Wednesday, December 13, 2006

More Place-Names

I've made it into the Balbec section now, after a bit of a slow-down. The good thing is I don't seem ready to give up--in fact, the more I read, the more I want to finish the entire book. The bad thing, at this point, is the beginning of this section is a bit dull. Coming off Marcel's love/hate for Gilberte, it's easy to feel disappointed. Proust has shown himself, with Swann/Odette and Marcel/Gilberte, to possess a profound and compelling talent. A volume that was originally intended to be mere filler has been, so far, as good as the best of the first volume. It's exciting to know that Marcel and Albertine are yet to come, and the focus on them will become tighter as the novel progresses.

Marcel seemed to have a bit of an unconscious crush on Odette. And the disillusions for him continue. I wonder what Swann ingredients and what Odette ingredients have gone in to make Gilberte. Though each male has gone from love to hate for their corresponding female, how do the females compare? Odette seemed to be more active in her beguiling of Swann, more knowing, but she also seemed to have more compassion than Gilberte had for Marcel. Who is the more cruel: Odette, for allowing Swann to marry her; or Gilberte, for shutting Marcel out completely? And what exactly is Odette's interest in Marcel?


Anonymous Stefanie said...

you have a long way to go before Albertine shows up Quillhill, but the Balbec section does get better.

I agree with you the the first part of the book is as good as, if not better in parts that the first book.

I found Odette's interest in Marcel a bit odd too. He's only a boy. Maybe she thought he was cute. I think Marcel had as much to do with the break up with Gilberte as Gilberte did so I don't think she was cruel. I'm not sure I'd call Odette cruel either, calculating definitely, but not cruel.

7:07 PM  

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