Loose Ends


Proust died before publication of The Fugitive, which explains the loose ends one finds scattered about.

Reports of Mme de Villeparisis’s death (V,391) were premature. We meet her again in Venice, where we learn more about her diminished social status in this account by Mme Sazerat about how she and her family lost their fortune:

“Because M de Villeparisis was, before her second marriage, the Duchesse d’Havré, beautiful as an angel, wicked as a demon, who drove my father to distraction, ruined him and then abandoned him immediately. Well, she may have behaved to him like the lowest prostitute, she may have been the cause of our having had to live, my family and myself, in humble circumstances at Combray, but now that my father is dead, my consolation is to think that he loved the most beautiful woman of his generation…? (V,859)

M. Legrandin has a distinctive way of entering male brothels. Robert de Saint-Loup has a distinctive way of entering male brothels.

He [Legrandin] was in the habit of frequenting certain low haunts where he did not wish to be seen going in or coming out: he would hurl himself into them….First of all upon Legrandin; needless to say, he swept like a hurricane into M. de Charlus’s town house, for all the world as though he were entering a house of ill-fame where he must on no account be seen… (V,904-905)

Something, however, struck me: not his face, which I did not see, nor his uniform, which was disguised by a heavy greatcoat, but the extraordinary disproportion between the number of different points which his body successively occupied and the very small number of seconds with which he made good this departure which had almost the air of a sortie from a besieged town. (VI,174-175)

Gilberte, “as we shall see,” becomes that Duchesse de Guermantes and the mother of a whole brood of children.

However that may be, Gilberte had been for only a short time the Marquise de Saint-Loup (in the process of becoming, as we shall see, Duchesse de Guermantes)…(V,909)

He [Saint-Loup] was seated by the side of Gilberte–already pregnant (subsequently he did not fail to keep her continually supplied with off-spring)…(V,926)

I like to think of myself as an informed reader, but I was not alert enough to anticipate this revelation:

No, the Baron and Baronne de Forcheville, despite these deceptive appearances, did figure on the wife’s side, it is true, and not on the Cambremer side, not because of the Guermantes, but because of Jupien, who, the better informed reader knows, was Odette’s first cousin. (V,915)

 One final loose end: This completes my reading of In Search of Lost Time and of this blog, at least in this form. I will turn next to some critical literary works on Proust and will probably find there something  on which to comment.

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