Some beautiful stuff from chapter one of Sodome et Gomorrhe:
Even when one is no longer interested in
things, it is still something to have been interested in them;
because it was always for reasons which other people did not grasp.
The memory of those sentiments is, we feel, to be found only in
ourselves; we must go back into ourselves to study it. You
mustn’t laugh at this idealistic jargon, what I mean to say
is that I have been very fond of life and very fond of art. Very
well! Now that I am a little too weary to live with other people,
those old sentiments, so personal and individual, that I felt in
the past, seem to me—it is the mania of all
collectors—very precious. I open my heart to myself like a
sort of showcase, and examine one by one ever so many love affairs
of which the rest of the world can have known nothing. And of this
collection, to which I am now even more attached than to my others,
I say to myself, rather as Mazarin said of his library, but still
without any keen regret, that it will be very tiresome to have to
leave it all.
I loved Swann very much in the first volume of À la Recherche, but I think, perhaps, I love him even more in this one.