Interview with André Arnyvelde

   This reclusion, I believe, has profoundly benefited my work. Shadow, silence and solitude, by laying their heavy cloak over me, have obliged me to re-create within myself all the lights and music and thrills of nature and society. My spiritual being no longer assails itself against the barriers of the invisible and nothing impedes its freedom [...] When it happens that a slender ray of sunlight manages to insinuate itself in here, like the ancient statue of Memnon which produces harmonious sounds when it is struck by the rays of the rising star, my whole being bursts with joy and I find myself transported into worlds of splendour... I have profound luxuries within my imprisonment. In much the same way, I assure you, and please don't laugh because you will come to understand me, for me there is a certain sort of reading which gives me the same pleasure... railway timetables. Oh! the sweet caress of all those names of villages and towns in the P.L.M.1, the charming evocation of lands of lightness and life that I will never visit...

   Du côté de chez Swann [...] is just the first book of a trilogy called À la recherche du temps perdu. The second book will be called: Le Côté de Guermantes; the third: Le Temps retrouvé. But it is possible, or it will be possible, for each volume to be considered as a complete work in its own right. Yet it will be only after reading all three books that the reader will possess the full identity of my characters. I have tried to follow their life in the unsuspected aspects of a character as they are suddenly revealed in front of our eyes [...] In this way we shall see in my book, among many others, a certain Vinteuil, who, in Du côté de chez Swann, is a decent chap, although a somewhat clumsy bourgeois and rather common; and it is not until the next volume that we learn that he is in fact a musician of genius, the author of a sublime cantata....

1. P.L.M. Paris-Lyon Méditeranée railway company.

Interview with André Arnyvelde (real name André Lévy) appeared in Le Miroir, 21 December 1913.


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