Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

05 February 2014

From Cities of the Plain

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.