the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

quotes: proust on momentary attraction

Posted by rigorousm on July 11, 2011


… if there were no such thing as habit, life must appear delightful to those of us who would at every moment be threatened with death– that is to say, to all mankind. Then, if our imagination is set going by the desire for what we may not possess, its flight is not limited by a reality completely perceived, in these causal encounters in which the charms of the passing stranger are generally in direct ratio to the swiftness of our passage. If only night is falling and the carriage is moving fast, whether in town or country, there is not a female torso, mutilated like an antique marble by the speed that tears us away and the dusk that drowns it, but aims at our heart, from every turning in the road, from the lighted interior of every shop, the arrows of Beauty, that Beauty of which we are sometimes tempted to ask ourselves whether it is, in this world, anything more than the complementary part that is added to a fragmentary and fugitive stranger by our imagination overstimulated by regret.


– Proust, Place-Names: The Place p 540


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