11 Matching Annotations
  1. Mar 2018
    1. In the lives of most women, everything, even the greatest sorrow, resolves itself into a question of 'trying-on.'

      This is interesting as it contrasts so strongly with the narrator's mother's grief towards the grandmother dying. In comparison to the Narrator's reaction to the grandmother's death, his mother's seems far more genuine and less superficial. When M. de Guermantes shows up as the grandmother is in her last hours the narrator feels obliged to play the role of the host whereas his mother ignores him. Thus the mother is less focused on appearances. This seems as evidence against the idea of women as more superficial and so begs the question of whether Proust or the narrator believes this claim.

  2. Feb 2018
    1. nd for my own part I set a higher value on cream cheese when it was pink, when I had been allowed to tinge it with crushed strawberries.

      Colour is what allows the narrator to deepen his experience of the hawthorns. He attempts a few different strategies first, including looking away and back, but to no avail. When the pink hawthorn is pointed out to him he sees it as clearly superior. This shift in colour may have a sexual meaning. White is seen as pure and red as sexually active. Pink may represent the space in between. He is starting to awake sexually he does not catch on to Gilberte's gesture (which-- spoiler alert-- is inviting him to engage in a sexual act).

    1. Tristan to Isolde

      Tristan and Isolde are principal characters of a famous medieval love-romance, based on a Celtic legend (itself based on an actual Pictish king). It is a tragic and adulterous love story as the pair fall in love after drinking a love potion.

    2. "Where are we going?"

      The notes in the Penguin translation point out that this exchange does not make sense considering that immediately afterwards the narrator leaves with Bergotte. The scene originally did end in the narrator joining the Swann's on some activity and Proust overlooked this correction.

  3. Jan 2018
    1. Even the simple act which we describe as "seeing some one we know" is, to some extent, an intellectual process. We pack the physical outline of the creature we see with all the ideas we have already formed about him, and in the complete picture of him which we compose in our minds those ideas have certainly the principal place. In the end they come to fill out so completely the curve of his cheeks, to follow so exactly the line of his nose, they blend so harmoniously in the sound of his voice that these seem to be no more than a transparent envelope, so that each time we see the face or hear the voice it is our own ideas of him which we recognise and to which we listen.

      There is some evidence, though it's not universally accepted, that we have a single neuron for people we know well. Participants in a study had a single neuron that would consistently fire when shown an image of their grandmother and a different one when shown a image of Halle Berry. Psychologists wonder how we can still easily recognize people after they get a dramatic hair cut or something as one would think they would no longer fit our mental image of them.

    1. Charity devoid of charity, that Envy who looked like nothing so much as a plate in some medical book, illustrating the compression of the glottis or uvula by a tumour in the tongue, or by the introduction of the operator's instrument, a Justice whose greyish and meanly regular features were the very same as those which adorned the faces of certain good and pious and slightly withered ladies of Combray whom I used to see at mass, many of whom had long been enrolled in the reserve forces of Injustice. But in later years I understood that the arresting strangeness, the special beauty of these frescoes lay in the great part played in each of them by its symbols, while the fact that these were depicted, not as symbols (for the thought symbolised was nowhere expressed), but as real things, actually felt or materially handled, added something more precise and more literal to their meaning, something more concrete and more striking to the lesson they imparted. And even in the case of the poor kitchen-maid, was not our attention incessantly drawn to her belly by the load which filled it; and in the same way, again, are not the thoughts of men and women in the agony of death often turned towards the practical, painful, obscure, internal, intestinal aspect, towards that 'seamy side' of death which is, as it happens, the side that death actually presents to them and forces them to feel, a side which far more closely resembles a crushing burden, a difficulty in breathing, a destroying thirst, than the abstract idea to which we are accustomed to give the name of Death?

      The real allegory:<br> An explanation of how the pregnant kitchen main represents charity not through some abstract ideals of what true charity is and looks like but through her living and showing what charity is constantly.

    2. The tears which flowed from her in torrents when she read of the misfortunes of persons unknown to her, in a newspaper, were quickly stemmed once she had been able to form a more accurate mental picture of the victims.

      This example, along with her killing of the chicken and her reading the medical dictionary instead of helping the kitchen maid, demonstrate Francoise's tendency to empathize more the greater the distance between her and the person in question. Proust may be pointing to something in human nature that allows us to empathize more strongly with the abstract idea of a child suffering far far away but walk past the dirty begging child down the street.

    1. all his memories of the days when Odette had been in love with him, which he had succeeded, up till that evening, in keeping invisible in the depths of his being, deceived by this sudden reflection of a season of love, whose sun, they supposed, had dawned again, had awakened from their slumber, had taken wing and risen to sing maddeningly in his ears, without pity for his present desolation, the forgotten strains of happiness.

      Here music brings back memories similar to how, in the Overture, the madeleine calls up memories for the narrator. Psychology explains this phenomenon, of a sensory experience bringing back a vivid memory. We used to think memories were stored in one area of the brain but it seems that memories are more a neural pattern connecting different sensory systems. So a certain smell can set of the firing of all the other sensory experiences associated with it. Apparently smell is the sense that is best at bringing up memories but sounds and tastes can definitely do so too.

    2. Toilet of Diana

      This painting has now been confirmed to be a Vermeer. It is thought be be one of his earliest works.

    3. Vermeer of Delft

      A Dutch Golden Age artist who painted mostly women in rooms with beautiful light. He only has around 36 known works.

    4. In those early days, whatever he might say to her, she would answer admiringly: "You know, you will never be like other people!"óshe would gaze at his long, slightly bald head, of which people who know only of his successes used to think: "He's not regularly good-looking, if you like, but he is smart; that tuft, that eyeglass, that smile!" and, with more curiosity perhaps to know him as he really was than desire to become his mistress,

      This is the first time we get Odette's opinion of Swann and it has some similarities to his original impression of her. Neither one is actually attracted to the other but they talk themselves into it. This makes the whole relationship seem more artificial and forced. "Odette's face appeared thinner and more prominent than it actually was, because her forehead and the upper part of her cheeks, a single and almost plane surface, were covered by the masses of hair" (182).