C'est la petit phrase de la sonate de Vinteuil, n'écoutons pas !” tous ses souvenirs du temps où Odette était éprise de lui, et qu'il avait réussi jusqu'à ce jour à maintenir invisibles dans les profondeurs de son être, trompés par ce brusque rayon du temps d'amour qu'ils crurent revenu, s'étaient réveillés, et, à tire d'aile, étaient remontés lui chanter éperdument, sans pitié pour son infortune présente, les refrains oubliés du bonheur.' All the particularity of his love returns with a stab; in a moment of time he recalls every incident of it.

• Et Swann aperçut, immobile en face de ce bonheur revécu, un malheureux qui lui fit pitié parce qu'il ne le reconnut pas tout de suite, si bien qu'il dut baisser les yeux pour qu'on ne vît pas qu'ils étaient pleins de larmes. C'était lui-même.

Quand il l'eut compris, sa pitié cessa, mais il fut jaloux de l'autre lui-même qu'elle avait aimé, il fut jaloux de ceux dont il s'était dit souvent sans trop souffrir, “ elle les aime peut-être,” maintenant qu'il avait échangé l'idée vague d'aimer, dans laquelle il n'y a pas d'amour, contre les pétales du chrysanthème et l'"en tête" de la Maison d'Or qui, eux, en étaient pleins. Puis sa souffrance devenant trop vive, il passa sa main sur son front, laissa tomber son monocle, en ossuya le verre. Et sans doute s'il s'était vu a ce moment-là, il eût ajouté à la collection de ceux qu'il avait distingués le monocle qu'il déplaçait comme une pensée importune et sur la face embuée duquel, avec un mouchoir, il cherchait à effacer des soucis.'

After the section of which this episode is the culmination, the narrative returns, apparently for good, to the growing consciousness of the boy. His adolescent love for Swann's daughter; his visit to the Brittany seaside at Balbec where he meets another love, Albertine, and one of the less fashionable but authentic Guermantes, Mme de Villeparisis, and her nephew, Robert de SaintLoup, who becomes his intimate friend; the death of his grandmother; his entry into the central shrine of the Guermantes by dining with the Duchess herself; his encounter with yet another Guermantes, M. de Charlusthese incidents are the bare skeleton of the three following volumes. But they are treated with such a wealth of psychological detail that a summary of the incidents, however lengthy, could only be misleading.

We may leave aside provisionally the problem of M. Proust's deeper intention, confining ourselves to the suggestion that his literary purpose has perhaps changed or developed in the course of his narrative ; for if, as it seems, his main object is to record the growth of a modern consciousness, the brilliant episode of Swann's love-affair, which can never have been present to that consciousness, is in spite of its value in itself an alien element. Moreover, the long and masterly description of the dinner-party at the Duchesse de Guermantes' also exists independently rather than in relation to the young man's consciousness. He was, in fact, present at the dinner-party, but we do not feel his presence there; we do not perceive the company through his mind. And this objection will hold good still, even if we regard the scheme of the narrative so far as the successive contrasts between the dream and the reality of Swann and the dream and the reality of Guermantes. M. Proust seems at times to waver undecided between the psychological history of a modern mentality and an anatomy of modern society.

Nevertheless, it is better to admit that on a canvas so large a strict subordination of every part to the literary purpose of the whole is not to be expected. We are conscious that a single sensibility pervades all the parts, even though the power of projecting it so completely as in the episodes of the musical evening and the death of the grandmother is intermittent. And this sensibility is our chief concern. The underlying motive which animates, or the law which governs it, is that which appears so plainly in the first volume-the dependence of memory and mental life as a whole upon association. Without the taste of madeleine, the boy's past at Combray, without the 'petite phrase,' Swann's knowledge of the realities of his love for Odette would have been sunk in the dark backward and abysm of time. This psychological fact at once governs the conduct of the narrative itself, in so far as it is presented in terms of a single consciousness, and determines the conduct of various characters who appear in it. More than this, the act of penetrating through some present circumstance to a fragment of past experience, which it seems to hold strangely concealed behind it, is represented as a consummation of personality. To enter into complete possession of the past by means of such circumstances is to possess oneself wholly; they are, as M. Proust says, the door that opens upon la vraie vie. This conviction of the writer can be interpreted in two ways, according as we regard the whole narrative as the history of the consciousness of a writer, or as the development of an extreme but none the less typical modern mind. of the few indications of his own plan, M. Proust seems to declare that his aim is to describe the evolution of a literary sensibility.

“Si en descendant l'escalier je ravivais les soirs de Doncières, quand nous fûmes arrivés dans la rue brusquement,

Vol. 238.--No. 472.

In one


la nuit presque complète où le brouillard semblait avoir éteint les réverbères, qu'on ne distinguait, bien faibles, que de tout près, me ramena à je ne sais quelle arrivée le soir à Combray, quand la ville n'était encore éclairée que de loin en loin, et qu'on y tâtonnait dans une obscurité humide, tiède et sainte de crèche, à peine étoilée ça et là d'un lumignon qui ne brillait plus qu'un cierge. Entre ceite année, d'ailleurs incertaine de Combray et les soirs à Rivebelle revus tout à l'heure au-dessus des rideaux, quelles différences ! J'éprouvais à les percevoir un enthousiasme qui aurait pu être fécond si j'étais resté seul et m'aurait évité ainsi le détour de bien des années inutiles par lesquelles j'allais encore passer avant que se déclarât la vocation invisible dont cette ouvrage est l'histoire.'

On the other hand, the description of his vain endeavour to seize the significance of three strange-familiar trees seen while driving in Mme de Villeparisis' carriage at Balbec suggests a larger scope to this activity of the mind.


Ce plaisir (the delight of penetrating their significance) dont l'objet n'était que pressenti, que j'avais à créer moimême, je ne l'éprouvais que de rares fois, mais à chacune d'elles il me semblait que les choses qui s'étaient passées dans l'intervalle n'avaient guère d'importance et qu'on m'attachant à sa seule réalité je pourrais commencer enfin une vraie vie. . . . Je vis les arbres s'éloigner en agitant leurs bras désespérés, semblant me dire : ce que tu n'apprends pas de nous aujourd'hui tu ne le sauras jamais. Si tu nous laisses retomber au fond de ce chemin d'où nous cherchions nous hisser jusqu'à toi, toute une partie de toi-même que nous t'apportions tombera pour jamais au néant. En effet, si dans la suite je retrouvai le genre de plaisir et d'inquiétude que je venais de sentir encore une fois, et si un soir-trop tard, mais pour toujours-je m'attachai à lui, de ces arbres euxmêmes en revanche je ne sus jamais ce qu'ils avaient voulu m'apporter ni où je les avais vus. Et quand la voiture ayant bifurqué, je leur tournai le dos et cessai de les voir .. j'etais triste comme si je venais de perdre un ami, de mourir à moi-même, de renier un mort ou de méconnaître un Dieu.'

Perhaps we may see in the reference to the final and enduring penetration of the hidden reality a hint of the conclusion of the book, considered as the history of a 'vocation invisible.' It suggests that at the end we shall

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