29 Sep 2009

Off from the Heads of Babes. Proust. Du coté chez swann (Swan's Way). Part 1, Combray, §3


by
Corry Shores
[Search Blog Here. Index-tags are found on the bottom of the left column.]

[Central Entry Directory]


Off from the Heads of Babes


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
Overture

Combray

I.


§3 /
§4

The narrator has been describing how he often awakes in the middle of the night. [§1 , §2]. He now explains that he then might fall back asleep, only to awaken again for brief moments [to have “an instantaneous flash of perception” « une lueur momentanée de conscience » of his darkened room.] While asleep, his mind could return to an earlier stage in his life when he feared that his great uncle would tear at his curls. To escape his great-uncle’s fingers, he then forces himself to awaken. And before returning to sleep, he would hide his hair under his pillow, just to be assured of its safety.

par mesure de précaution j’entourais complètement ma tête de mon oreiller avant de retourner dans le monde des rêves.

as a measure of precaution, I would bury the whole of my head in the pillow before returning to the world of dreams.



From the original text:

 

Je me rendormais, et parfois je n’avais plus que de courts réveils d’un instant, le temps d’entendre les craquements organiques des boiseries, d’ouvrir les yeux pour fixer le kaléidoscope de l’obscurité, de goûter grâce à une lueur momentanée de conscience le sommeil où étaient plongés les meubles, la chambre, le tout dont je n’étais qu’une petite partie et à l’insensibilité duquel je retournais vite m’unir. Ou bien en dormant j’avais rejoint sans effort un âge à jamais révolu de ma vie primitive, retrouvé telle de mes terreurs enfantines comme celle que mon grand-oncle me tirât par mes boucles et qu’avait dissipée le jour,—date pour moi d’une ère nouvelle,—où on les avait coupées. J’avais oublié cet événement pendant mon sommeil, j’en retrouvais le souvenir aussitôt que j’avais réussi à m’éveiller pour échapper aux mains de mon grand-oncle, mais par mesure de précaution j’entourais complètement ma tête de mon oreiller avant de retourner dans le monde des rêves.



I would fall asleep, and often I would be awake again for short snatches only, just long enough to hear the regular creaking of the wainscot, or to open my eyes to settle the shifting kaleidoscope of the darkness, to savour, in an instantaneous flash of perception, the sleep which lay heavy upon the furniture, the room, the whole surroundings of which I formed but an insignificant part and whose unconsciousness I should very soon return to share. Or, perhaps, while I was asleep I had returned without the least effort to an earlier stage in my life, now for ever outgrown; and had come under the thrall of one of my childish terrors, such as that old terror of my great-uncle’s pulling my curls, which was effectually dispelled on the day—the dawn of a new era to me—on which they were finally cropped from my head. I had forgotten that event during my sleep; I remembered it again immediately I had succeeded in making myself wake up to escape my great-uncle’s fingers; still, as a measure of precaution, I would bury the whole of my head in the pillow before returning to the world of dreams.


From:

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:







No comments:

Post a Comment