Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Proust and Porter

Listening to my son's final high-school chorus concert tonight (way to go, Ben!), I realized that Cole Porter's "All of You" is the most Proustian of love songs. It is about nothing less than possession. Here's Proust:

I looked at her, at first with the sort of gaze that is not merely the messenger of the eyes, but a window at which all the senses lean out, anxious and petrified, a gaze that would like to touch the body it is looking at, capture it, take it away and the soul along with it . . . .

From Swann’s Way, translated by Lydia Davis (New York: Viking, 2002), 144
And Cole Porter:
I love the looks of you, the lure of you.
I'd love to take a tour of you.
The eyes, the arms, the mouth of you;
The east, west, north, and the south of you.
I'd love to gain complete control of you
And handle even the heart and soul of you.
So love at least a small percent of me, do,
For I love all of you.
Hearing this lyric sung by high-schoolers might seem a bit strange, but it can't compare to the experience my wife Elaine and I had some years back of hearing a chorus of elementary-school children sing "YMCA." We're city slickers, so we found that scenario both embarrassing and hilarious. But we kept our mouths shut.
All Proust posts (via Pinboard)

comments: 0