Ar 320 Proust the narrator in the hotel in Baalbec. Transformation from nervous child to hedonistic young man. This refined hedonism. Also portraying the pre war French bourgeois culture, its pleasures and satisfactions. Aestheticism. Of course this is only one moment and there is more to come. An alchemy that succeeds in resolving some of the discontent we feel
Pleasure he takes in dressing for dinner. The character of sexual confidence he has reached through his use of procuresses.


“This music that greeted our ears,— arrangements of waltzes, of German operettas, of music-hall songs, all of them quite new to me — was itself like an ethereal resort of pleasure superimposed upon the other and more intoxicating still. For these tunes, each as individual as a woman, were not keeping, as she would have kept, for some privileged person, the voluptuous secret which they contained: they offered me their secrets, ogled me, came up to me with affected or vulgar movements, accosted me, caressed me as if I had suddenly become more seductive, more powerful and more rich; I indeed found in these tunes an element of cruelty; because any such thing as a disinterested feeling for beauty, a gleam of intelligence was unknown to them; for them physical pleasures alone existed. And they are the most merciless of hells, the most gateless and imprisoning for the jealous wretch to whom they present that pleasure — that pleasure which the woman he loves is enjoying with another — as the only thing that exists in the world for her who is all the world to him.”

One view of light music. By extension this would be a view on the value of more serious music.

328 Proust’s St Loup, interested in Nietzsche and socialism. Too intellectual for Marcel, yet presumably not that bright, this peculiar combination. See how it works. Perspective from which socialism can seem a good idea, sharing money about a bit.

IX 101 After his discussion of aesthetic experience Schopenhauer suggests that the representation of long past experiences in memory can be rather similar. Less bound by our will and purposes idle surveyance of past experience can enable us to se that experience in a far purer light than if we were to view it programmatically, for example, as we are likely to do at the time that it occurs. Thus in contemplation of the past we can gain a temporary release from the remorseless pestilence of the will and get a little peace for a change. This influenced Proust. Schopenhauer seems to maintain that our experiences seem better in memory than they were at the time.

As 135 Seeing Proust’s message as essentially the same as Nietzsche’s The assertion of reality as against cliché.
Reality against falsification.

Ax 138 remember Baron Charlus. His idea of something unsatisfactory with ordinary life, reducing to homosexuality. But that is not the whole of it.


22& Marcel and the dairymaid. Necessity for conquest, in satisfactory male sexuality. Unsatisfactoriness of the available prostitute.
Marcel on conquest. Even the idea of conquest, something in resistance to the public ideal of health and equality.
But all ideas are counters in a game that is driven by an underlying will.

Proust. So much quotable stuff from the voluptuary. Proust and a sort of decadent sickness. But different people like, presumably, the real world of desire.
Freud and childhood sexuality, Take it the adult world, as Myth to inspire the adult rather than necessarily real memory. To recall what one was as a child. Origins of desire in very early childhood.

85 Marcel has just learned of Albertine’s death. the surrounding pages really are writing of the very highest quality. Brilliant and extraordinary. The perversity of motive. The comedy. Changing attitudes to experience.
Marcel’s reflections on Albertine’s death are so profound as to rank among the greatest achievements of literary art. It is like the most profound passages in the scripture of world religion i.e. this is what life is, what life is about, this is its meaning because layers of unreality are stripped off.

Pettiness and futility of the people of whom Proust writes are no objection at all to the greatness of his art.

97 Marcel and Gilberte many years later. Learning of the lust she used to feel, realising what he had missed,

103 Section in Time Regained where he develops his theory about sensations.
About Marcel there is something deeply decadent, even sadistic. That is why the philosophy about sensations should not be taken entirely at face value. It is presented almost disingenuously as a theory about the meaning of life. A highly original discovery as to the meaning of existence. As if it is something from which everyone can benefit. That may be so, but it is not a doctrine for all. He is not really an idealist but a kind of elitist.
Of course the whole of Proust’s book could not have been planned from the beginning because so much time elapsed.
So even the wisdom must have been a cumulative growing thing.


158 Proust and a life of leisure. How a life of leisure can be at least as worthwhile as a life of work. All this frivolity. Yet concerned with all that is most important. What is to be got out of life.
Not recognising the stupendous extraordinary implications of this claim.
One of the most prevalent misreadings,

168& Proust, the rich, the idle rich. The idle rich as feeling they have a place in society, winning or possessing the favour of the establishment, favoured by fortune, despite all the egalitarian ideology

173 Finished reading Cities of the Plain on the train journey home. The perversity that pervades the book, especially so far. The atmosphere of decadence. The abnormal unhealthy project. The jealousy of Albertine and the determination to marry her.
The world created by practical people. Impracticality. The narrator in Proust. He succeeds because he is a good writer.


179 Proust. A biography, a memory. Is there anything about me that a biographer might find worth writing about? Is there in my life any kind of struggle that bears any significance?
Everything one was one could try to remember. It will have significance if it can be shaped, formed into art.
Possibilities of life and thought, possibilities of feeling.

209 To the Royal Academy to see the Vuillard exhibition, I liked the early work, particularly the 1890s. Some of the subject matter reminded me of the Dutch masters. Influence of Degas. Mallarmé. Struck by his interest in women’s clothing. In fashion. The capacity to enter the mind of the feminine, which characterised Mallarmé. Post impressionism, Gauguin, Seurat. The fascination with ephemeral prettiness, also Japanese but French and deep.
But I think in his later work he lost his way. There might be something of Proust in these drawing rooms of the wealthy, with the hints of Jewish connections. I feel his passivity may have led him to accept too much, to yield himself up to the modern world, to give way and take people, like his sitters, too much at their own valuation.
The interest in so much of trivial life, this very French quality. Yet it becomes profound. Also it is bourgeois and I can feel excluded.

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