He has an almost sexual reaction to the hawthorn flowers in the church and then again when he’s in Swann’s park when he sees Gilberte who is holding a spade. Is this a death image? Is there a Freudian meaning here? At least now I know why it’s called Swann’s Way because of which door they exit when they go on a walk all together while Francoise is probably killing another chicken “filthy creature”.
I love how the deeper I get into the novel the more it feels I am living with this family. I look forward to his grandmother’s walks in the rain, his Aunt’s disappointment with having too many visitors at once, or knowing how a scene is repeated as when he didn’t look at his uncle, an event which was never reconciled, to when his father thinks he ignored on the street by someone he knew and we feel the pain of it.
Sometimes we know we’re reading a great book when the author says something we’ve always intuited but were never able to put into words. Often this happens once, maybe twice in a really great novel. When it happens more than twice, such as in War and Peace or Ulysses or reading Emily Dickinson or George Oppen, we know we’re inside the realm of pure genius. But when it happens page after page, it’s almost terrifying.
I was thinking about how when you’re a child the days last forever – time is so much more stretched out and rich when everything is new. Proust recreates that sensation, he luxuriates in the smallest details, and all the details connect: a leaf in the moonlight, the smell of the varnish, the sound of the bells, and the taste of cake dipped in tea. This feels like what Bergson was trying to say to Einstein about time.