« Je m’étais au premier instant demandé avec colère quel était l’étranger qui venait me faire mal, et l’étranger c’était moi-même, c’était l’enfant que j’étais alors, que le livre venait de susciter en moi, car de moi ne connaissant que cet enfant, c’est cet enfant que le livre avait appelé tout de suite, ne voulant être regardé que par ses yeux, aimé que par son cœur et ne parler qu’à lui. Aussi ce livre que ma mère m’avait lu haut à Combray, presque jusqu’au matin, avait-il gardé pour moi tout le charme de cette nuit-là. Certes, la « plume » de George Sand, pour prendre une expression de Brichot qui aimait tant dire qu’un livre était écrit d’une plume alerte, ne me semblait pas du tout, comme elle avait paru si longtemps à ma mère avant qu’elle modelât lentement ses goûts littéraires sur les miens, une plume magique. Mais c’était une plume que, sans le vouloir, j’avais électrisée comme s’amusent souvent à faire les collégiens, et voici que mille riens de Combray, et que je n’apercevais plus depuis longtemps, sautaient légèrement d’eux-mêmes et venaient à la queue leu leu se suspendre au bec aimanté, en une chaîne interminable et tremblante de souvenirs. Certains esprits qui aiment le mystère veulent croire que les objets conservent quelque chose des yeux qui les regardèrent, que les monuments et les tableaux ne nous apparaissent que sous le voile sensible que leur ont tissé l’amour et la contemplation de tant d’adorateurs pendant des siècles. Cette chimère deviendrait vraie s’ils la transposaient dans le domaine de la seule réalité pour chacun, dans le domaine de sa propre sensibilité. »
« At first I asked myself angrily what sort of stranger had come to hurt me, and the stranger was myself, it was the child I was then, which the book had just triggered in me, as, knowing nothing of me but that child, it was that child which the book had immediately called, wanting to be looked at by his eyes only, loved by his heart only, and to speak only to him. And so that book my mother had read to me aloud at Combray, almost until morning, kept for me all the charm of that night. Of course, the “quill” of George Sand, to take an expression of Brichot’s who loved so much to say that a book had been written with an agile quill, did not seem to me at all to be, as it had for so long appeared to my mother, before she had started to slowly model her literary tastes after mine, a magic quill. But it was a pen which, without wanting to, I had electrified like schoolchildren often amuse themselves by doing, and now a thousand nothings of Combray, which I had stopped noticing a long time ago, sprang up lightly and came tumbling head over heels to hook themselves to the magnetized nib in an interminable trembling chain of memories. Certain mystery-loving minds like to believe that objects retain something of the eyes that have looked at them, that monuments and paintings appear to us only through the sentient veil woven by the love and contemplation of so many worshippers over the centuries. This illusion would become true if they would transpose it into the realm of each, one’s only reality, into the realm of one’s own senses. »
Schizomythological clitalysis of the author’s text (SCAT)
Je m’étais au premier instant...
M. Proust, A la recherche du temps perdu (XV). Le temps retrouvé, 2. Paris, Gallimard, 1927, ch. III, pp. 29–30. | “At the first instant I had angrily asked myself who this stranger was who had done me a violence and the stranger was myself, the child I once was whom the book had revived in me, for recognising only the child in me, the book had at once summoned him, wanting only to be seen with his eyes, only to be loved with his heart and only to talk to him. And that book my mother had read aloud to me almost until morning at Combray, retained for me all the charm of that night. Certainly “the pen” of George Sand, to use one of Brichot’s expressions, (he loved to say that a book was written by “a lively pen”) did not appear to me a magical pen as it so long did to my mother before she modelled her literary tastes on mine. But it was a pen I had unconsciously electrified, as schoolboys sometimes amuse themselves by doing, and now a thousand trifles of Combray which I had not for so long seen, leaped lightly and spontaneously forth and came and hung on head over heels to the magnet in an endless chain vibrating with memories. Certain minds which love mystery like to believe that objects preserve something of the eyes which have looked at them, that monuments and pictures are seen by us under an impalpable veil which the contemplative love of so many worshippers has woven about them through the centuries. That chimera would become true if they transposed it into the domain of the only reality there is for us all, into the domain of their own sensibility” (S. Hudson, trans., 1931). | “The first instant I angrily asked myself who was the stranger that came thus to cause me pain, and that stranger was my own self, the child I had been in those days, aroused within me by this book, which, not knowing me except as this child, had instantly called him forth, wishing to be gazed at by his eyes alone, loved only by his heart, and to talk to no one but him. And that is why this book, which my mother had read aloud to me at Combray almost until early morning, had retained for me all the spell of that night. It is true that ‘the pen’ of George Sand (to borrow a favourite expression of Brichot, who loved to say that a book was ‘written with a lively pen’) did not at all seem to me to be a magic pen, as it had for so long to my mother, before she gradually came to pattern her literary tastes on mine. But it was a pen that I had unwittingly magnetised, as schoolboys often amuse themselves doing, and now a thousand little details of Combray, which I had not seen for many a year, came nimbly dancing along of their own accord, one behind the other, and hung themselves on the nib of that electrified pen in an endless chain of tremulous memories. Certain minds which are fond of mystery maintain that objects retain something from the eyes that have gazed upon them, that monuments and pictures are visible to us only through the perceptible veil woven for them by the love and contemplation of many worshippers throughout the centuries. This fantasy would become true if they would transfer it into the field of the only reality that exists for each of us, our own sensitiveness to impressions” (F. A. Blossom, trans., 1932).
L’enfant que j’étais alors
“And should I mourn that child I was? I’m constantly losing my virginity. Autumn’s crimson sin” (Ouida W. Johnson, Divastigations § 1).
Cet enfant que le livre avait appelé
“It was the same child — the same frail, honey-hued shoulders, the same silky supple bare back, the same chestnut head of hair. [...] // I find it most difficult to express with adequate force that flash, that shiver, that impact of passionate recognition. In the course of the sun-shot moment that my glance slithered over the kneeling child (her eyes blinking over those stern dark spectacles — the little Herr Doktor who was to cure me of all my aches) while I passed by her in my adult disguise (a great big handsome hunk of movieland manhood), the vacuum of my soul managed to suck in every detail of her bright beauty, and these I checked against the features of my dead bride. A little later, of course, she, this nouvelle, this Lolita, my Lolita, was to eclipse completely her prototype. All I want to stress is that my discovery of her was a fatal consequence of that “princedom by the sea” in my tortured past. Everything between the two events was but a series of gropings and blunders, and false rudiments of joy. Everything they shared made one of them. // I have no illusions, however” (H. Humbert, Lolita, or the Confession of a White Widowed Male, Ramsdale, Appalachia, 1952, I, § 10).
Au bec aimanté
“Or is the process deeper with no desk / To prop the false and hoist the poetesque? / For there are those mysterious moments when / Too weary to delete, I drop my pen; / I ambulate — and by some mute command / The right word flutes and perches on my hand” (J. Shade, “Pale Fire, A Poem in Four Cantos,” New Wye, Appalachia, 1959, ll. 867–872).
Cette chimère
Ne manque pas de dire à ton amant, Chimène, comme le lac est beau car il faut qu’il t’y mène” (H. Humbert, op. cit., II, § 19).
Creative Commons License Copyright (sauf citations) © 2016, 2017 maikstrikEditions MSS