0463 | ISOLT IV: Sodom & Gomorrah | Marcel Proust

0463 | ISOLT IV: Sodom & Gomorrah | Marcel Proust post image

Context: Seeing as Proust spent most of this volume at the seaside resort of Balbec, I decided to read this on the beach at Saltburn, UK.

Yeah this is one of the greatest novels of all time, but I’m getting pretty fed up of the long drawn out prose about nothing much in particular and endless social gatherings that tell us (again!) how disenchanted the narrator has now become of everyone he was, at one time 4 billion pages ago, oh so very enchanted with.

This one is supposed to have some kind of focus on “inversion” of homosexuality as it’s popularly called these days. It’s not really. It’s about endless social gatherings that tell us (again!) how disenchanted the narrator has now become of everyone he was, at one time 4 billion pages ago, oh so very enchanted with. Oops… I think I’ve repeated myself there.

Yes, Charlus gets involved with pretty much every pretty boy he lays his eyes on, but, apart from that, most of the “inversion” happens in the mind of the narrator and revolves around whether Albertine is toying not only with him but also her female companions. His jealousy is fairly
neurotic as there’s virtually nothing he has to base this on.

There were sections I enjoyed, notably on sleep and how it seems to warp our experience of time. It got me thinking that Proust might have been far more successful if he’d just written a series of treatises on various topics: hawthorns, the landscape of the sea, sleep, jealousy, Madeleines, etc. At least we wouldn’t have had to wade through the literary morass of ‘endless social gatherings’ to get to the next island of genius. After all, when people discuss Proust, it’s these sublime descriptions they refer to, not his ability to render conversation into prose.

The narrator returns to Balbec and deepens his relationship with Albertine which really comes to the fore and sets the scene for the next volume. I quite enjoyed watching the effect of Albertine on the narrator and remembering back to phases in various relationships I’ve had over the years. Despite this, personally, I couldn’t wait to get to the end of this volume. The 660 plus pages seemed to take forever and I was very relieved to know that the last three are shorter… sometimes much shorter. I think I’m beginning to have my fill of Proust!

 

OPENING LINE

Introducing the men and women, descendants of those of the inhabitants of Sodom who were spared by the fire from heaven.

QUOTES

The mistakes made by doctors are innumerable. They err habitually on the side of optimism as to treatment, of pessimism as to the outcome.

People would be cured for ever of romanticism if they could make up their minds, in thinking of the girl they love, to try to be the man they will be when they are no longer in love with her.

To the detached observer there is this attraction about these perfect resemblances between pairs of twins, that nature, becoming for the moment industrialised, seems to be offering a pattern for sale.

CLOSING LINE

This might reveal the ending. If you want to see the quote, click show

PROGRESS sodomp
RATING No individual ratings for each volume. I’ll be rating the entire novel at the end of the last volume.

 

Leave a Comment