|Proust V II-- Within a Budding Grove ses.2||Kentish Town||Eleven weeks||Starts 20.9.18||12-2 PM|
“When we are in love, our love is too big a thing for us to be able altogether to contain it within ourselves. It radiates towards the loved one, finds there a surface which arrests it, forcing it to return to its starting-point, and it is this repercussion of our own feeling which we call the other’s feelings and which charms us more then than on its outward journey because we do not recognise it as having originated in ourselves.”
― Marcel Proust, Within a Budding Grove
After completing incredibly satisfying studies of Ulysses and Magic Mountain, we have turned to the next big mountain of Modernism, Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time. We spent eight weeks reading the first volume of the work– now we turn to Vol. II: Within a Budding Grove (recommended edition: Vintage Classics, trans. C. K. Scott Moncrieff). Even if you have not read the first volume, it is possible to pick up from Vol. II and move forward–you can always go back into the first book. Here is how one Salonista describes the pleasure and work of reading Proust: ” This is a velvet jewel of a book that demands the attention of a lover full of enchantment and obsession ,we need not get impatient as all good lovers perfect their art in taking their time.”
Reading Proust teaches the reader to observe how the world is experienced, to be aware that although humans are tempted to give greater weight to the perceptual universe, it is the entwining of memory, idealized experience (dreams) and relationships with what our senses perceive that molds our consciousness.
Proust also uses his curious and attentive narrator to uncover the ombre—the part of the self that hides in the shade or shadow. As we come to know the characters in the narrator’s world, each turns out to have aspects that reveal a savagery or laziness or discrepancy that was not what appeared on the surface. Of course, as soon as Proust reflects this to the reader, we recognize this truth of human nature: all carry a shadow, an untoward or simply unmanageable part of the self that we struggle to contain. In Proust’s world, these aspects are equally a part of the coherent self…this has me thinking a great deal about how carefully we construct the social self—and how we temper what simmers beneath the surface.
In Volume II, Proust will continue to explore class structures and awakening sexuality. As we considered in V1, the form of love as Proust conceives it is an entity not necessarily shared between the lovers—but may often be a projection from one onto the love object—and therefore limited in how much that love depends on the actuality of the other in its conception.
PLEASE NOTE THIS STUDY IS NOW FULL (2nd July 2018)
Use the Paypal button below to register for THURSDAY afternoons 12-2 pm . The cost is pounds for the eleven week study–this will cover the entire volume. I will send along opening notes and critical resources once I have received your registration. Studies start September 20th.