Notebook (archive 3)

November 25, 2013 § Leave a comment

“The heir to Balzacian obsession, Proust, for whom every social invitation is an ‘open Sesame’ to restored life, escorts us into labyrinths where primeval gossip conveys to him the dark secrets of all splendour, until this becomes, under his too close and yearning gaze, dull and cracked. Yet the placet futile, the preoccupation with a historically-condemned luxury class whose superfluity any bourgeois could show by calculations, the absurd energy squandered on the squanderers, is more thoroughly rewarded than the unclouded eye for the relevant. The framework of decline within which Proust quotes the portrait of his society, turns out to be that of a major social tendency. What meets its downfall in Charlus, Saint-Loup and Swann is the same thing that is lacking in the whole succeeding generation, who do not even know the name of the last poet. The eccentric psychology of decadence traces the negative anthropology of mass society: Proust gave an allergic account of what was about to befall all love.”

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