Saturday, August 25, 2007

Proust: "collective, universal smiles"

Mme Verdurin is displeased:

[T]here was applied to her lips a smile that did not belong to her personally, a smile I had already seen on certain people when they said to Bergotte, with a knowing air, "I've bought your book, it's tremendous," one of those collective, universal smiles that, when they have need of them — just as we make use of the railway and of moving vans — individuals borrow, except for a few ultra-refined ones, such as Swann or M. de Charlus, on whose lips I have never seen that particular smile settle.

Marcel Proust, Sodom and Gomorrah, translated by John Sturrock (New York: Penguin, 2002), 391

All Proust posts (via Pinboard)

comments: 0