17 Nov 2009

ReDreams of Rooms Past. Proust. Du coté chez swann (Swan's Way). Part 1, Combray, §9

Corry Shores
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ReDreams of Rooms Past

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




§9 /


Previously the narrator explained his disorientations upon awakening. In fact, the objects in the room even seem to spin around him until he begins to recognize the room he is in. He does so first by recalling every other room he ever slept in.

Now he says that the whirling objects have finally settled. Before this moment he was considering every room he could possibly be in. Now he knows he is not in those rooms. Yet, his memory already called them to mind. So, he spends much of his nights like this remembering these other places anyway.

From the English translation:

Certainly I was now well awake; my body had turned about for the last time and the good angel of certainty had made all the surrounding objects stand still, had set me down under my bedclothes, in my bedroom, and had fixed, approximately in their right places in the uncertain light, my chest of drawers, my writing-table, my fireplace, the window overlooking the street, and both the doors. But it was no good my knowing that I was not in any of those houses of which, in the stupid moment of waking, if I had not caught sight exactly, I could still believe in their possible presence; for memory was now set in motion; as a rule I did not attempt to go to sleep again at once, but used to spend the greater part of the night recalling our life in the old days at Combray with my great-aunt, at Balbec, Paris, Doncières, Venice, and the rest; remembering again all the places and people that I had known, what I had actually seen of them, and what others had told me.

From the French:

Certes, j’étais bien éveillé maintenant, mon corps avait viré une dernière fois et le bon ange de la certitude avait tout arrêté autour de moi, m’avait couché sous mes couvertures, dans ma chambre, et avait mis approximativement à leur place dans l’obscurité ma commode, mon bureau, ma cheminée, la fenêtre sur la rue et les deux portes. Mais j’avais beau savoir que je n’étais pas dans les demeures dont l’ignorance du réveil m’avait en un instant sinon présenté l’image distincte, du moins fait croire la présence possible, le branle était donné à ma mémoire; généralement je ne cherchais pas à me rendormir tout de suite; je passais la plus grande partie de la nuit à me rappeler notre vie d’autrefois, à Combray chez ma grand’tante, à Balbec, à Paris, à Doncières, à Venise, ailleurs encore, à me rappeler les lieux, les personnes que j’y avais connues, ce que j’avais vu d’elles, ce qu’on m’en avait raconté.

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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