Reading Proust

August 31, 2010

“And on one of the longest walks we ever took from Combray there was a spot where the narrow road emerged suddenly on to an immense plain, closed at the horizon by strips of forest over which rose and stood alone the fine point of Saint-Hilaire’s steeple, but so sharpened and so pink that it seemed to be no more than sketched on the sky by the finger-nail of a painter anxious to give such a landscape, to so pure a piece of ‘nature,’ this little sign of art, this single indication of human existence.  As one drew near it and could make out the remains of the square tower, half in ruins, which still stood by its side, though without rivalling it in height, one was struck, first of all, by the tone, reddish and sombre, of its stones; and on a misty morning in autumn one would have called it, to see it rising above the violet thunder-cloud of the vineyards, a ruin of purple, the colour of the wild vine.”

Swann’s Way, “Combray,” p. 48 (2 vol. Random House ed., trans. Moncrieff)

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