Sodom and Gomorrah (À la recherche du temps perdu #4)

After a certain age, and even if we develop in quite different ways, the more we become ourselves, the more our family traits are accentuated.

A man who, night after night, falls like a lump of lead upon his bed, and ceases to live until the moment when he wakes and rises, will such a man ever dream of making, I do not say great discoveries, but even minute observations upon sleep? He barely knows that he does sleep. A little insomnia is not without its value in making us appreciate sleep, in throwing a ray of light upon that darkness. A memory without fault is not a very powerful incentive to studying the phenomena of memory.

As by an electric current that gives us a shock, I have been shaken by my loves, I have lived them, I have felt them: never have I succeeded in seeing or thinking them.

But, don’t you see, since we happened to have M. de Cambremer here, and he is a Marquis, while you are only a Baron. . . . ” “Pardon me,” M. de Charlus replied with an arrogant air to the astonished Verdurin, “I am also Duc de Brabant, Damoiseau de Montargis, Prince d’Oloron, de Carency, de Viareggio and des Dunes. However, it is not of the slightest importance. Please do not distress yourself,” he concluded, resuming his subtle smile which spread itself over these final words: “I could see at a glance that you were not accustomed to society.

But for the invert vice begins, not when he establishes a relationship (for too many reasons may govern that), but when he takes his pleasure with women.

But sometimes the future is latent in us without our knowing it, and our supposedly lying words foreshadow an imminent reality.

Composers were warned not to strain the attention of their audience, as though we had not at our disposal different degrees of attention, among which it rests precisely with the artist himself to arouse the highest. For those who yawn with boredom after ten lines of a mediocre article have journeyed year after year to Bayreuth to listen to the Ring.

(...) emprestando-lhe formas encantadoras de simplicidade, de aparente franqueza, e até de uma altivez independente que parecia inspirada pelo desinteresse. Isso era falso, mas a vantagem da atitude estava bem mais a favor de Morel, considerando-se que, enquanto aquele que ama está sempre forçado a voltar à carga, a insistir, pelo contrário, é fácil ao que não ama seguir uma linha reta, inflexível e graciosa.

Hence one meets in polite society few novelists, or poets, few of all those sublime creatures who speak of the things that are not to be mentioned.

I felt that I did not really remember her except through the pain, and I longed for the nails that riveted her to my consciousness to be driven yet deeper.

Illness is the most heeded of doctors: to kindness and wisdom we make promises only; pain we obey.

...infirmity alone makes us take notice and learn, and enables us to analyse mechanisms of which otherwise we should know nothing. A man who falls straight into bed night after night, and ceases to live until the moment when he wakes and rises, will surely never dream of making, I don't say great discoveries, but even minor observations about sleep. He scarcely knows that he is asleep. A little insomnia is not without its value in making us appreciate sleep, in throwing a ray of light upon that darkness. An unfailing memory is not a very powerful incentive to the study of the phenomena of memory.

I remained serious. For one thing, I thought it stupid of her to appear to believe or to wish other people to believe that nobody, really, was as smart as herself. For another thing, people who laugh so heartily at what they themselves have said, when it is not funny, dispense us accordingly, by taking upon themselves the responsibility for the mirth, from joining in it.

It is not only by dint of lying to others, but also of lying to ourselves, that we cease to notice that we are lying.

It's far more difficult to disfigure a great work of art than to create one.

M. de Charlus made no reply and looked as if he had not heard, which was one of his favourite forms of rudeness.

Parties of this sort are as a rule premature. They have little reality until the following day, when they occupy the attention of the people who were not invited.

So as not to see anything any more, I turned towards the wall, but alas, what was now facing me was that partition which used to serve us as a morning messenger, that partition which, as responsive as a violin in rendering every nuance of a feeling, reported so exactly to my grandmother my fear at once of waking her and, if she were already awake, of not being heard by her and so of her not coming, then immediately, like a second instrument taking up the melody, informing me of her coming and bidding me be calm. I dared not put out my hand to that wall, any more than to a piano on which my grandmother had been playing and which still vibrated from her touch. I knew that I might knock now, even louder, that nothing would wake her any more, that I should hear no response, that my grandmother would never come again. And I asked nothing more of God, if a paradise exists, than to be able, there, to knock on that wall with the three little raps which my grandmother would recognize among a thousand, and to which she would give those answering knocks which meant: "Don't fuss, little mouse, I know you're impatient, but I'm coming," and that he would let me stay with her throughout eternity, which would not be too long for the two of us.

...that melancholy which we feel when we cease to obey orders which, from one day to another, keep the future hidden, and realise that we have at last begun to live in real earnest, as a grown-up person, the life, the only life that any of us has at his disposal.

The being that I shall be after death has no more reason to remember the man I have been since my birth than the latter to remember what I was before it.

The mistakes of doctors are innumerable. They err as a rule out of optimism as to the treatment, and pessimism as to the outcome.

Then from those profound slumbers we awake in a dawn, not knowing who we are, being nobody, newly born, ready for anything, the brain emptied of that past which was life until then. And perhaps it is more wonderful still when our landing at the waking-point is abrupt and the thoughts of our sleep, hidden by a cloak of oblivion, have no time to return to us gradually, before sleep ceases. Then, from the black storm through which we seem to have passed (but we do not even say we), we emerge prostrate, without a thought, a we that is void of content.

...the nose is generally the organ in which stupidity is most readily displayed.

There was a time when my ancestors were proud of the title of chamberlain or butler to the King," said the Baron. "There was also a time," replied Morel haughtily, "when my ancestors cut off your ancestors' heads.

...the seaside life and the life of travel made me realise that the theatre of the world is stocked with fewer settings than actors, and with fewer actors than situations.

The theatre of the world is stocked with fewer settings than actors, and with fewer actors than situations.

We do not include the pleasures we enjoy in sleep in the inventory of the pleasures we have experienced in the course of our existence.

We passionately long for there to be another life in which we shall be similar to what we are here below. But we do not pause to reflect that, even without waiting for that other life, in this life, after a few years, we are unfaithful to what we once were, to what we wished to remain immortally. Even without supposing that death is to alter us more completely than the changes that occur in the course of our lives, if in that other life we were to encounter the self that we have been, we should turn away from ourselves as from those people with whom we were once on friendly terms but whom we have not seen for years… We dream much of a paradise, or rather of a number of successive paradises, but each of them is, long before we die, a paradise lost, in which we should feel ourselves lost too.