I have good news and bad news (or maybe bad news and bad news...it depends). My parents' poolhouse no longer has wi-fi access, which means that I spent an inordinate amount of time reading Proust for the last four days. This is good news for those who liked my Proust entries and very bad news for those who didn't - as I now have days and days (and days) of material! ;)
"Convinced that the music that I heard there (the Prelude to Lohengrin, the Overture to Tannhauser and such like) expressed the loftiest of truths..." ~Marcel Proust, Within a Budding Grove
Lohengrin is a romantic opera in three acts composed and written by Richard Wagner. (Hear the Prelude to Act III here. If you like that, see more here.) Tannhauser is another opera by Wagner, based on the two Germanic legends of Tannhäuser and the song contest at Wartburg. (From what I read through bleary eyes at 11:45 p.m. when I had to wake up at 5:30 a.m., it seems like our traditional wedding march is from Tannhauser. See a bit here.)
I had to look this word up while reading Proust the other night. It's one of those words you know you've heard and you know you probably know the definition - but you're not quite sure. So when you get to the word in Proust, maybe you will remember it:
jejune, adj. - 1. without interest or significance; dull; insipid: a jejune novel. 2. juvenile; immature; childish: jejune behavior. 3. lacking knowledge or experience; uninformed: jejune attempts to design a house. 4. deficient or lacking in nutritive value: a jejune diet.
"Meanwhile, to dissipate, in the course of this interminable assent, the mortal anguish which I felt in penetrating thus in silence the mystery of this chiaroscuro so devoid of poetry, lighted by a single vertical line of little windows which were those of the solitary water-closet on each landing, I addressed a few words to the young organist, artificer of my journey and my partner in captivity, who continued to manipulate the registers of his instrument and to finger the stops." ~Marcel Proust, Within a Budding Grove
Giovanni Baglione, Sacred Love Versus Profane Love.
Chiaroscuro is a term in art for a contrast between light and dark. The term is usually applied to bold contrasts affecting a whole composition, but is also more technically used by artists and art historians for the use of effects representing contrasts of light, not necessarily strong, to achieve a sense of volume in modelling three-dimensional objects such as the human body. The term is now also used in describing similar effects in the lighting of cinema and photography.
"...the triple frown of Minos, Aeacus and Rhadamanthus...was bent sternly upon me..." ~ Marcel Proust, Within a Budding Grove
In Greek mythology, there were three judges of the underworld: Minos, Aeacus, and Rhadamanthus. Minos, a son of Zeus and Europa, had been the king of Crete before becoming supreme judge in the underworld after his death. Aeacus, another son of Zeus, was king of Aegina before joining the underworld triumvirate. Rhadamanthus, brother of Minos and king of the Cyclades Islands, was especially known for being inflexible when administering his judgment.
They were originally mortal men who were granted their position of demigods after death as a reward for the establishment of law on earth.
"I reminded myself of what I had read about Balbec, of Swann's saying, 'It's exquisite; as beautiful as Siena.'" ~ Marcel Proust, Within a Budding Grove
Siena is a city in Tuscany, Italy. It is the capital of the province of Siena. The historic center of Siena has been declared by UNESCO a World Heritage Site.
According to legend, Siena was founded by Senius, son of Remus, who was in turn the brother of Romulus, after whom Rome was named. Statues and other artwork depicting a she-wolf suckling the young twins Romulus and Remus can be seen all over the city of Siena.
"Surely this is not the enraptured traveler Ruskin speaks of..."
John Ruskin is best known for his work as an art critic and social critic, but is remembered as an author, poet, artist - and travel writer - as well. Ruskin's essays on art and architecture were extremely influential in the Victorian and Edwardian eras.
Ruskin wrote several travel books of Italy that appealed to the middle class crowd - ready to hit the road and explore. He had a lifelong passion for the Alps and Venice, both of which he wrote about often.
"Now the memories of love are no exception to the general laws of memory, which in turn are governed by the still more general laws of Habit. And as Habit weakens everything, what best reminds us of a person is precisely what we had forgotten (because it was of no importance, and we therefore left it in full possession of its strength). That is why the better part of our memories exists outside us, in a blatter of rain, in the smell of an unaired room or of the first crackling brushwood fire in a cold grate: wherever, in short, we happen upon what our mind, having no use for it, had rejected, the last treasure that the past has in store, the richest, that which, when all our flow of tears seems to have dried at the source, can make us weep again. Outside us? Within us, rather, but hidden from our eyes in an oblivion more or less prolonged. It is thanks to this oblivion alone that we can from time to time recover the person that we were, place ourselves in relation to things as he was placed, suffer anew because we are no longer ourselves but he, and because he loved what now leaves us indifferent. In the broad daylight of our habitual memory the images of the past turn gradually pale and fade out of sight, nothing remains of them, we shall never recapture it." ~Marcel Proust, Within a Budding Grove
"...this love of ours, in so far as it is a love for one particular creature, is not perhaps the very real thing since, though associations of pleasant or painful musings can attach it for a time to a woman to the extent of making us believe that it has been insired by her in a logically necessary way, if on the hand we detach ourselves deliberately or unconsciously from these associations, this love, as though it were in fact spontaneous and sprang from ourselves alone, will revive in order to bestow itself on another woman." ~Marcel Proust, Within a Budding Grove