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[livejournal.com profile] spikeiowa and I recently started a Proust Support Group, inspired by the original group chronicled by Miss P in her zine Proust Said That. We gathered a group of like-minded folks, and have been reading 10 pages/day of Remembrance of Things Past for the past 4 months. We'll finish in August. This is a good thing to be doing with a group. Parts are wonderful, but parts are tedious too.

When I started my LiveJournal account, one of my intentions was to regale you with occasional short quotes and excerpts from the wonderful parts. Here's my first, from rather a while ago in our reading, but it was one of the first bits that made me laugh out loud.

Because Proust is often funny! We were all astonished to find this out. Well, not joke funny, more like social satire or lead you down the garden path funny. The passage below is an example of the latter. Do read all the way through to the end, because the twist is in the final phrase.

"...but what most enraptured me were the asparagus, tinged with ultramarine and pink which shaded off from their heads, finely stippled in mauve and azure, through a series of imperceptible gradations to their white feet--still stained a little by the soil of their garden-bed--with an iridescence that was not of this world. I felt that these celestial hues indicated the presence of exquisite creatures who had been pleased to assume vegetable form, and who, through the disguise of their firm, edible flesh, allowed me to discern in this radiance of earliest dawn, these hinted rainbows, these blue evening shades, that precious quality which I should recognise again when, all night long after a dinner at which I had partaken of them, they played (lyrical and coarse in their jesting as the fairies in Shakespeare’s Dream) at transforming my humble chamber pot into a vase of aromatic perfume."

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