Proust notes — Madame Swann at Home


Starts with Swann as Odette’s husband, some time removed from Swann in Love chapter. Narrator is a theater buff, gets to see his favorite actress Berma in a production of Phedre.

Soon we meet de Norpois, a windbag with thoughts and theories about everything, including Bergotte, our narrator’s favorite author. de Norpois is a fan of Mme Swann, and intrigued that our young narrator knows Swann’s daughter Gilberte.

Gilberte throws some teenage tea parties and our narrator attends, fulfilling a partial desire he has to know the Swanns.

Narrator finally meets Bergotte at the Swanns for a party, and the chapter is endless and hilarious, as the narrator is embarrassed by the real Bergotte who does not match up to the image he created of Bergotte the artist.

The scene with Bergotte goes on for a long time and it is hilarious as Bergotte reveals himself to be a gasbag of high order, always ready with an insult or a strange word. The insults are many in this part, and the narrator’s relationship with Gilberte takes second bill to his insights into Odette.