Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Joyeux anniversaire, M. Proust

Marcel Proust was born on July 10, 1871. From a 1913 interview:

“Style is not at all an embellishment as certain people think, it is not even a matter of technique, it is — like colour with painters — the quality of vision, the revelation of the private universe that each one of us can see and which others cannot see. The pleasure an artist affords us is to introduce us to one universe the more.”

Swann Explained by Proust,” in Days of Reading, translated by John Sturrock (London: Penguin, 2008).
A similar passage from the last volume of À la recherche du temps perdu:
[S]tyle for a writer, like colour for a painter, is a question not of technique but of vision. It is the revelation, which would be impossible by direct or conscious means, of the qualitative difference in the ways we perceive the world, a difference which, if there were no art, would remain the eternal secret of each individual. It is only through art that we can escape from ourselves and know how another person sees a universe which is not the same as our own and whose landscapes would otherwise have remained as unknown as any there may be on the moon. Thanks to art, instead of seeing only a single world, our own, we see it multiplied, and have at our disposal as many worlds as there are original artists, all more different from one another than those which revolve in infinity and which, centuries after the fire from which their rays emanated has gone out, whether it was called Rembrandt or Vermeer, still send us their special light.

Finding Time Again, translated by Ian Patterson (London: Penguin, 2003).
Related reading
All Proust posts (Pinboard)

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