Proust was a French critic, and essayist who is now best known for his monumental novel: In Search of Lost Time (sometimes known as: Remembrance of Things Past). This was published in seven parts between 1913 and 1927. Today, Proust is considered by critics and writers — e.g., Melvin Bragg and guests — to have been one of the most influential authors of the 20th c.
Love is a striking example of how little reality means to us.
Nostalgia… do you want to be dragged there? Then read on.
Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind.
As Proust saw it:
The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes.
In Search of Lost Time — a novel of over 4,000 pages — is considered by many to be the definitive modern novel. This is not least because it has influenced directly and indirectly generations of writers, in 1922 Virginia Woolf said, “Oh if I could write like that!” Vladimir Nabokov — author of Lolita and himself considered one of Europe’s most talented writers of prose — said in a 1965 interview, that the greatest prose works of the 20th c. were “Joyce’s Ulysses, Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, Bely’s Petersburg (see Endnotes), and the first half In Search of Lost Time.”
Lost in Time isn’t exactly easy reading but somehow you can get carried along by them if you can allow yourself to fall int the flow or, you can begin by listening to it in this ten part, ten hour BBC dramatisation:
(listening to the radio’s easier on your green eyes Jay; yes Jay, it’s easier on your brown eyes too Jay.)
In Search of Lost Time, is compiled in a number of volumes:
And has been republished a great many times…
To somehow summarise the work, many describe it as something of a fictional autobiography by a man whose life almost mirrors that of Marcel Proust. The first forty pages of the novel describe the narrator as a young boy in bed awaiting, and as a middle-aged man remembering, his mother’s goodnight kiss. Though it is not obvious to the reader at the time, these first forty pages also establish most of the themes of the next seven volumes and introduce most of the major characters. The rest of the novel traces the chronology of Marcel’s life over the next fifty years and the lives of his family, friends, and social acquaintances. The novel concludes at a grand party in Paris attended by Marcel and most of the remaining characters.
Because the story is told with two “voices,” that of the narrator as a young boy and also as an older man recalling his youth, it is sometimes difficult to tell Marcel’s age at any particular moment in the novel. The reader must rely on the context of the action.
Two of the novel’s major themes concern Marcel’s frustrated desire to become a writer and his despair at the corroding effect of Time, which makes all human feelings and experiences fade into nothing.
Unhappy love affairs are a leitmotif of the novel.
The best known is that of Charles Swann, which could act as a template for all the rest and is described in “Swann in Love.” The tension and swing of power between lovers and the inevitable disappointment when we achieve the object of our desires is a constant theme throughout the book. (Swann’s love for and pursuit of Odette takes him from the pinnacle ofsmart society to the depths ofsocial rejection and eventual oblivion.)
All the book’s love affairs essentially describe:
the futility of trying to possess or even understand another person
Love is a metaphor for all human experience. According to Proust:
all man’s suffering is caused by his desires [and] achieving those desires only increases the suffering.
1. — Bely
Petersburg, ‘The one novel that sums up the whole of Russia’ — Anthony Burgess
— Andrei Bely
Andrei Bely (1880-1934) was educated at Moscow University where he studied science and philosophy, before turning his focus to literature. In 1904 he published his first collection of poems, Gold in Azure. Petersburg, was published in 1916.
Petersburg is Bely’s masterpiece and it is generally considered to be a vivid, striking story. Bely’s richly textured, darkly comic and symbolic novel pulled apart the traditional techniques of storytelling and presaged the dawn of a new form of literature. This book is considered to have heavily influenced several literary schools, most notably Symbolism, and his impact on Russian writing has been compared to that of James Joyce on the English speaking world.
The novel is set at the heart of the 1905 Russian revolution. In the book. a young impressionable university student, Nikolai, becomes involved with a revolutionary terror organization, which plans to assassinate a high government official with a time bomb. But the official is Nikolai’s cold, unyielding father, Apollon, and in twenty-four hours the bomb will explode. Petersburg is a story of suspense, family dysfunction, patricide, conspiracy and revolution. It is also an impressionistic, exhilarating panorama of the city itself, watched over by the bronze statue of Peter the Great, as it tears itself apart.
Red-eyed and deadened heart endless regret and emptiness my time with you was divinity defined oh for the past: our perfect partnership resting on one another after amore searching each other’s open books everything was to look forward to
I’ve not ever really know where to stand on this vexed issue. I know resentment burns one up on the inside and I know that holding grudges–harbouring feelings of having been unjustly wronged for too long–can corrode the innards of one’s soul, dampen any moment of merriness and darken any happiness. Yet, it is well known and regularly said that forgiveness is freedom and moving on without making retribution is liberation. That it may be, I just don’t know. I’m a full-on Jackel and Hyde, a bit of a bonny and a bit of clyde. I’m, you know, split within but i’m also maybe not really in a position to judge. Or am I? because nowadays i’m my very own private echo chamber (technically I ain’t, but he knows and I know that I fucking well actually am – one could have a thousand and one suitors but if he ain’t amongst the parliament of bees, it is little more than a hollow chamber pot). I know the desirous attractiveness of planing revenge, I know torturous torment, i know the feeling resulting from being labelled B. S.–i’d sooner roast in a Brazen Bull than let that one lie; I’d rather the thumbscrews be turned forcefully anticlockwise (mix in too, for poetic effect, some under the nail bamboo splits); i’d prefer the cat’s tails lash whilst spreadeagled and stretched over a rack-like horse of harshly sawn Sussex oak–I’ve read the hallowed words: there ain’t no wrath like that of a lady wronged, well yeah that be me. I’m stranded here and your there and yeah I know – i do know – you are fucked too but: Clean break huh? What the fuck’s that all about? Together forever? Two hearts beating as one? Soul-fucking-mates? You’re having a fucking larf darling, a full-on delusional & demonically demented laugh.
“her days were spent dallying with her inamorato.”
My swain he did swoon Loopy’s the ship’s loon cock-swing née ‘coxswain.’
“we’ll dither and dally and together go fully doolally.”
So in the canon that I know, we’ve two diametrically opposing stances (set out for your perusal below, in Items 1 & 2), and yep for sure I get the notion that one chooses one’s horse depending on the course the hay-fed old nag’s gunna havta trot and canter along but come the fuck on: ain’t this the case of sitting one’s big fat derrière on the fence par excellence? I am a vegan pacifist wit large, but when it is downright up close and personal well ain’t that Italian thing called “vendetta” quite something stellar and spectacular? Just saying, because, well maybe, in practice it’s every so very base and entirely abhorrent.
book b4 film
head in a bed
Revenge my Lady
Revenge my Lord
I mean, who knows and who’s to judge? One man’s treasure may be another woman’s trash. His well articulated feminist views may be–‘may be’–his well honed and honeyed ruse to make a be-line for my (and any other young lady’s) ay-line (maybe, I said: “maybe”).
Turn the other cheek
You have heard that it was said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.” But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you. — Matthew 5:38 ff.
An eye for an eye
You must show no pity: life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, and foot for foot. — Deuteronomy 19:21
Burn for burn, wound for wound, and stripe for stripe. — Exodus 21:25
Just as he injured the other person, the same must be inflicted on him. Fracture for fracture, eye for eye, tooth for tooth. — Leviticus 24:20
Copy & Paste, ha ha ha.
3,500 years ago, King Hammurabi of Babylon compiled a series of commands regarding the day-to-day life of the citizens of ancient Iraq at that time. These commands, which dealt with topics from divorce to contracts to murder, were preserved on a diorite stela, binding future Babylonian kings to Hammurabi’s new code of law. this stone (shown below video) is on show in Paris at the Louvre Museum. And guess what? One of the 282 laws did say: an eye for an eye and The Life of Pi.
It says “an eye for an eye”
Love ain’t for the meek and that I’ll state to be a Category One CLASS FACT.
Had I the heaven’s embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light;
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
— W. B. Yeats
A while ago I profiled Yeats and gave a few lines of the poem above, I think that reading it as a whole is very much more moving (; profound etc.)… ^
&, here’s another. This is not about love though. For me, it’s somehow about being (stuck) on the shoulders of giants which is, I’d say, a mixed blessing; a double-edged sword (good for scientific advancement but an impediment to artistic originality — deference… ‘gratitude’… reverence… dependency… &c.):
Gratitude to the Unknown Instructors
What they undertook to do
They brought to pass;
All things hang like a drop of dew
Upon a blade of grass.
— W. B. Yeats
XX. JUST ANOTHER NUMBER
Tied to an Oak and Ghaf rack I abear, whenever weren’t love a thing to revere? It’s the heart of every sordid affair; was mine dashed by the whim of an Emir?
We’d heaven ’til reality’s ensnare, there’s no fate worse than this heartfelt despair. Lost love lacerates, I hereby declare; you’re the sand’s one jewel, this I’ll not forswear.
Stretched to the edge of reason I clamour, my heart begs you to hear its enamour. My words aren’t read yet I shall enedevour, for with lost love I’ve just them and velour.
Damn these feeble rhyming lines, I’m too blue; I dream of your neck and love-biting you.
a thing that has disadvantages as well as advantages. — “Declaring the word love so late in their relationship was, with the benefit of objective and dispassionate hindsight, very much a mixed blessing…”
a double-edged sword
a situation or course of action having both positive and negative effects. — “Talking candidly about their darker thoughts was a double-edged sword in, oh so many bittersweet goddamned ways.”
I may be an offspring of an ape or resultant of a tall tale to cover up a rape. Whatever. I am dead on the inside, my faith in the human race has died. My soul’s been sold out, my mate has left this coil; two was one now one is as fucking glum as a nun a none A ZERO.
( Yep the either or ^ is one and the same. I realised that after I wrote it but I’ll not be changing it. The pretences of a wannabe wordsmith these are not; these are the words of a tormented soul in their death throes. )
I learned a lot this past month and a bit and experienced emotions I’d only ever read about, I thought I understood, I felt I was able to comprehend and adequately empathise — I was a fucking agony aunt to the misfits that found solace in my company (I of course, I realise now, was the biggest misfit of them fucking all, walking tall and, downright delusional; a hardcore unwitting freak) — but I know now I knew fuck all then… these feelings, the feelings of love and the feelings of betrayal can never be understood unless you YOUR VERY SELF are ripped and gripped and totally fucking horsewhipped by them. I’ve been stripped, laid bare on the brimstone floor. The guilt trip is like nothing I’ve ever experienced before: the pain’s been driven right through my fucking cardio-cum-cognitive core. These ever preset emotions cloud ‘everything,’ they rip and claw and have turned positivity to utter destitution, golden summer light to tar black winter night: the future is now the past, plans of P A S have turned to perpetual heart wrenching nostalgia. There is nothing but nothingness. I can no longer kid myself, I can no longer even dream it all to be another way, hope’s been well and truly fucking had. All I had and all I lived for died the day you departed. I’ll reiterate, all I lived for died the day you departed. I’ll underscore my point once more: all I had and all that I’d lived for, died the day YOU departed from our ‘us.’