Monday, May 31, 2021


Back at Madame Beck’s school after a concert.

Charlotte Brontë, Villette (1853).

This passage seems to presage one in Marcel Proust’s Finding Time Again (1927). As Proust’s narrator enters the Guermantes’ Paris courtyard, its uneven paving stones bring back the past: “And almost at once I realized that it was Venice,” and the narrator experiences the sensation he felt “on the two uneven flagstones in the baptistery of St. Mark’s.” There’s nothing like an exact resemblance here: Lucy Snowe is back at the scene of a crucial moment in her life; remembering it, she notices a detail she noticed then. For Proust’s narrator, one discrete moment brings back another without conscious effort. Still, paving-stones.

A colorful detail about one of the hired men in the male brothel in this volume of Proust’s novel: he was involved in the murder of a concierge at La Villette. La Villette is a Paris park.

Related reading
All OCA Charlotte Brontë posts (Pinboard)

[Translation by Ian Patterson (London: Penguin, 2003).]

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