The Guermantes way – post III

The world is a very small place and the circles that Marcel moves in are crossing with each other all the time with sometimes awkward results. This really is like a soap opera with old whores from Volume II turning up in the most unexpected places.

Also talking of circles of repetition tomorrow I will try and get beyond just a meager 60 pages a day…

Bullet points between pages 121 – 187

* It becomes clear that because of problems with his mistress Saint-Loup is not going to be heading back to Paris anytime soon and be in a position to sell his friend’s virtues to his Aunt

* After some consideration the plan that the narrator comes up with is to praise a painting by Elstir that he knows that Aunt has and asks Saint-Loup if he will by letter recommend him and ask if his aunt would allow a visit to see the picture

* Following hot on the heels of his mistress Saint-Loup gets leave to go abroad and that leaves Marcel in the position of after two weeks going back or staying on and hanging out with Saint-Loup’s friends

* He tries to speak to his grandmother on the phone and the isolation and nervousness he feels after losing contact with her on what was at the time a very new technology means that his whole instinct is to return to Paris

* Once back he discovers that Saint-Loup has not made any introductions for him with his Aunt and so he resorts back to his stalking tactics trying to catch her attention by ‘meeting’ her on daily walks

* To prove that the world is a very small place when Marcel finally meets Saint-Loup’s mistress it turns out to be a prostitute that he knew in the past and he muses on the fact that what any man could have paid 20 francs for has cost Saint-Loup a million

* He goes for dinner with Saint-Loup and his mistress and is taken into their fragile world of threats and arguments that make it clear that this is a relationship that is painful at times to both and must surely end in the ruin of one or both of them

* More cracks show in the theatre after the dinner and Saint-Loup and his mistress get into an argument about a dancer and his rage is directed on a journalist who he hits in the face

One of the themes of the book so far is the Dreyfus case, which splits friends with Saint-Loup being pro Dreyfus and Marcel’s father and quite a few others being against. In a nutshell Dreyfus was a senior artillery officer, who also happened to be a Jew, who was accused of giving secrets to the Germans. He was quickly found guilty and locked up on Devil’s Island and despite the lack of evidence against him it became a political issue, hence why people like Marcel’s father wanted him locked up. In the end justice did prevail and Dreyfus was released, pardoned and was in time to serve his country with honour in the First World War.


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