Poking dead things with a stick.  

nightstogether 58M
818 posts
5/1/2005 12:24 am

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Poking dead things with a stick.

'What I wanted was to possess Mme de Stermaria: for several days my desires had been actively and incessantly preparing my imagination for this pleasure, and this pleasure alone; any other pleasure (pleasure with another woman) would not have been ready, pleasure being but the realisation of a prior craving which is not always the same but changes according to the endless variations of one's fancies, the accidents of one's memory, the state of one's sexual disposition, the order of availability of one's desires, the most recently assuaged of which lie dormant until the disappointment of their fulfilment has been to some extent forgotten ...'

Proust writes with a wonderful form of naivete which never ceases, as I read through the second volume of his work now, to amaze me. Much of what he wrote eighty years ago strikes a cord today, with his thoughts on society and the way one reacts with other people; his yearnings for love and affection and his almost endless search for the right sexual partner, even if that partner is only destined to be 'used' for one night.

In an earlier section, he wrote:

'Certainly, it is more reasonable to devote one's life to women than to postage stamps or old snuff-boxes, even to pictures or statues. But the example of other collections should be a warning to us to diversify, to have not one woman but several.'

The manner in which he covers sexual liasons would, for most people, be incomprehensible, the results are so carefully masked to avoid offending the sensibilities of the day, and perhaps modern readers would not understand them fully. Take, for example, his first sexual experience with Gilberte. They are playing in the park - he must have been about fourteen or fifteen - and she holds something back from him and challenges him to take it from her. There follows a 'wrestling' match during which he becomes sexually excited and then, as sadly happens for some people, discovers that he has 'finished'. There was nothing else that he needed from Gilberte at that time. She, however, is not quite so easily satisfied, and suggests that they might go on wrestling for a little while longer. Suffice to say, bearing the times (1880s or so) and the fact that they are in the Champs-Elysées, both still had their clothes on!

private-intellectual (.de)

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