Monday, November 14, 2005


Proust is the bomb. Here's another sample sentence which also happens to be a paragraph:

All this, and still more the treasures which had come to the church from personages who to me were almost legendary figures (such as the golden cross wrought, it was said, by Saint Eloi and presented by Dagobert, and the tomb of the sons of Louis the Germanic in porphyry and enamelled copper), because of which I used to advance into the church, as we made our way to our seats, as into a fairy-haunted valley, where the rustic sees with amazement in a rock, a tree, a pond, the tangible traces of the little people's supernatural passage—all this made of the church for me something entirely different from the rest of the town: an edifice occupying, so to speak, a four-dimensional space—the names of the fourth being Time—extending through the centuries its ancient nave, which, bay after bay, chapel after chapel, seemed to stretch across and conquer not merely a few yards of soil, but each successive epoch from which it emerged triumphant, hiding the rugged barbarities of the eleventh century in the thickness of its walls, through which nothing could be seen of the heavy arches, long stopped and blinded with coarse blocks of ashlar, except where, near the porch, a deep cleft had been hollowed out by the tower staircase, and veiling it even there by the graceful Gothic arcades which crowded coquettishly around it like a row of grown-up sisters who, to hide him from the eyes of strangers, arrange themselves smilingly in front of a rustic, surly and ill-dressed younger brother; raising up into the sky above the Square a tower which had looked down upon Saint Louis, and seemed to see him still; and thrusting down with its crypt into a Merovingian darkness, thorugh which, guiding us with groping finger-tips beneath the shadowy vault, powerfuly ribbed like an immense bat's wing of stone, Thèodore and his siter would light up for us with a candle the tomb of Sigebert's little daughter, in which a deep cavity, like the bed of a fossil, had been dug, or so it was said, "by a crystal lamp which, on the night when the Frankish princess was murdered, had detached itself, of its own accord, from the golden chains by which it was suspended on the site of the present apse and, with neither the crystal being broken nor the light extinguished, had buried itself in the stone, which had softly given way beneath it."

You can see abve how Proust uses all the tools of drawing out a sentence: commas, the m-dash ("—"), semi-colons, the word "which", and quoting other sources.

I hope this book gets exciting sometime soon.


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