Friday, December 7, 2007

Proust on objects and their associations

[Welcome, kottke.org readers.]

A post at kottke.org by Adam Lisagor, Remembrance of Phones Past, has developed into a wonderful and sometimes Proustian discussion of telephones and other objects and their associations. Here's a relevant Proust passage, perhaps the relevant passage. It concerns the narrator's rediscovery of a favorite book from childhood:

Some mystery-loving minds maintain that objects retain something of the eyes that have looked at them, that we can see monuments and pictures only through an almost intangible veil woven over them through the centuries by the love and admiration of so many admirers. This fantasy would become truth if they transposed it into the realm of the only reality each person knows, into the domain of their own sensitivity. Yes, in that sense and that sense only (but it is much the more important one), a thing which we have looked at long ago, if we see it again, brings back to us, along with our original gaze, all the images which that gaze contained. This is because things — a book in its red binding, like the rest — at the moment we notice them, turn within us into something immaterial, akin to all the preoccupations or sensations we have at that particular time, and mingle indissolubly with them.

Marcel Proust, Finding Time Again, translated by Ian Patterson (London: Penguin, 2003), 193

A related post
Out of the past (On two books from childhood)

All Proust posts (via del.icio.us)

comments: 0