Perpetual Adoration (continued)

[Cahier 57]

   The servant left the room and my exaltation increasing, I continued with greater vehemence the mechanical action that was accompanying my thoughts and which consisted in pulling out volumes one after the other from the Princesse's bookshelves, "first editions, original editions", because however long the performance of Parsifal lasted I was quite happy to be shut away on my own so as to be able to think a little at my leisure. But the moment I pulled out one volume and cast a distracted glance at its title: François le Champi, I suddenly felt an unpleasant shudder, a genuine start, as if I had just been struck by some impression too crudely discordant with my flow of thoughts, before I suddenly recognized it in a flood of tears, come to affirm in them and in deep harmony with them. Like the son of a man who has given his services to the state and who, even as the undertakers are closing his father's casket and friends file into the room before the departure for the church, suddenly hearing shrill music reverberating under his windows, is indignant, thinking that it is some insult that has been hurled out of general gaiety at his sorrow. But just as quickly he begins to understand, his eyes fill with tears, it is music from the regiment which as come to pay its respects to his father and to share in his mourning.  Just as suddenly it was an evening in Combray when I could  not sleep, when my mother had spent the night, a night of bright moonlight, reading François le Champi to me, it was an ancient sadness which the moment I read the title of the book, had wrung my heart, without my having initially recognized it. I asked myself angrily who is this intruder come suddenly to do me ill. And all of a sudden I understood that this stranger was none other than myself. It was the child that I was then that the book had resuscitated in me, because the book knew nothing of me but this child, wanting to be loved only in his heart, and to be seen only through his eyes.
   It is because the idle fancy of certain minds who through a taste for the mysterious believe that objects conserve in them something of the eyes that looked on them, that monuments and pictures appear to us only beneath the palpable veil that love and contemplation has woven for them over the centuries, this fancy is true for each one of us.1 In that sense, in that sense only, but it is the most precious, an object conserves the gaze that we have given it, and if we find ourselves face to face with it, it gives us back that gaze along with all the images that it contains. For things - and François le Champi among others beneath its salmon coloured cover and in its mass - as soon as they are perceived are converted within us into something individual, homogeneous with all our preoccupations and feelings from that time blended with them, inseparable from them for all time. Its title had woven for ever into its syllables the silken moonlight that was shining that night. We can no longer separate from its weft all the things that have impregnated it. I trembled at the thought of the first chapter with a pleasure that caused within me at that moment not its own inherent beauty but the scent of acacia that I had not recognized. And it had been sufficient that I had noticed it on one of the Princesse de Guermantes' bookshelves for a child to have been brought forth who had taken my place and who alone had the right to read the name François le Champi  and seeing him even as he was deciphering it, scarcely emerged out of the paper that enveloped him, with the same impression of the shadow of acacia, the same desire for a trip to Venice, the same anguish over going to bed the next day. I opened it at the first page, I read the first sentence, it still bore coiled all around it, like a celestial rainbow the sonorousness of the blessed voice that read it to him. That I found myself in the presence of an object...
   (P.S. In addition say about François le Champi, this is not a very good book, quite mediocre, and yet it had often caused me to find pleasure noticing so many rural ways of speaking in the language used by Françoise that were carefully put in their place when my mother had read it and which made her appear to me in this way at least as a character with a dialect, sympathetically noted, by George Sand, holding in her hand the book she has emerged from, just as one sees in the alcoves of certain porches a small saint, holding in her hands a minute and finely wrought object which is nothing less than the very cathedral that is sheltering her.)2
   And recalling the sound of the spoon against the saucer, the starch in the towel, the unevenness of the paving stones in the courtyard, that had brought back to me moments I had experienced in Querqueville, in Venice, on that railway journey, I understood how much of a gulf existed between a past that has been rediscovered by chance and the inexact and cold facsimiles that under the name of the past my conscious memory, my visual memory - as if the sense of seeing was more closely linked to the intellect, already more abstract, further separated from reality than the others - presented to my mind at the summons of my will. I often told myself and again just now as I was making my way towards the hotel de Guermantes that life was mediocre, and how joyless intellectual life was for me. But it was not that the things I saw by ransacking my memory were not real life, that the observations that I was making then were not intellectual life. And at the same time I understand that at that moment only that it was probably the life of the mind that I was living at that moment [sic] and that in our souls with their vices, virtues, good qualities, powers, we must experience it all without understanding it at first, without suspecting that all this has some connection with the vices, the virtues, the good qualities and the gifts that we have heard named, they were joys just like those I had just felt one after the other - and just as without giving name to them I had already felt in Combray3 in front of the hawthorns, at Querqueville in front of the screen of trees, and a little piece of green cloth, and in Paris listening to the noise of the hot water pipes - here were the true intellectual joys - in the particular form that I was able to experience them - that this would no doubt be the kind of talent I needed, were I to have any,  and that the most happy life would indeed be one in which such moments of clairvoyance were most numerous.  No, the past, truth, life were not mediocre. It had to be beautiful for such humble sensations, as long as we had been made to feel them, for such a simple moment from the past to have intoxicated me with such unexpected joy, such irresistible joy. Perhaps what first struck me was how greatly each one differed from the others. (4 pages to follow later on the part about foolishness. Then the part about foolishness ends by being sufficient to make me happy. And then I put here: From simple moments from the past? more perhaps and to follow).
   A simple moment from the past? More perhaps; something which was at one and the same time common to the present and the past.  The person that had just been reborn within me was the one who had experienced that same impression of joy in front of the hawthorns at Combray, at Querqueville in front of a screen of trees, and in front of a small piece of cloth, in Paris hearing the noise of the hot water pipes, others too - and this must relieve me for the moment from the fear of death because I had tasted a morsel of madeleine in a spoonful of tea. - (the same way perhaps that a painting by Elstir or a page by Bergotte remained indifferent but which seized its nourishment and its prey if between two of Elstir's paintings, on two different pages by Bergotte it lay hold of an arabesque, a common rhythm). I recognized  him.4 This person who no doubt exists in each of us is nourished only from the essence of things. From it alone does he find his sustenance, his delights. He languishes in sight of the present where the senses are unable to bring him that essence. He languishes in observations of the present that cannot bring it to him. He languishes in thoughts about the past, which the intellect dries up for him, and in awaiting the future that the will constructs from fragments of the present and the past and from which it takes away reality once more by assigning to them5 an affectation of usefulness, a narrowly human purpose. But that a noise, a scent, that a savour already perceived in former times might be so to speak understood, inhaled both in the present and the past, real without being of the present time, ideal without being abstract, as soon as this permanent essence of things is liberated and our true self that for many years might have seemed dead, but which like frozen seeds that can germinate years later, it awakens, becomes animated and rejoices from the celestial nourishment that has been brought to it. One minute, set free from the sequence of time, has recreated in us the feeling of the man set free from the sequence of time. And for this man we know that he might be confident in his own happiness, that the word death has no meaning to him. What fears can he have for the future?
   So often in the course of my life reality had disappointed me, because at the instant when I perceived it my imagination, which was the only organ that I possessed for the enjoyment of beauty, could not - by virtue of that ineluctable law which ordains that we can only imagine what is absent - apply itself to it. And now, suddenly,6 the effect of this harsh law had been neutralized, suspended by a marvellous expedient of nature which had caused a sensation - the noise of the fork and the hammer, even a book's title etc. - to be mirrored at one and the same time in the past and in the present, and by situating it outside of everything that surrounded me and having succeeded in some way in isolating a small fragment of time, it allowed my imagination to savour it in a dream which the effective disturbance of the noise, the touch of the linen etc., had communicated to my being, it added that which the dreams of the imagination alone are destitute, that is to say the idea of existence, the idea of the here and now, without which they are not realized, and which thanks to this subterfuge that brought into contact a fragment of isolated time, procured in its pure state, with the imagination which ordinarily never notices it directly, had caused to cross my vision something of beauty - as brief as a flash of lightning - through the stimulus of a tremor of well-being.
   But this contemplation of eternity was fugitive at least inasmuch as this illusion of the past, the present which, perhaps incompatible with the normal functioning of thought, had it lasted a moment longer, would have caused me to lose consciousness, like a too brilliant point of light that a hypnotist has made you fix upon: and as, conversely,  sometimes at the very moment of our falling asleep we touch for one second only, with our eyes, with our entire being, the singular charm of a moment from the past.
   In this passage add: "and as conversely just before our falling asleep" before had it lasted a moment longer etc. which will finish the sentence, and add:
   For we can prolong scenes from our voluntary memory which requires no more exertion on our part than turning over the pages of a picture book. But like these resurrections of the past the split second that they last are so complete, they not only oblige our eyes to cease to see what is immediately before them in order to look at the line of the sea at Querqueville, but they oblige our nostrils to breathe in the air, our will to embrace various projects, our very self to believe that it is there, or at least to waver7 between it and the present moment, with a hesitation, a bewilderment that may last no more than a second.
   Because whereas for the intelligence and the senses, even at the very moment they affirm the difference between the places that they are seeing, these differences are merely the result of varied combinations of fundamentally identical elements - stones taking on the form of Gothic battlements or a Corinthian capital - these places, these moments that had been resuscitated in my imagination each of them had - as in certain dreaming states where the functioning of the intelligence and the senses is equally suspended above them like a dense halo, like an impalpable coating created from the light of the past - and would preserve for me something particular, irreducible to anything else,8 that made of each of them, like the delightful entry into the lives I had lived in Venice, in Querqueville, in Combray, utterly distinct, with no equivalence or communication between them, and where I found myself once again bathed each time under a new sky, in a special atmosphere, light, and mode of thought.
   I thought again about Ruskin, who had made me believe in Venice before I saw it, like a good school master who when we were children taught us the elements of Religion from which we will detach ourselves later on perhaps but which will ensure that in our memory a hidden spirit will give to the flowers on the altar in the month of Mary or to the altar of repose on Corpus Christi a beauty that we never find in the flowers arranged on the table at a wedding reception or a float of young girls [?] at the festival of flowers. And repeating to myself one of those historical pages it occurred to me that the very air of Venice was overlaid on them, it felt to me that as I read that book I was drifting through Venice by gondola, that the words rested upon my eyes like the deep blue of the canal, that the rose pink columns of Saint Mark's were tempting my gaze and my hand. And as desire invites us towards possession I longed to leave for Venice. But I mused that all the reminiscences that formed its beauty were those that were floating in my soul and that if I was ever able to hope to return to those Venice days, the only quay of embarkation to make that trip was deep within myself.
   Already on the day of Montargis' marriage, I remembered, I had seen once more in the glow of the weather vane opposite, Venice and Combray and in order to sink deeper into my own sense of pleasure I had wanted to take the train, without it occurring to me that impressions such as these will merely disappear on contact with the immediate pleasure that had been powerless to call them into existence and that the only way to savour that pleasure was to understand those impressions more completely, to shed light on them in their deepest aspect by transforming them into an equivalent of thought, that is to say from signs into a work of art.9
   Perhaps I should be led by the rarity of such fortuitous resurrections of the past, to blend them, as if with a less pure metal, with other voluntary memories.10 But I would abstain as far as possible be it only because their truth has no control unlike those that are bridled to themselves without the intervention of either our will or our reason, attracted by an identical reality which lends them their stamp of authority, and in the same way to all the contemporaneous sensations that they gather around themselves, in an exact proportion of memory and forgetting, of things brought into the light and things left in the shadow.
   I presumed however that some obscure impressions had sometimes called my thoughts into action, in the manner of those reminiscences, but which concealed, not a sensation of times gone by, but a new truth, a precious image that I was attempting to uncover through the same sorts of efforts we make to recollect something, as if our most precious ideas were like pieces of music, that come back to us without us having paid attention to them, and that we force ourselves to listen to internally where they have never been introduced by anybody, to distinguish them and transcribe them. This recollection was pleasurable to me because it made it clear to me that even in those days I was still the same and that a fundamental trait in my nature could be recognized, and with some sadness too to think that I had not progressed since my childhood, that already in Combray I used to attentively fix in my mind some image that had made an impression on me, a cloud, a triangle, a tower, a flower, a pebble, having the feeling that underneath everything there was something else that I must try to discover, that they signified an idea in the same way as hieroglyphic characters which appear to represent only material objects. There was no doubt that this decipherment was difficult but it alone gave some affirmation to its study. Because the truths that the intelligence brings out directly into the world of the light of day have something less profound, less essential than those that in spite of us life communicates to us in a material impression because it has entered via our senses but from which it is possible for us to extricate the spirit. From the particular angle at which I was momentarily viewing the work of art - as might be the case no doubt from a quite different angle as long as it too had been true - the errors of Bloch's notions that had caused me some brief embarrassment came back to me. A subject that was not frivolous or sentimental, not personal or worldly, but portraying great movements of workers, or of plutocrats, or at least with the absence of crowds, not insignificant idlers but noble intellectuals? The reality that he has to express lay not in the outward appearance of the subject but at a depth where that appearance mattered little, as was symbolized by the clash of the knife against a plate and the stiff towel from a mundane "five o'clock tea" which had been more precious to me and beneath which I discovered more artistic reality than in all of Bloch's humanitarian and philosophical conversation.11 Enough of style, he would say, enough of literature, let us have life.
   But even if the novel had to limit itself  to the reproduction of what we have seen, its style would perhaps be a digression, pointlessly added to the "cinematic" procession of things. But this concept was absurd.  First of all nothing deviates more from what we have perceived in reality than a cinematic picture12 because the visual sensations (like all the others) that we are given are unbalanced in us the moment we receive an infinity of others. The cover of a book we have read has woven into the characters of its title the moonlight from a summer's night. The taste of white coffee13 still to this day brings us that vague hope of fine weather that so often, while we drink it from a creamy china bowl as white and enfolding as the coffee and that was merely a sort of solidification around it so as to contain its own creaminess, when the day was still intact and full, makes us smile beneath the uncertainty of the early light and the morning sky. A glimmer of light is not only a glimmer, it is a vase brimming with perfumes, with sounds, with moments, with projects and with climates.14 And literature that is content with "describing things", of giving a meagre repetition of lines and surfaces is, despite it pretensions of realism the furthest removed from reality, and this impoverishes and saddens us the most. Because it abruptly severs all communication between our present selves with the past where things maintain their essence and the future where they induce us to taste it anew.
   What we call reality is a certain correspondence between the sensations that surround us simultaneously, a correspondence that cannot be translated by means of a simple cinematic succession and which the writer must rediscover in order to link two different sensations one to the other in his choice of language, as they are in his impression.  In a description one might cause to succeed one after another indefinitely the objects that feature in the place being described. Truth begins only when the writer takes two different objects, states their correspondence and attaches them inseparably together by an indestructible bond, an alliance of words. The correspondence may be of little interest, the objects themselves mediocre, the style poor, but without this much there is nothing.
   But there was more. If reality was some sort of diminution of experience, virtually identical for everybody, and because when we say bad weather, a war, a taxi rank, a brightly lit restaurant, a garden of flowers, everybody knows what we mean by those words; if that was reality then indeed a sort of cinematic progression15 of things would suffice and "style", "literature", which distance themselves from what is a simple given, would be an artificial digression.
   But was this true reality? If I tried to describe to myself what was really happening the moment that something forms a particular impression in us, I began to notice that 16- be it, as on the day I was crossing the bridge over the Vivonne, the tranquility of the shadow of a cloud on the water had made me exclaim: "Damn it" whilst jumping for joy, be it that on hearing a sentence from Flaubert all we can take away from our impression is: "It's wonderful" - We are quick to let such an impression descend into the deepest part of ourselves, without hardly noticing it, and we are quick to substitute it, to give some cause to the emotion it might give us, a so-called intellectual equivalent that does not have the faintest resemblance with that impression, which  became, for us, that impression. Sometimes it was a selfish feeling that made us express it the wrong way round, as, when flattered to be invited by the Guermantes, having eaten a plentiful meal with them, glowing from their congeniality, having become for a brief moment like them, I cried out: "What delightful, intelligent creatures." But like Bloch just now, disagreeably taken by surprise by an insult from a passer-by, he said laughing out loud and as if interested in the peculiarity of the thing: "I find that quite f-fantastic." Even where the joys of art are concerned, although we seek them for the sake of the impression that they give us, we continue as quickly as possible to set aside, as being inexpressible, precisely that element in them which is the impression that we sought, and to attach ourselves to that which allows us to experience that pleasure as frequently as possible without ever truly understanding it any the more (because even for the most artistic, when we study in a deeper way a piece of music, a painting, what we are investigating deep within it is not something secret but ideas that are beneficial to all and that have been substituted for it) and to believe that we are communicating it to other devotees, with whom conversation will be possible because we are talking to them about something that is the same, even in the moments where we are the most disinterested spectators of nature, of society, of art itself but yet in which we seek out only those spectacles for the impression they provide us - just as every impression is double and the one half which is sheathed in the object is prolonged in ourselves by another half which we alone can recognize which we speedily disregard, and we take account only of the other half which, not being able to be fully fathomed by us because it is external, will not then be the cause of any great exertion on our part. The little furrow17 that a symphony or the view of a cathedral has traced in us is something we find too difficult to comprehend. But we play a symphony over and over again, we determine its forms, the purity of its rhythms against other rhythms, other composers, we go back repeatedly to look at a cathedral, we differentiate its style from others of the same epoch, until we understand them as well as do any other Wagnerian or archaeologist, and we find tranquility only in erudition, in a flight far away from our own life that we do not have the courage to look at. And we harbour the melancholy of declaring that our taste, our intelligence, have served only to raise us up to be exactly equal with other men who are well educated in music and archaeology. Even in love however, for which it seems that memory, feelings of tenderness ought to be so dear, do we seek to be always conscious of those feelings, to preserve them from annihilation? Not at all. While the most precious feelings of love - which they must be to affect us to such a point - pass into the deepest regions of our heart, the first day that the young woman we are in love with has spoken to us, when she first addressed us by our first name, when she first allowed us to kiss her - we do not try to understand them, to bring them out into the light, to preserve out of nothingness the originality that they contain, so new and so sweet, we [illegible] from the result obtained, we cling on to the mere fact, we turn our eyes away, we cling closely to the fact itself, purely beneficial and with no qualitative or lasting element, like a stepping-stone we have succeeded in reaching and which brings us closer together in a greater happiness that perhaps we will achieve tomorrow. Yet from time to time we reproduce within ourselves through memory the pleasure that we have experienced without trying to look at it more clearly so that when we are no longer in love with the young woman these moments are reduced to nothing when we ought to have been able to disengage the eternal reality that that love has passed into us thanks to her. When Maria18 called me by my first name for the first time, thus seeming to strip me of my social outer coverings and shell, and so capture my very being, tenderly, between her lips, which felt like the most intimate touch, had I tried to clarify, that is to say make myself master of, what it was that made this feeling of happiness so new and so sweet? No! transported by the hopes that this initial success brought me I retained only the act itself, this new connection that existed between her and myself, which in itself contained nothing of original reality, but a simple practical utility like a step upon which one has managed to place a foot and which would allow me to advance, and which I would forget completely when progress up the higher steps would have left that first one of no further use.
   19But what we have substituted for an impression that is too difficult to fix is the one we think it to be. And little by little, conserved by the memory is the untrustworthy chain of dry mementos from which is absent everything that we have really felt, and it is this that constitutes for us our life, our reality and it is this lie that will represent to us a form of art which declares itself to be "life as it is lived", to be as simple as life, refusing to be "literary", useless repetition that is so dull and so vain in spite of what we see with our own eyes and which our intelligence verifies so that we ask ourselves where the one who indulges in it can find the spark of joy, the motive capable of making it advance in his labour.
   No! the greatness of the other art, the one that is called artistic pursuit, is precisely in rediscovering, in repossessing, in making known to us that reality that is far removed from that in which we live, from which we deviate more and more at the same time as it underpins the conventional understanding that we substitute for it, and that is what we run the terrible risk of dying before we know: our life. Such artistic endeavour, to seek to comprehend beneath the outer material, beneath the experience, behind the words, something different and profound, this is quite simply the inverse task from that which creates in us intelligence, pride, passion, habit when it amasses over and above our impressions so as to hide from us those photographic negatives, nomenclature and practical goals that we falsely call life.20 But during this time we are letting go of our life, we are not keeping hold of anything; soon these depths through which it passes and from which we do not turn our eyes are covered over by so many mechanical habits and false ideas that the eyes or the mind fixated on some word or other that has no relation to it, we no longer even notice. So then, I felt now that the other art was the one that attempted to raise itself up to that life, to use all its strength to shatter the glass of ideas, of habits and words that conceal it to us, to find once again the open sea, to place ourselves back face to face with reality, to restore it to us. It will live on in the profound truth that we call beauty; it will not be content to let things parade one in front of the other however attractive they might be, it will disengage their common essence, it will impose upon them an affinity analogous in the world of art to what in the world of science is the law of causality, and which are the necessary links out of which endure a beautiful style. Even in the same way as life in bringing together a quality common to two sensations, as just a moment ago the chink of the spoon against the saucer, disengages their common essence, for the subtraction of the contingencies of time and the particular it will enclose that essence in a metaphor. But that is refined art, inaccessible to the ordinary working man, according to Bloch. Firstly why do these great friends of the working man...21
   Then we pass on to
   The work carried out by our self-esteem, our emotions, our intelligence, our fancy for imitation, of desire for the arts, our taste for brilliant expression, our habits that shield us from life, this is the work that we comply with, it is the same step in the opposite direction that we are following. But this way you lose your virtuosity, your craft, your natural ability. It really is a question of this. It is a question of understanding our life. This virtuosity, this facility is of worth only through the sacrifice that must be made to it on the altar of higher deities. Grateful and chosen victims in any case in whom we could be excused for placing our compliance, because often the facility itself also signifies a greater facility for seeing that facility counts for nothing.
   While the eyes were fixed on an interior image...
   And when we have achieved reality, to convey it, to conserve it, we will discard everything that differs from it which the speed acquired by habit never ceases to suggest to us. More than anything I will discard those words that are chosen by our lips rather than the mind, words full of humour, as we use in conversation and which after a long conversation, when after a certain period of time we have ceased to be ourselves, still buzz in our mind, fill it with lies that it does not have the strength to repress, those wholly material words that come not from our deepest being, but from the individual self, that we accompany as we write them with a slight grimace22 - the slight grimace that at every turn alters the phrases constructed by a Sainte-Beuve. Books are the children of silence and ought to have nothing in common with the children of idle chat.
   It is the tiny trait that the image, the impression of some particular thing has marked out in relief within us, to which it must come, to attach itself scrupulously, taking away from it its meaning. Always that image that harbours something other than itself, distinguishes itself from others at the very instant it is perceived by others, we feel that it has a depth we are unable to see, like something that the sight of which has disturbed us deep in ourselves, so much so that by searching for it within us we will perhaps be able to find it. But how difficult that would be. We must never cease to bring that image back before our attention23 so that it makes us tremble at this unknown thing and that, with more preparation, we may be able to seize hold of.  I recalled that at Combray at the moment such an image passed before my eyes, without well understanding what it was that it concealed, I perceived that there was something else apart from itself that was contained within it. How many times in Combray during my walks on the Meséglise way or the Guermantes way I said exactly that, I came back to a similar image before which I had stopped short for a moment, an image that I thought was nothing but an outer covering even though it seemed through lack time to be similar to others, a steeple oscillating before a train, the sad curvature of a boat, the face of a peasant, so many images that I had brought back in my imaginings and which most often remained there like useless, incomprehensible ornaments that I did not have the strength to recreate for myself what it was that they meant. As I recalled all this I felt some pleasure in observing the particular way in which I was alerted to the presence of a deeper reality beneath the surface that was already the same when I was still a small child as it was today; but it was also with a sense of sadness that I thought of all the time wasted.
   However I told myself that if it were always beneath some image that the reality to be discovered presented itself to me, that reality was not always a moment from my past, but sometimes a truth that was new to me, and which it behoved me to approach in the same way, by fixing my eyes on the image, by asking myself what lay behind it, by trying to bring back to mind this thought that I did not know, as if the most beautiful ones were like pieces of music that torment us with the desire to recognize even though we have never heard them, and that we force ourselves to listen to, to approach with our interior ear, to distinguish, to transcribe even though nobody has ever introduced us to them. A thing of great difficulty as a truth might be hidden in this way under something material, in a simple form. How could I make it emerge from this? I have often felt that by touching with my thoughts this image that was in my brain that there was something beneath it, but what? I follow the thoughts in my brain anew like a sounding-line, I search for the precise point of the image in which I have felt something, until I found it, my thought comes into collision with something that stopped it with very little material, I would like to say with a thought that was as yet unknown to me, still obscure beneath its unconscious veil, and immediately it lost it again. Sometimes I started again, ten, twenty times, the fatigued sounding-line becoming less sure, travelling less far in its exploration, and before long the image that it touches is no longer the first one, the precious one, but another that has already been substituted for it, less profound and which does not contain the fruitful obstacle. Often that is how it remained. I had just lost an idea that I would never know, one of those sleeping creatures deep within us on the borders of the unconscious, that are unable to come to life and be delivered unless we succeed in breaking their chrysalis, drawn towards them without yet knowing them by presentiment and the desire for their beauty. And it was ever thus. It was always beneath the images that I had a presentiment of the precious truth, in the shape of a flower, a forest,24 a château, a dagger,25 a bird, sometimes a simple geometric shape, a parallelogram, a triangle, all that arcane scrawl, complex and florid, filled with natural forms, like hieroglyphics for the intellect for which nobody, not even I myself, could provide the key, the reading of it consisting of an act of creation, of resurrection that nothing else could stand in for, where for a moment there appears the same reality and life. But it is also the only book that has actually been dictated to us by reality, the impression that it has made on us is the stamp of its authenticity. The image encountered by chance from outside that initiates, automatically when it comes to reminiscences, the resurrection of a moment from the past, is the very hall-mark of their truth, since we feel once again the joy of rediscovered truth, the efforts it makes to bring it to light, before any intervention of our will or our intellect has taken place; and it is the confirmation too of the truth of that whole tableau of subjective impressions that the reborn impression carries along with it, in the just and unique proportion of light and shade, that memory and conscious observation is powerless to provide us.26
   It is a question of a truth, truth of feeling or truth of life, its material form, the trace of the impression it has made on us is still the proof of its essential truth. Ideas formed by pure intellect have only a logical truth, a possible truth, their choice is arbitrary. That previously mentioned book is our only book. That which is clear to us does not belong to us. We only extract from ourselves what we extract from the obscurity that is inside us and that has no knowledge of any others. Moreover just as art accurately recomposes life, around those reallest of truths that we have arrived at within ourselves floats an atmosphere of poetry, a mysterious sweetness that is nothing less than the depth of the penumbra that we have travelled through. The precious truths that the intellect gathers up through the clerestory27 in front of it into the full light of day have sharper, sparer contours, but they are flat, have no depth because they have not been recreated. Often writers in the depth of whom these mysterious truths no longer appear, no longer write after a certain age other than with their intellect, which, however, has taken on more and more strength. The books of their maturity often have greater authority, greater strength, but are no longer bathed in the same youthful bloom.
   The precise indication of the degree of depth of a writer's thoughts, out of which at every turn emerges his style, to the person who consults it like the aviator his barometer, the mariner his compass without it being necessary to have measured the distance covered, that depth is not an intrinsic quality that is the exclusive privilege of particular subjects advocated by the writer friends of Bloch, but a kind of degree of intuition; waiting till later to examine if at a similar depth objects do not however admit of greater or lesser importance, I felt that when one of these same writers who, not having attained them in any depth, did not bring out from his language real passion, real humour,  but mere imitation, general atmosphere, poorly illustrated ideas, expressions falsified by vanity of which one is the dupe etc., a writer who examined no situation thoroughly, invented no imagery,  who under the pretext of populist language did not cause to be cast in the crucible of sincerity all the banalities of an idea that is only half understood and of a feeling about which the intellect remains the dupe - they then came to tarnish everything with mundane art, frivolous art, of no interest, immoral, materialist art, effeminate art etc., it seemed to me that for them to believe that their own art was elevated and powerful would be to give repute to the intention behind the deed in the same way as in life the men who are designated as good are those who unceasingly decry wickedness and speak only of virtue, when they would in fact be incapable of introducing any kindness into their slightest action. And when after ten pages of general reflections the writer finally finds himself confronted by the gulf he must leap over, with one thing to hold onto for an image and in which he fails miserably, we may well object that he is intelligent, that they were intelligent, but this so-called extenuating circumstance need not be given any greater credit for an artist any more than the notorious "he loves his mother so much" which has been subjected to greater ridicule but which is just as ridiculous. However much his art might tend towards the spiritualistic it is more materialistic than the rest, because he does not know how to go beneath outward appearances, and the same for an art that has some paltry and purely material object but in the depths from which it has come.
   And some of these same truths are completely supernatural creatures that we have never witnessed, and yet we recognize with boundless pleasure when a great artist has succeeded in leading them out from the divine world to which he has access, so that for a brief moment they come to shine above our own. Was it not one of these creatures, belonging to no sort of reality, to none of the realms of nature that we are able to imagine, that a theme from the Good Friday Spell that no doubt through the door of a grand salon left half-open on account of the heat, reached me for a moment, furnishing some support to my notion even if it had not suggested it to me. With his bow Wagner seems to content himself with discovering it, making it visible like an obliterated painting that has been uncovered, to make it appear in all of its contours, with the discreet and sensitive surety of instruments that follow in their tracks, faltering slightly to indicate a shadow, marking out with greater assurance the greater magnificence where there appears for a moment before disappearing the scrupulously respected vision, to which they could not add a single touch, without us having felt that Wagner was supplying, that he was telling an untruth, that he was ceasing to see and that he was hiding his mysteriousness in instalments of his invention. The undoubted kinship that it had with the first awakening of spring, what did it consist of? Who could say; it was still there, like an iridescent bubble that still keeps itself afloat, like a rainbow, that will dissolve any moment, but began once again to shine with an even stronger brightness and to the only two colours that it painted at first, now adds every prismatic shade and makes them sing. And one stood there enraptured and silent, as if by the slightest movement one could not help but compromise the delightful and fragile enchantment that one wanted to stand still and admire as long as it lasted and that at any moment was about to disappear.
   There is no doubt that such unintelligible but directly felt truths are too rare for a work of art to be built upon; they must be set in a less pure material. But if for this one makes use only of truths, secondary perhaps in their subject matter, but whose discovery has given us a moment of joy, so many observations applying themselves only to the passions, to morality, this less precious aspect of the work will still be imbued with meaning.  Still it is necessary not to hold on to the superficial differences of the subject. Whatever Bloch might think, concern for the laws that govern the agitations of vanity, jealousy and so many other deep feelings are all just as interesting to study in an insignificant gentlemen as in a writer, because they form part of an organic life that obeys the same laws, like the circulation of the blood or the respiratory changes that are studied  by a physiologist.28 Without all this the study of character of the artist lavished on Steinbock in Balzac's Cousine Bette, a tedious and mediocre study, would be compellingly more interesting than that of the character of the foolish abbé Birotteau in Le Curé de Tours, which is admirable.
   Furthermore if the work of art is a novel ought it to be content to study its characters as if they were immobile? But to borrow the language of geometry, not as a plane psychology but a psychology in space and to make its characters submit to movements that are somehow mathematical that take place in the interior space of the character and are indirectly subjected to other movements that operate on the character himself and at the same time alter his molecules, and externally make them slowly change place in the set of others that react against him.
   This truth, from the most poetic to that which is only psychological, makes it necessary that whatever expresses it - language, character, gesture - is in some way entirely chosen and created by it, so as to resemble it completely, so that no irrelevant expression misrepresents it. I would not have wished, had I been a writer, to make use of any material other than that which during my life had provided me with the sensation of reality and not falsehood. For the apparel of the most poetic sensations should be created like the vestments of the dawn etc., as between robes the colour of time in the transparent substance of the most beautiful hours, the memory of which we have preserved, an autumn morning, a fine summer's afternoon, where something has appeared to us, where we saw all of a sudden engendered by them both, a reality that was poetic and complete, moments that were truly musical, hours conserved in the memory, contained in the memory within sight of this noble sacrifice and from which we will draw them to furnish - sometimes several may be necessary - check for this - to offer to an idea the form of an epithet, between days from the past that have remained particularly beautiful and that are in our memory. The end of a luminous afternoon in a country church becomes an adjective, a winter's walk through a forest will perhaps provide it with another, so that from the sacrifice of all those beautiful days of old we draw a drop of perfume. As for those particularly glorious minutes where all of a sudden we perceive in something the qualities, the incarnate essence of something else, they bring us what is its equivalent in language, a metaphor. But since in these most lucid moments we see only the slightest fragment of truth - the base of a steeple for example picked out by the setting sun - which brings us such pleasure - of one thing the rest of which remains opaque to us, a mere observed object, it is necessary to go and seek it at intervals of years and in different places, a favoured hour in which another fragment of the same thing is revealed to us so as  to make it glide next to the other one, too auspicious if by sacrificing for this all our most beautiful days from times gone by we are able to come to reconstructing, a time, a thing, a truth, in all its dimensions of reality, such as we see it at the same time in reality if we do not allow ourselves to then fear out of a dread of modernity to make a small piece, since we know that there is not some portion of rhetoric within it and that all of it had been drawn out of experience and life, but disdaining the system of "notation", which under the pretext of replacing the light of lucidity in the circumstances in which it occurs to replace the work of art in the plan of life's contingencies and makes use of a psychological realism which is also as superficial as the other.29 The less poetic truths, those that result from an identity perceived between the characters of different men or different situations in life, invoke actions in individuals, individuals that may be created from individuals known in life, but so much reduced into their constituent elements that they reproduce like plants or lower animals sometimes by means of division, sometimes by multiplication, a single quality of somebody we have known becoming one person and sometimes actually joining together with a quality from a completely different person, without leaving anything in the book that is taken from actual circumstances, the contingencies of life - themselves expressed by situations deliberately created to symbolize them - so that nothing that is refracted is combined in the book with any spiritual or homogeneous essence, in spite of their infinite shades and in such a way that when the slightest breath touches it, it can propagate itself and make itself vibrate all over like the sonorous material of a musical symphony in which the slightest disquiet, the most furtive shadow, the most unstable whim of gaiety causes to tremble, darkens or animates all the instruments at one and the same time.
   But in the expression of this truth one must take care to let nothing intervene of that which itself has obscured it, to not let it be altered by some superficial man - the man who maintains a sense of his own facial expression and his neck-tie while he is composing, who writes certain words as if he was pronouncing them for the pleasure of accompanying them with a shrug of the shoulders, and who realizes the richness of the epithet that he chooses not in his style but in his mouth where the pleasure he derives from it, rather than justifying them completely in his style by truths, feels the need to puff out his cheeks with a complimentary little grimace at the bizarre choice of all Sainte-Beuve's epithets like the diatribes of certain writers of today against contemporary art - the man who believes that reality can be realized through action, and who attaches an importance to "his past", to intellectual friendships, the man for whom words are chosen by fancy, a factitious emotion, of which he is the dupe. It need not be that the offspring of untruths and wordiness have nothing in common with the beautiful books that are the offspring of Solitude and Silence, see the page opposite. But by repeatedly undoing your language in this way piece by piece, as you have undone your memories of things, one might say, are you not afraid of losing your technical skill, your virtuosity? Indeed so! But as in reality as in life.30 Virtuosity, "facility", are only worth the sacrifice that one has made for them on the altar of higher divinities. Chosen victims moreover, where we are not wrong to place our trust, because often facility is accompanied by a greater facility which is to see that facility counts for nothing. What it is really a question of is to finally understand reality, to shatter the glass of habit - words said mechanically to imitate others or to give satisfaction to our minds or to our idleness that immediately becomes lost in [illegible] and separates us from it. It is a matter of 31having little by little undone again in the opposite direction everything that distances us from life, art finds itself precisely and integrally to be life. Did not nature itself set me on the path. By allowing me to recognize the reality of periods of my life only long after I had lived them and enveloped them in something quite different from them,  afternoons in Combray in the sound of the chime of the neighbour's clock, mornings in Rivebelle in the sound of the heating pipes, was this not already a creation of art. Was it not art that it created once again when at the moment many years ago that I went out to go for the first time to the hotel de Guermantes where I found myself today it had attached to a genuine sensation, felt at that time, the sound of thunder, (perhaps [illegible] another [illegible] ) so many sensations from the past, the scent of lilac, [illegible] evenings [illegible] assembling things, which had an affinity one with the others, taking its part in the imagination, and sustaining the past unfolded on different planes to the present moment that in front of a sort of frame that was pleasing to the eyes took on the consistency, the dimensions, the fullness, the generality, the attractions of a beautiful novel that one wanted to read. It was a matter of rediscovering and reaching the open sea, to finally reach that thing which we can hardly grasp since we die before we have really known it (and for which we allow to be substituted the apparent outer appearance of things, the same for all of us): our life.
   And yet this is not the only thing that is truly beautiful and can give us a point of view that is like no other, from which we can disregard everything and also our misfortunes. Was it not a little of this past beauty that I discovered in the pages of a book that I was distractedly leafing through, one of the only modern books in the Princesse de Guermantes' library, an old collection of Bergotte's articles, a book that was out of print and that I did not possess, but I had read almost all of the pieces featured in it long ago in various reviews.32 At first I did not dare open it. These first essays by Bergotte that I loved more than everything he had done since, what would I think of them now?  The charm, the sweetness that enchanted me, of a sweetness that gave to the simplest of pages the airy, sun-drenched and caressing fluidity of a first day of spring and that I had never [illegible] found in the masterpieces that he wrote later, was it not me myself who had put it there, through a way of reading, because, for example, imagining myself to be back in Combray, that Bergotte was a sweet old man, and that like a provincial young girl who garbles the pieces she is playing because nobody has shown her from which movement they should be taken, I was singing the entire book as I read it both too andante and too piano, which increased its softness and changed its character. In more than one of these essays I remembered nothing other than fragments here and there, like a mosaic cast into shadow where one cannot distinguish what it represents apart from a few specks sparkling with colour. But had that colour been put there by Bergotte? Or had I put it there myself by not fully understanding something he said, associating one of the words he used with a personal memory, was it quite simply coloured by the place where I was reading it? From one page about Reims cathedral I had retained nothing but an impression of blue azure. I read it again without being able to discover what had brought it about.33 I remembered too a sky that I saw that was pink and grey like slices of peach. But on reading the page again I realized - although without an excess of emotion, because the characteristic of a great artist is in the authority of the suggestion, beautiful books are written in a foreign language, less pure than we might think, and we sometimes put into the words an image that is different from the one the author saw, but truth is in the progression of connections, with not one word having the importance that the lovers of "variants"34 attribute to it - that it did not relate to a slice of peach but a fillet of perch. In the idea of Bergotte's talent I now had I had retained little of the form of beauty that for so long had seemed the most precious jewel to me, but coming upon these phrases again I asked myself if they were not just like the rest of the text and if it was not merely a play of light from the depths of my memory that set them apart, sculpted them into a more beautiful form, beloved and mysterious.35
   36Here and there still lingering in those sentences - like my childhood playthings - was a phrase terminating in suspension points, a couplet in complete opposition, without a verb - which at that time seemed to me the most beautiful things in the world and which enchanted me on a daily basis.37 Other particular phrases I had absolutely no memory of at all and I might have imagined I had them before my eyes for the first time had I not felt their rhythm, certain consonances, awaken deep within me the echo of their contours that had no doubt imprinted themselves more strongly in me so that the phrase itself stood out alone, just like frescoes38 that today are almost fully effaced but sometimes retain a thin line of colour, the last vestige and evidence of the paint that covered it in the past and encompasses still the bareness of the stone. And from greater and greater depths within me, deeper and deeper, down to the limpid July days in Combray onto which I fixed my thoughts to try to grasp the reason for its beauty and its deepest meaning existing between it and the boundless truths that I read in Bergotte - descending in my memory in the sonorous circle of its admirable and empty rhythm, that no longer enshrined anything but a summer's sky.
   39Dare I say it? That style that I had loved so much seemed less extraordinary to me than I would have believed, a style of an admirable writer it could not be denied, but one that could have come from the pen of several of the great writers. It seemed beautiful to me for the same reason as did theirs. And you too, I thought,40 careful to faithfully reproduce in the statuettes to be found in the bosom of your prose as in the soil of autumn where masterpieces slumber,  the visions that you perceived in the depths of your soul and that no one else has ever seen, behold, your work appears to be so similar to great works by others, all individual barriers fallen, it seems that like all the unduly separated sections of the same mural, they could be reframed in one single panel where the hill that you have described so well could be continued without any clash of style by Tolstoy's meadow where Levin is busy mowing. All poets seem to me to consist of only one single Poet only under different names,41 Gérard Nerval with his vagabond moments, Baudelaire with his reminiscences, Vigny42 where tormented and cruel hours bear the name of Baudelaire's life, others, innocents and vagabonds, the name of Gérard Nerval's life, others, studious and serene, Hugo's life, others wandering in lowly fashion towards the inferior goals of Balzac's life or Chateaubriand's life, or to goals that go beyond artistic truth and no longer reach it, the last years of Racine, of Pascal and Tolstoy, but are only moments from a same intermittent and secular life that will last as long as the man so that his physical aspect even appears not to change for some time, and such portraits of Hugo, of Baudelaire, of Vigny, of Leconte de Lisle, and your own seem to be taken after different profiles of the same face. But if originality seems to be founded on this immense unity it is however necessary to comply with it. No resemblance is attained from the outside. It is merely the externalization of a soul that is unknowingly in harmony with other souls.
   Now I come upon the page about snow. Does it not have a yet greater charm than its inherent charm, that I could not fully understand what it meant because on rereading it the pleasure that it often afforded me in the past was reawakened and the different meanings that I gave successively to the same words superimposed themselves and created over them a profound and uneasy atmosphere, the beautiful patina of the mind that has endured and places on the words43 that it reveals a misleading reflection from which I was never able to separate them. A double reflection that was both physical and intellectual. During that day when I read it at Madame Swann's I painted Bergotte's words with the wan whiteness of the snow in a little garden in Auteil which we had visited the year before, with the golden whiteness of the snow in the Champs-Élysées, on the day I was so fearful that I would not be allowed to go out, and then that Gilberte would not come, when she arrived red in the face in her fur hat and threw a snowball at me. But now that snow that I had seen and that projected its reflection onto his book, it was now this one that received a different reflection from Bergotte's book. Because all the lofty thoughts about snow that it contained, that it had awoken in me, as I read it that day, they had silently advanced in the snow like a child who goes out to play in the garden and they formed an indissoluble closeness. It was this amalgam that I rediscovered in the pages of Bergotte where perhaps his words about snow gave birth to a more penetrating and pure freshness than they really had, but also the snow that I began to see was delivering up more poetry than could be seen with the eyes alone; amalgam that is neither pure spirit nor simple vision, a patina that covered each word, a density and will out of the flow of time where the impressions that I had experienced in the past were no longer delivered to me separately in the way that the intelligence utilizes and classifies them, but melted into a vague indefinable charm of life.
   44On the first page I saw a dedication: "To Monsieur the Prince45 de Guermantes, these humble pages as a fervent testimony to the spirit of his delicacy and to all the delicacies of his spirit." Alas the very man whose ideas are intoxicated with the domination of places and centuries proved with his flattery towards Monsieur de Guermantes that he thought it a matter of importance for him to be part of the Academy (in which Monsieur de Guermantes counted kinsmen and friends) or simply to be on good terms with a great nobleman. A dualism as troubling as that of the idealist philosopher who regulates his entire life on the existence of an exterior world in which he does not believe.46

1. [Crossed out] "This fancy is true if it has been transposed into the domain of the only true reality, that is into the domain of its own sensibility."

2. [Parallel note] "To be put in for Bergotte or somebody else, between two phrases, they were no more to me than those books that one weary evening we take up as we would take a train to go and repose within the atmosphere and sights of somewhere different."

3. [Crossed out] "Querqueville".

4. [Crossed out but taken up later] "For years he did not exist, seemed to be dead, like frozen seeds but which years later a little warmth can cause to germinate."

5. [Crossed out] "Selfishly".

6. [Crossed out] "By a miraculous change of direction, a marvellous expedient of nature".

7. [Crossed out] "to hesitate".

8. [Margin] "A materialization perhaps of the time and of the [illegible] where they were seen, that suffused them and that rested on them like a dense halo, like an impalpable coating."

9. [Margin] "One moment, seeing again with such charm those hours in Combray, Querqueville or Venice, I had been tempted successively to set off for those places, where such complete beauty was to be found. But then I remembered that I had not seen this beauty when I was there; would I rediscover those delightful hours that I was seeing; I might perhaps be able to rediscover it, but I well knew that the quay of embarkation that I needed to descend was situated deep within myself (arrange this with what is on the opposite page)."

10. [Margin] "maybe not there".

11. [Margin] "(in the manner of Bernstein)". "Put in here: profundity did not seem to me to be the exclusive privilege and put it in the development on page 707".

12. [Crossed out] "than a realistic noting down of lines and surfaces. A sensation - one of seeing or some other sense is nothing to us but a sensation. Because".

13. [Crossed out] "of tea". [Margin] "See if this is copied exactly".

14. "This could be placed after 'projects and climates', if 'And literature that is content with' is taken out, or if not after 'taste it anew'."

15. [Crossed out] "enumeration".

16. At this point, in the margin a text that seems to replace a line and a half that has been crossed out and that would follow on from "I began to notice that": "that far from seeking to find out, to understand, to bring this impression into the light, we let it flee, urging us to substitute it for a so-called  intellectual equivalent that has no connection with it that in reality differs from it completely or even that takes no account of it at all and disregards everything that is original just as in applauding a page of Flaubert we say it is wonderful, one of Beethoven's symphonies - or something which has no relation to it like in Combray when, exalted by the sight of a ray of sunlight transfiguring the trees I jumped for joy crying: "Damn it" - or something that is its exact opposite as in all the feelings in which our injured vanity reacts against the injury by giving..."

17. [Margin] "Add to the little furrow. Other ideas, those that we form can be logically justifiable, we do not know if they are true. Also is there anything that is more precious, however paltry this kind of impression might appear, or the material to which it relates, than those impressions which spur us on in our eagerness for the truth that we feel on the inside. They are what is most precious in the world because it is from them alone that can be liberated the only thing whose possession leads our spirit to a greater perfection and to pure joy, truth. Not the truth that with almost the same words we hear called the humble truth, that justifies and observes itself, which strips the outside from things like a humble and characteristic branch, but a truth we do not notice, that we have a presentiment of, that does not let itself be seen and that we can only attain by creating it, by causing the impression that it contains to be reborn so completely, that we cause to be born with it its most interior heart, the truth. And this reality happens on our doorstep and leaves a note about itself in cryptographic characters that we do not take the trouble to decipher."

18. Maria is one of the young girls in flower in the first version of Recherche. Her name disappears when Albertine appears in 1913.

19. [Crossed out] "But the 'damn it' or the 'that's wonderful' - it is this that we recall from an impression that we [illegible] to that impression, and it is that that we believe it to be."

20. [Margin] "(Put after 'life' even though 1 lower down should be something else.) How in all of this can we capture pure intelligence. It knows nothing of reality."

21. [Margin] "Very important as regards the present. The deceptions of love, travel, etc., ought really to have made me understand that this was not what it was, that it was something interior and not at all the external object. We ought to think that this astonishing thing that we are, which lives and grows has this in particular which is at the heart of it, that it understands things, that it disguises them so as to understand them."

22. [Margin] "who will preserve in writing the feeling of his chin and his neck-tie."

23. "What is written previously has no connection with the section above."

24. [Crossed out] "village".

25. [Crossed out] "épée".

26. [Margin] "Life already puts us on the path towards art when only afterwards does it reveal to us its beauty, in something else."

27. [Margin] "When I say: 'The joys of the intellect', that was it! Add. Or rather it was not that but something with no connection with the words, something ineffable, nameless see the passage ⌾ in the Kerby Beard woman page P." Kerby Beard is Proust's reference to the four Kirby, Beard & Co notebooks (carnets); the carnet with the woman on the cover being carnet 2.

28. [Crossed out] "just as well in the body of an imbecile as that of a great scholar." [Margin] "do not depend any more on the intellectual worth of the man in whom one studies them, otherwise the study of character of a Steinbock (add the phrase below in parentheses) and then add that the character etc. that the circulation of the blood or the alterations to the tissue that a physiologist studies in the vital organs without troubling himself whether they had been removed from the body of an artist or a shopkeeper."

29. [Crossed out] "As for the characters they could be created after the characters one has, but".

30. [Crossed out] "it is a matter of coming back to life" "to try to finally understand".

31. [Crossed out] "it is to know if our life, if this reality that we have left far from us, our eyes fixed while it passed to the deepest part of ourselves, on others passively carried along to speak words that cause us the least difficulty which are prolonged most freely by the impulses of our nerves, we will finally understand, it is to know whether we wish to be content to possess, instead of our life, the outer crust of the things that are known."

32. [Margin] "How did the Princesse come to own it? I look at the first page, I see a dedication (what needs to come here is written nine pages further on)". "Here I found this short extract about snow that in the past had".

33. [Crossed out] "I remembered too a cathedral set in the sky like threads".

34. [Crossed out] "of the ne varietur editions".

35. "After the enclosed text of the page opposite the verso (about rhythm) before putting here is the page about snow put...".

36. "To be placed somewhere."

37. [Crossed out] "From certain passages nothing remains for me but their matchless rhythm of images that their rhythm brought together, and which are completely effaced like those painted murals from the Middle Ages of which nothing now remains but a coloured border that merely encircles the empty space that used to contain them."

38. [Crossed out] "those paintings", "around the empty space that was covered by a painted mural in days gone by".

39. [Crossed out] "Here and there I could see some idea, noticed an idea of great profundity, I saw Berg, I noticed themes, a work of art that I did not know, an impression, an idea that I too had had and which I had doubted, and I felt myself fortified as if by a kiss from my mother when I was afraid that I had behaved badly. Most often he had taken this idea much further than I ever could have done. Once however on the contrary I saw that he had stopped himself at a point that I had reached but that I had gone beyond. But always..."

40. [Written above the line] "not seeing and not looking at anything outside".

41. [Crossed out] "at such a moment".

42. [Margin, crossed out] "of which the intermittent life lasts as long as that of humanity and out of which certain times however..."

43. [Crossed out] "images".

44. [Margin] "This is several pages before it is indicated in the margin." "This curved line is independent from the line about solstices and is of utmost importance in which the line about solstices figures." [Crossed out] "to add further on".

45. [Crossed out] "To Madame the Princesse".

46. [Margin] "Fruitful illusion perhaps, the greatness of the poet perhaps being on condition that he does not demand it etc. - Here."


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