And now…for the details of the Sunday meal

COMBRAY.  Post  108 Friday 8 June,2018

Car, au fond permanent d’œufs, de côtelettes, de pommes de terre, de confitures, de biscuits, qu’elle ne nous annonçait même plus, Françoise ajoutait—selon les travaux des champs et des vergers, le fruit de la marée, les hasards du commerce, les politesses des voisins et son propre génie, et si bien que notre menu, comme ces quatre-feuilles qu’on sculptait au XIIIe siècle au portail des cathédrales, reflétait un peu le rythme des saisons et les épisodes de la vie—

For upon the permanent foundation of eggs, cutlets, potatoes, preserves, and biscuits, whose appearance on the table she no longer announced to us, Françoise would add—as the labour of fields and orchards, the harvest of the tides, the luck of the markets, the kindness of neighbours, and her own genius might provide; and so well, that our bill of fare, like the quatrefoils that were carved on the porches of cathedrals in the thirteenth century, reflected to some extent the march of the seasons and the incidents of human life

—: une barbue parce que la marchande lui en avait garanti la fraîcheur, une dinde parce qu’elle en avait vu une belle au marché de Roussainville-le-Pin, des cardons à la moelle parce qu’elle ne nous en avait pas encore fait de cette manière-là, un gigot rôti parce que le grand air creuse et qu’il avait bien le temps de descendre d’ici sept heures, des épinards pour changer, des abricots parce que c’était encore une rareté, des groseilles parce que dans quinze jours il n’y en aurait plus, des framboises que M. Swann avait apportées exprès, des cerises, les premières qui vinssent du cerisier du jardin après deux ans qu’il n’en donnait plus, du fromage à la crème que j’aimais bien autrefois, un gâteau aux amandes parce qu’elle l’avait commandé la veille, une brioche parce que c’était notre tour de l’offrir.

a brill, because the fish-woman had guaranteed its freshness; a turkey, because she had seen a beauty in the market at Roussainville-le-Pin; globe artichokes with marrow, because she had never done them for us in that way before; a roast leg of mutton, because the fresh air made one hungry and there would be plenty of time for it to ‘settle down’ in the seven hours before dinner; spinach, by way of a change; apricots, because they were still hard to get; gooseberries, because in another fortnight there would be none left; raspberries, which M. Swann had brought specially; cherries, the first to come from the cherry-tree, which had yielded none for the last two years; a cream cheese, of which in those days I was extremely fond; an almond cake, because she had ordered one the evening before; a fancy loaf, because it was our turn to ‘offer’ the holy bread.

Quand tout cela était fini, composée expressément pour nous, mais dédiée plus spécialement à mon père qui était amateur, une crème au chocolat, inspiration, attention personnelle de Françoise, nous était offerte, fugitive et légère comme une œuvre de circonstance où elle avait mis tout son talent.

And when all these had been eaten, a work composed expressly for ourselves, but dedicated more particularly to my father, who had a fondness for such things, a cream of chocolate, inspired in the mind, created by the hand of Françoise, would be laid before us, light and fleeting as an ‘occasional piece’ of music, into which she had poured the whole of her talent.

Celui qui eût refusé d’en goûter en disant: «J’ai fini, je n’ai plus faim», se serait immédiatement ravalé au rang de ces goujats qui, même dans le présent qu’un artiste leur fait d’une de ses œuvres, regardent au poids et à la matière alors que n’y valent que l’intention et la signature. Même en laisser une seule goutte dans le plat eût témoigné de la même impolitesse que se lever avant la fin du morceau au nez du compositeur.

some of Francoise’s ‘extras’ at Sunday lunch….

Anyone who refused to partake of it, saying: “No, thank you, I have finished; I am not hungry,” would at once have been lowered to the level of the Philistines who, when an artist makes them a present of one of his works, examine its weight and material, whereas what is of value is the creator’s intention and his signature. To have left even the tiniest morsel in the dish would have shewn as much discourtesy as to rise and leave a concert hall while the ‘piece’ was still being played, and under the composer’s-very eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reading Proust Project

34782984_209668756314350_9208836883977601024_nI began this project of giving readers three or four paragraphs a day of Proust’s novel, In Search of Lost Time, in order to give us all a chance to read the text slowly and carefully. When I read Proust for the first time, I think I raced through it, as if to get to the end was the goal. But of course, it shouldn’t be — its the journey….

I started posting on a FB page called Ten Minute Challenge, in January 2018, after having spent the previous year reading and translating Lucretius’s De Rerum Natura. If you want to catch up — you can go to Ten Minute Challenge — and scroll down until you find yourself at Post 4 (which is when I began to number the posts). You can read your way over to another site a few days ago, which began with Post 107.  That FB site is called Reading Proust Project. Volume 1, Swann’s Way   Starting tomorrow I will post on both sites,FB and on this blog, and will continue to do so.

You can, if you wish, share posts from the FB site; while this blog is perhaps easier on the eyes.  You will also be able to follow this blog, and make comments about posts.

I get up early to read, translate, and post, so if you are an early riser, you might like this as part of your morning routine.  I also try to give some illustration  from the period.  I think it is fine to just start with the here and now. If you keep going, you can always go back to the beginning later.428312_101507428196young proust762957488_11843489_1288804619_n

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