Swann's Way

The Writer in Proust's Remembrance of Things Past

To read Proust carefully is like looking closely at your own pupil. Curiosity pushes you up to the mirror so close that eventually the tool of perception itself is ineffective. Indeed you can't see what's doing the seeing. Likewise, putting up a microscope to Proust's sentences makes you incapable of perceiving the whole. The sheer density of ideas in a sentence makes the sentence impervious to the sort of analysis Proust seems to demand of us: we need not dissect. We are forced to analyze our response, or else fall prey to the intellectual blur that plagues Marcel when he goes to see the Phedre. Thought, like sight, can annihilate itself.

Which leaves us, at first, more confused. How can the idea and the sentence contradict? What is the writer's function if not to inform, and how can one inform if not by the arduous process of instruction, and how can one instruct if one aims at ambiguity in the atoms of the huge world that is Proust?

So, as we see, even the act analyzing the Highest Purpose leads to this strange realm of impossible abstraction and silly capitalization. I must stop, even here, to ask - as I asked time and time again while reading - where am I? This is all fluff. How can I even aspire to...

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