Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Proust summarizes Proust

Another Proust passage of summing up. Two words: Une vocation.

Then, less dazzling no doubt than the one which had shown me that the work of art was the only means of finding Lost Time again, a new light dawned on me. And I understood that all these raw materials for a literary work were actually my past life; I understood that they had come to me, in frivolous pleasures, in idleness, in tenderness, in sorrow, that they had been stored up by me without my divining their ultimate purpose, even their survival, any more than a seed does as it lays up a reserve of all the nutrients which will feed the plant. Like the seed, I would be able to die when the plant had developed, and I began to see that I had lived for its sake without knowing it, without ever having realized that there should be some contact between my life and the books I had wanted to write and for which, when I used to sit down at my table, I could not find a subject. So all my life up to that day could, and at the same time could not, have been summed up under the title: A vocation.

Marcel Proust, Finding Time Again, translated by Ian Patterson (London: Penguin, 2003), 207-8

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