18 Apr 2017

Proust (§20/22) Swann’s Way. [M. Swann conceals from the narrator’s family his dinner with a princess.]


by Corry Shores


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[The following is summary, with my own bracketed comments. Proofreading is incomplete, so I apologize in advance for my distracting typos.]





Marcel Proust


Du côté de chez swann. À la recherche du temps perdu. Tome I

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


Première partie



Combray I.



[M. Swann conceals from the narrator’s family his dinner with a princess.]



Brief summary:

M. Swann once dined with a princess, but he concealed this fact from the narrator’s family.







[We have  been discussing how M. Swann was secretly welcomed among high society, but he concealed this when visiting the narrator’s family, who remained completely unaware of it.] One evening Swann came from Paris. He apologized for being dressed very formally. Françoise learned from Swann’s coachman that Swann had dined with a princess. [We later learn the following about Françoise: “Françoise, my aunt’s cook who used to be put in charge of me when I was at Combray”.] Upon learning this from Françoise, the narrator’s aunt seemed unimpressed [perhaps because she did not believe it, or maybe somehow she does know. In §18/19-20 there is more on the great-aunt regarding this topic, but perhaps it is not the same aunt.]




From the English translation:


One day when he had come to see us after dinner in Paris, and had begged pardon for being in evening clothes, Françoise, when he had gone, told us that she had got it from his coachman that he had been dining “with a princess.” “A pretty sort of princess,” drawled my aunt; “I know them,” and she shrugged her shoulders without raising her eyes from her knitting, serenely ironical.



From the French:


Un jour qu’il était venu nous voir à Paris après dîner en s’excusant d’être en habit, Françoise ayant, après son départ, dit tenir du cocher qu’il avait dîné «chez une princesse» — «Oui, chez une princesse du demi-monde!» avait répondu ma tante en haussant les épaules sans lever les yeux de sur son tricot, avec une ironie sereine.




Proust, Marcel. Du côté de chez swann. À 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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