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A book within a book, Swann in Love is a novella found within of the first volume, Swann's Way, of Marcel Proust's magnum opus In Search of Lost Time; providing the portraiture of a stormy love affair between demi-monde seductress Odette de Crécy and high-society gentleman Charles Swann, the work proceeds to diagram the love and jealousy with which the latter personage has become consumed. The result is the expression of a singular and profound philosophy on love, set down with eloquence and with humour. A popular entry point into Proust's great work, Swann in Love can indeed be read in isolation from the rest of La Recherche.
Swann's Way: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01M1B8EFB
From the text:
But at the age Swann was approaching, where one is already a little disillusioned and where he knows to be content at being in love simply for the pleasure of it, without demanding too much in return, this coming together of two hearts, if it is no longer, as it was in one's youth, the goal that love, by necessity, tends towards, it has nevertheless stayed tied to one's love by such a strong association of ideas that if it presents itself first it can itself become the cause. At an earlier age, one dreamt of possessing the heart of the woman he loves; later in life, feeling he has already come to possess one's heart could be enough to make him fall in love. So at an age where it would seem—for in love we search above all for a subjective pleasure—that a woman's beauty and how it aligns with our tastes would play a larger role than ever, a love can be born, a love of the most physical kind even, without there having been any initial foundation of desire. At this stage in our life we have been touched by love more than once; it no longer evolves on its own, following its unknown, fatal laws before our passive and astonished hearts. We come to its aid; calling on our memories, yielding to suggestion, we act it out. In recognizing one of its symptoms, we recall, we recreate the others. As we possess its song, engraved on our heart in its entirety, we need only for a woman to provide the opening strands, filled with the admiration we feel at recognizing another's beauty, and we know what comes next. And if she starts in the middle, at the part where our two hearts come together, where we talk of existing each only for the other, we know this tune well enough that we can at once join our partner in the passage where she awaits us.
bound: 269 pages
filesize: 584 KB