Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Bible According to Proust . . .

“It is only when certain periods of our lives have come to a close forever, when, even during the hours in which power and freedom seem to have been given to us, we are forbidden to reopen their doors furtively, it is when we are incapable of placing ourselves again, even for an instant, in our former state, it is only then that we refuse to believe that such things might have been entirely abolished. We can no longer sing of them, having ignored the wise warning of Goethe that there is poetry only in those things which one still feels. But unable to rekindle the flames of the past, we want at least to gather its ashes. Lacking a resurrection we can no longer bring about, with the cold memory we have kept of those things – the memory of facts telling us, ‘you were thus,’ without permitting us to become thus again, affirming to us the reality of a lost paradise instead of giving it back to us through recollection – we wish at least to describe it and to establish its knowledge.”

(Marcel Proust, “Preface to La Bible d’Amiens”)

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