30 Sep 2009

Maiden Dreams. Proust. Du coté chez swann (Swan's Way). Part 1, Combray, §4

Corry Shores
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Maiden Dreams

Marcel Proust

Du coté chez swann.
A la recherche du temps perdu. Tome I

Swan's Way
Vol. 1 of Remembrance of Things Past

Première partie



§4 /

The narrator has been telling of how he awakes at night to a darkness mixed with dream and reality. [§1 , §2, §3] He

explains now that under this dreamy state, he might sense a desirable woman beside him. He could even feel her embrace and kisses. But as consciousness regains, she fades away.

From the original text:

Quelquefois, comme Eve naquit d’une côte d’Adam, une femme naissait pendant mon sommeil d’une fausse position de ma cuisse. Formée du plaisir que j’étais sur le point de goûter, je m’imaginais que c’était elle qui me l’offrait. Mon corps qui sentait dans le sien ma propre chaleur voulait s’y rejoindre, je m’éveillais. Le reste des humains m’apparaissait comme bien lointain auprès de cette femme que j’avais quittée il y avait quelques moments à peine; ma joue était chaude encore de son baiser, mon corps courbaturé par le poids de sa taille. Si, comme il arrivait quelquefois, elle avait les traits d’une femme que j’avais connue dans la vie, j’allais me donner tout entier à ce but: la retrouver, comme ceux qui partent en voyage pour voir de leurs yeux une cité désirée et s’imaginent qu’on peut goûter dans une réalité le charme du songe. Peu à peu son souvenir s’évanouissait, j’avais oublié la fille de mon rêve.

Sometimes, too, just as Eve was created from a rib of Adam, so a woman would come into existence while I was sleeping, conceived from some strain in the position of my limbs. Formed by the appetite that I was on the point of gratifying, she it was, I imagined, who offered me that gratification. My body, conscious that its own warmth was permeating hers, would strive to become one with her, and I would awake. The rest of humanity seemed very remote in comparison with this woman whose company I had left but a moment ago: my cheek was still warm with her kiss, my body bent beneath the weight of hers. If, as would sometimes happen, she had the appearance of some woman whom I had known in waking hours, I would abandon myself altogether to the sole quest of her, like people who set out on a journey to see with their own eyes some city that they have always longed to visit, and imagine that they can taste in reality what has charmed their fancy. And then, gradually, the memory of her would dissolve and vanish, until I had forgotten the maiden of my dream.


Proust, Marcel. Du coté chez swann. A la recherche du temps perdu. Tome I.
Available online at:

Proust, Marcel. Swan's Way. Vol. 1 of Remembrance of Things Past. Transl. C.K. Scott Moncrieff
Available online at:

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