A new tone and setting (a decade before Combray chapter; narrator is a newborn), the salon of Mme. Verdurin, a bohemian setting of artists and slackers and wits. Dr Cottard a terrific gasbag, who has reset Mme. Verdurin’s dislocated jaw–she was injured by laughing too much. Swann is invited to the gathering by Mme. Crecy where he is sized up. Swann is making women left and right, and has established a scandalous reputation.
Lost of adjectives to describe Swann’s pursuit of Odette Crecy–exhilarating, stupid, exhausting, pathetic, immature, sensual. The good Dr and others know Odette’s history but Swann hasn’t figured out what she does when he’s not around. It’s clear that a reader is being set up for a big revelation, but the relationship between the new lovers is how one ought to remember first loves.
Painful to first watch Mme Verdurin turn against Swann, and then, in a jealous fit, to watch Swann come apart knowing the Verdurins don’t want him around anymore. His rage is pure jealousy, and yet he can’t see that Odette isn’t the girl for him. So much heartache.
Finished the chapter and confused by its optimistic ending. One knows that things of course don’t end well for Swann, and yet one is relieved to know Swann himself can be honest with himself, can see and remark on his stupidity and absurd behavior with Odette.