Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Apple Trees in the Countryside around Balbec in Spring

I read the most beautiful passage two nights ago.  Proust is back in Balbec wanting to get together with Albertine.  He grandmother has died and he mourns her.  It is not summer, but spring, and the sea and the landscape are very different than during the high season of summer. 
From The Cities of the Plain

Describing the lush blossoms on the apple trees.   ". . . these apple-trees were there in the heart of the country, like peasants, upon one of the highroads of France.  Then the rays of the sun gave place suddenly to those of the rain; they streaked the whole horizon, caught the line of apple-trees in their grey net.  But they continued to hold aloft their beauty, pink and blooming, in the wind that had turned icy beneath the drench rain; it was a day in spring. 

I loved this breathtaking passage of trees and weather and comparing the trees to the peasants, the sudden rainstorm and the prosaic ending:  it was a day in spring. 

Ah, Proust!  You put us all to shame. 

The second photo is taken at Giverney.  

The Other Odette 


Val Holley said...

I just finished Swann in Love this afternoon, for the first time since 1982 (and of that I have almost no memory). I have been inspired to read Remembrance of Things Past by the late Leo Lerman, who spoke so glowingly of Proust in his Journals [THE GRAND SURPRISE, Knopf 2007, Stephen Pascal, ed.). "Why I read anything but Proust, I can't understand ... " Facebook has (without consulting me) appropriated my comments on this and begun a Leo Lerman fan page.

In any case, I'm glad to stumble across your blog. I thought I might try to read all 7 volumes this summer, but it won't happen. Maybe 7 volumes over 7 summers.

Grapeshot/Odette said...

I am working my way through a third reading. The first (incomplete) was in college. The 2nd in my early middle age, and now as a "senior," whatever that means. Like all great fiction, I find that reading a novel at different ages in life brings different aspects of the work into play. Taking my time, and savoring. Some nights falling asleep after a page or two. Giving myself permission to dawdle. This is the first time I've read Proust as a writer, and he inspires such awe. Maybe Lerman was right when he said "Why I read anything but Proust . . . I will have to find the Lelrman journals. Thanks for the tip.

JRD said...

Lovely post and blog. It's always nice to bump into a fellow Proustian online and elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

Ah. Lovely.

I often feel like I am the only one reading Proust -- reading Sodom/Cities -- in the world.

Anything fried in bacon fat will taste good.