Monday, April 23, 2018

something of no apparent importance

Why should anyone like Phyllis for being a lump of rudeness that presents itself as a thing you can’t solve at a level where everything else is being solved instantly? I don't know why; it is as if she is sticking up for herself, "Like TISM," I think, "but their songs are all about their own irritated shame, or tall poppyism if you want to put it another way” --- “but it is preferable to the opposite”? (“Is her surname Tine?” joked someone this morning when I told them I had been reading a book with a Phyllis.) Chateaubriand’s little vase sticks up from the scene without an explanation when he could have said, for example, "it must have been the sound of some cavity in the ship filling with water." Why does Glanville want to bite the letter-writer’s hand in Charles Grandison? Where does Grandison come from? Where does Clarissa come from? She is a little vase, filling up. From another angle she is Phyllis. In the final part of the Temps Perdu, Proust tells you he has spent seven volumes interrogating a sensation that Chateaubriand remembers twice.

What profoundly modifies the course of their thought is rather something of no apparent importance which overthrows the order of time and makes them live in another period of their lives. The song of a bird in the Park of Montboissier, or a breeze laden with the scent of mignonette, are obviously matters of less importance than the great events of the Revolution and of the Empire; nevertheless they inspired in Chateaubriand's Mémoires d'outre tombe pages of infinitely greater value. (tr. Stephen Hudson)

He mentions Nerval and Baudelaire.

I was seeking to recall those of Baudelaire's verses which are based upon the transposition of such sensations, so that I might place myself in so noble a company and thus obtain confirmation that the work I no longer had any hesitation in undertaking, merited the effort I intended to consecrate to it …

A thought says, “If those sensations are of “infinitely greater value” than the rest, then what if you made the entire book out of them?” What if there was a treasure box with no gaps between the treasures? But then Volker Schlöndorff reads your treasure box and the primary lesson he remembers is that he wants to make Swann into a movie and his costume designer takes Robert de Montesquiou’s grey suit out of the portrait by Giovanni Boldini and puts it on Jeremy Irons and you are back to the old drawing board, as the cartoon alien says

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