Friday 12 October 2012

Proust on sacrifice and the art of editing

Proust on the art of leaving things out: “ en est d'un salon au sens social du mot comme au sens materiel où il suffit de meubles qu'on ne trouve pas jolis mais qu'on laisse comme remplissage et preuve de richesse, pour le rendre affreux. Un tel salon ressemble à un ouvrage où on ne sait pas s'abstenir des phrases qui démontrent du savoir, du brillant, de la facilité. Comme un livre, comme une maison, la qualité d'un salon, ..., a pour pierre angulaire le sacrifice." (Le Côté de Guermantes, À la Recherche du Temps Perdu, Vol III, p. 415, NRF)

Free translation: " is with a salon in the social sense of the word as well as in the material sense, that it is enough to leave, as padding and proof of wealth, furniture one does not actually like, to make it horrible. Such a salon is like a work where one has not known to abstain from the sentences which demonstrate knowledge, brilliance, ease. Just like a book, like a house, the quality of a salon has sacrifice as its corner stone."

Editing applied to life.

The previous paragraph- and a substantial proportion of the book - is about snobbery, behaviour differences between the strata of society  and the way choices are made as to whom one allows into one's life. Also how desire waxes and wanes - in this case sexual desire for a particular person.

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