the rigorous m

bits and bobs, quotes and catching up

quotes: proust on imagining the beloved

Posted by rigorousm on July 12, 2011


The questing, anxious, exacting way that we have of looking at the person we love, our eagerness for the word which shall give us or take from us the hope of an appoirtnment for the morrow, and, until that word is uttered, our alternative if not simultaneous imaginings of joy and of despair, all these make our observation, in the beloved object’s presence, too tremulous to be able to carry away a clear impression of her. Perhaps, also, that activity of all the sense at once which endeavours to learn from the visible aspect alone what lies behind it is over-indulgent to the thousand forms, to the changing fragrance, to the movements of the living person whom as a rule, when we are not in love, we regard as fixed in one permanent position. Whereas the beloved model does not stay still; and our mental photographs of her are always blurred.

— Proust, p375


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