Albertine Aroused

Albertine passes a school-girlish note to Marcel saying that she likes him. When Albertine must spend a night at his hotel, Marcel resolves to express his passion for her.

But I told myself that not for nothing does a girls invite a young man to her room in secret, arranging that her aunt should not know, and that boldness, moreover, rewards those who know how to seize their opportunities; in the state of exaltation in which I was, Albertine’s round face, lit by an inner flame as by a night-light, stood out in such relief that, imitating the rotation of a glowing sphere, it seemed to me to be turning, like those Michelangelo figures which are being swept away in a stationary and vertiginous whirlwind. I was about to discover the fragrance, the flavor which this strange pink fruit concealed. I heard a sound, abrupt, prolonged and shrill. Albertine had pulled the bell with all her might. (II,701)

Marcel has misread her interest in him. But Albertine is indeed passionate, although she expresses her sexuality diffusively and ambiguously. Andrée is here commenting on Giselle’s school essay.

Albertine’s eyes never ceased to sparkle while she was reading this to us….Albertine’s admiration, with a change, it is true, of object but with no loss—an increase rather—of intensity, combined with the closed attention to what was being said, continue to make her eyes “start from her head” all the time that Andrée [spoke]. (II,672)

“Andrée, you really are staggering, “she cried….(II,672)

Albertine was drinking in every word. Her eyes blazed. And it was with the utmost indignation that she rejected Rosemonde’s suggestion that they should have a game. (I,674)

Admiration and attention  had made Albertine so hot that she was sweating profusely. Andrée preserved the unruffled calm of a female dandy.” (ii,675)



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