Genesis of the opening lines of À la recherche du temps perdu

1. Cahier 3
   In previous times I had like everybody else the peacefulness of waking up in the middle of the night, of savouring for an instant the darkness the silence, some dull creaking, as might an apple in the bottom of a wardrobe called up for a moment into a dim consciousness of its position, [etc...]

2. Cahier 5
   At that period I was already ill and could no longer go to bed and sleep other than during the day. But I could remember how, for a time, following close together, it is very remote now, if I awoke in the middle of the night, it was not for very long and only to enter into consciousness for a moment.

3. Cahier 5
   At that period I was already ill and could no longer be in bed and sleep, other than during the day. But the time was not yet so distant - and I nourished the illusion of seeing it soon return - where being at one with my bed and my room I slept the night and woke up just in time to become conscious of the darkness of the room, of its silence and its dull creaking, as might a jar of preserves or an apple in the bottom of a wardrobe where it rested on a shelf, called up for a moment into a vague consciousness. Often what had awakened me would be to have dreamed that my old uncle [etc...]

4. Cahier 1
   In the period I wish to speak about, at the time I was already ill and was no longer able to sleep, nor even to be in bed, other than during the day. But the time was not so very distant (and I was still able to hope that it would return) when I used to get into my bed at ten o'clock in the evening, and in spite of waking up briefly a few times slept until the next morning. Often, my lamp scarcely extinguished, I fell asleep so quickly [etc...]

5. Cahier 1
   At the time of that morning that I want, I do not know why, to fix in my memory, I was already ill, I stayed up all night, went to bed in the morning and slept in the day. But then still very recently for me was a time that I hoped to see return and which today seems to have been lived by a different person when I used to get into my bed at ten o'clock in the evening...

6. Cahier 8
   At the time of that morning that I would like to fix in my memory, I was already ill, I was obliged to spend the whole night up, and only went to bed in the day. But then the time was not so very distant, and I hoped that it would return, when I used to get into my bed at ten o'clock in the evening and, after several more or less brief dreams, slept until the next morning. Sometimes, my lamp scarcely extinguished, [etc...]

7. Cahier 9
   At the period of that morning that I would like to fix in my memory, I was already ill, I was obliged to spend the whole night up, and only went to bed in the day. But then the time was not so very distant, and I still hoped that it could return, when every evening I used to go to bed early and, after several more or less lengthy dreams, slept till morning. Sometimes, my candle scarcely out, [etc...]

8. First typescript of SWANN
   As above (Cahier 9), crossed out and replaced with:
   For a long time I went to bed early. Sometimes, my candle scarcely out, [etc...]

9. Printed text
   For a long time I went to bed early. Sometimes, my candle scarcely out, [etc...]

From Bulletin d'informations proustiennes No 8, 1978. Genèse de l'incipit de La Recherche, Claudine Quémar, p10 - 11.


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