Monday, May 31, 2010

Living Stories through Food and Agriculture

Having just returned from the The Canadian Association for Food Studies in Montreal, and heading to the analogous American meeting this week (the annual mouthful: a joint meeting of the Association for the Study of Food and Society (ASFS) Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society (AFHVS) with the Annual meeting of the Society for the Anthropology of Food and Nutrition (SAFN)), I have had a chance to check in on a longstanding hunch. Despite the straightforward nature of food, people use it to create meaning in a way that may parallel the way people craft fiction -- perhaps particularly parallel to fictionalized autobiography.

Although the giant boom in the "my life in food" genre writing evident in blogs and a flood of farm-tell books may seem like a natural-seeming outgrowth from the recent boom in interest in what's on our plates. However, I would like to explore further how much people's exploratory efforts to create foodie experiences worthy of re-telling may, in fact, resemble something rather like fictionalizing one's life -- or at least creatively transforming it in some way. If we are what we eat, if we want to tell our stories through food tales -- and if we want these to be good stories -- how much do we fictionalize ourselves, and, further, what are the implications when we then try to live up to our fictionalized food versions of ourselves? (Think, for example, of Julie Powell from Julie and Julia, and her multiple fictionalization of herself!)

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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Living and Telling

In discussions about writing, Maja Djikic and I found ourselves wondering about living as compared with telling about living. Virginia Woolf turned this issue over in Orlando, published by her own press (the Hogarth Press) in 1928, and Jean-Paul Sartre made it a crucial issue in his first novel, La nausée (1938).

I said that in my experience of writing fiction this issue was not an occasion for anguish but that, rather, there was a moving back and forth. I have been influenced by what my friend Brian Stock has written about the tradition (reviewed in OnFiction in December 2008, click here) of reading in the West from late antiquity to the Renaissance as having some of the characteristics of Eastern meditation. When one reads a book, one removes oneself from the ordinary world as one does in meditation. Brian Stock describes how, in medieval times, readers would read the words of a text to themselves and then enter a period of reflection in which they would make the meanings part of themselves. Although for some monks and nuns such practices became the centre of life, for other people reading became a matter of moving back and forth between sequestration and life in the world. Reading and meditation are not alternatives to living, but ways of living that include reflective practice, and strive towards living better and more harmoniously with others.

I started to think of my own writing of fiction in a comparable way. I need a certain amount of quiet, a room of my own, a mental state in which my own concerns are not too pressing, and then in my writing I can enter into the life of a literary character about whom I am writing. In doing this, I think I become better able to understand both others and myself. I can't always achieve a state of apartness but, when I can, the idea of putting aside my own concerns and entering reflectively into the life of another seems an apt description. I can sometimes lose myself in a novel or short story I am writing. In Eastern meditation, thoughts are allowed to enter and move through the mind without one becoming attached to them. Writing isn't non-attachment. Instead, thoughts of a certain kind, for instance those of a character in a novel can become central. They are pursued, expanded, and can find their way onto the page.

I asked Brian Stock whether medieval Christian monks with their incessant copying of manuscripts might be doing something of the same. "I don't think so," he said. "The monastic idea was self-denial. Monasticism wasn't about educating the self, but abolishing it. Self was the principal impediment to enabling God to fill the mind. If you found yourself imaginatively expanding ideas from reading, this would be regarded as the work of the devil."

Brian went on to explain that, after Classical times, it would not be until well into the Renaissance that any kind of expansive reflection seemed to occur during writing. He suggested that I watch Fred Zinnemann's film, The nun's story, and read Johan Huizinga's biography of Erasmus. I did so.

The nun's story is a brilliant and absorbing film about a pious young Belgian woman who enters a Catholic nunnery. The first half of the film depicts her induction into becoming a nun, the aim of which is to enable her to give up memories and imaginations of selfhood, and to replace them by obedience and ritualized practice. She is trained by her order as a nurse and sent to the Congo. Although she feels she doesn't have the personality for the obedience of a nun, she perseveres in her nursing work until World War II breaks out, when she is sent back from the Congo to Belgium just before the Nazi invasion, when an event occurs at which she feels she can no longer continue her vocation.

I found Huizinga's Erasmus totally absorbing. In it, the great Dutch historian of the middle ages and Renaissance is able to enter into the psychological life of Erasmus, analyze his mind and character, relate them to the practice of printing as it developed, and to the waves that spread from this availability of printed books, which culminated in the Reformation. Erasmus was the first writer who became widely known through the coming of printing. In his early life he had become a skilled writer in Latin. He made available to others thoughts and ideas of antiquity, and with his translations he brought people closer to the texts of the Gospels. He thought of himself as a kind of conduit for ideas which, in his writings, he could pass onto others. He never lost the shame of his illegitimate birth. He made friends, but always wanted more. He wanted people to appreciate and praise what he'd written. He hated conflict but constantly got into difficulties with sharp things he sometimes wrote about others.

Huizinga quotes the following, written by Erasmus towards the end of his long and productive life. It offers a glimpse of his personality and preoccupations.
I am daily thanked by many, because they have been kindled by my works, whatever may be their merit, into zeal for a good disposition and sacred literature; and they who have never seen Erasmus, yet know and love him through his books (p. 191).
If anyone, five hundred years ago in Europe, might have found that in his writing he could enter into a reflective state and thereby lose some of the shame and yearning of his selfhood, it was Erasmus.

Johan Huizinga (1924). Erasmus and the age of reformation. New York: Harper Torchbooks (current publication 1957).

Jean-Paul Sartre (1938). Nausea (L. Alexander, Trans.). New York: New Directions (current publication 1964).

Brian Stock (2007). Ethics through literature: Ascetic and aesthetic reading in Western culture. Lebanon, NH: University Press of New England.

Virginia Woolf (1928). Orlando. London: Hogarth Press.

Fred Zinnemann (1959) Director. The nun's story.

Illustration: The printing press of Josse Badius, printer and publisher, with whom Erasmus worked in Paris on publication of several of his books; woodcut by Albrecht Dürer (1520-1521)

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Monday, May 24, 2010

Research Bulletin: Imagination and Empathy

The relation between reading and empathy has been much discussed here at OnFiction (related: Theory-of-mind). With research demonstrating that there is an association between the reading of fiction and the ability to infer the mental states of others (Mar et al., 2006). Recently, there has been some investigation into the mechanism or process that might underlie this association. Lee and colleagues (2010) examined a number of personality traits to see whether any of them would predict the ability to recognize the mental state of another person. The task they used was developed by Simon Baron-Cohen and his colleagues (2001), and it involves presenting a picture of a person’s eye region accompanied by a multiple-choice question regarding their mental state. Gender, self-esteem, and various other personality traits did not predict performance at all. However, those who reported being more engaged by fiction, more transported into fictional narrative worlds, tended to do better on the task. Much in keeping with this finding, we found this trait to be a partial explanation for the relation between reading fiction and empathy (Mar et al., 2009). What this means is that the ease with which we can imagine ourselves to be a part of fictional worlds can in part explain why reading fiction and empathic performance are associated. However, it is not a total explanation, and there is still a great deal to be learned about the nature of this relation.

* As always, readers interested in any of the original research articles mentioned here can contact RM for a copy.

Baron-Cohen, S., Wheelwright, S., Hill, J., Raste, Y., & Plumb, I. (2001). The “Reading the Mind in the Eyes” Test Revised version: A study with normal adults, and adults with Asperger syndrome or high-functioning autism. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 42, 241–251.

Lee, S. A., Guajardo, N. R., Short, S. D., & King, W. (2010). Individual differences in ocular level empathic accuracy ability: The predictive power of fantasy empathy. Personality and Individual Differences, 49, 68–71.

Mar, R. A., Oatley, K., Hirsh, J., dela Paz, J., & Peterson, J. B. (2006). Bookworms versus nerds: Exposure to fiction versus non-fiction, divergent associations with social ability, and the simulation of fictional social worlds. Journal of Research in Personality, 40, 694–712.

Mar, R. A., Oatley, K., & Peterson, J. B. (2009). Exploring the link between reading fiction and empathy: Ruling out individual differences and examining outcomes. Communications, 34, 407–428.

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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Magical Midwifery

In the most recent issue of the New York Review of Books (LVII, 7), Giles Harvey probes a close collaboration between Raymond Carver and his editor Gordon Lish. Perhaps the right word here is not collaboration as much as ‘co-writing’. In the article, Carver’s original passages are compared with final versions pruned by Lish, which were often as much as 70% shorter. It is captivating to watch the metamorphosis – from mawkish prose that, in Harvey’s words, “flails and stammers” to the subtle, poignant, understated style that we have come to known as Carveresque. Once we get over the fact that the style was Lish’s and not Carver’s, and that without Lish we would probably have never heard of Carver, we have to wonder – does it matter?

Not so much, according to Harvey. He quotes Pound: “It’s immensely important that great poems be written, but it makes not a jot of difference who writes them.” And it is a lovely idea, placing the work at the center and writer at the periphery. A writer, instead of thinking what he wants to do with the work, can think of what work wants to do with him. It scales things properly, making writers midwives rather than mothers to their works. While this may seem not much of a bargain – for midwives take only the blame but not the pride for the miracle they usher into being – it may bring about collaborations and transformations that the work needs. And the work’s needs are often rather different from those of the author. The author’s needs can often, inadvertently, destroy the very thing he desires to create – a work liberated from mediocrity, and turned, like Carver’s stories, into something great.

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Monday, May 17, 2010

Research Bulletin: Words Reveal the Personality of Writers

Many a reader has pondered what his or her famous writer is really like in person. It is tantalizing to think that we really know an author, in some way, from reading what he or she writes. A fascinating study currently In Press in the Journal of Research in Personality (Kufner et al., in press), provides evidence that in some ways, we can infer what an author is like based solely on their writing. Although previous studies on inferring personality from written text have been conducted, this was the first study to look at creative writing as opposed to personal essays. One group of people were given 7 minutes to write a piece of creative fiction that incorporated these 5 words: plane crash, parlor-maid, fireworks, Middle Ages, and supermarket. These authors also rated their own personality and completed a measure of verbal ability (i.e., a vocabulary test). A separate group of individuals then read these stories, and attempted to judge the personality of the author. There was remarkable consensus among these raters for these judgments, but even more surprising there was also some measurable accuracy. Specifically, these raters could accurately predict the personality of the authors for two main personality traits: Openness and Agreeableness. Openness refers to how creative, open-minded, and intelligent a person is, and raters appeared to make these judgments based on the creative expression found in the writing. Agreeableness is a trait that describes the degree to which a person is focused on harmonious personal relationships, and raters accurately judged Agreeableness by noting the social orientation of words found in the text. Lastly, raters were also successful in predicting the verbal ability of the author, by noting how sophisticated the writing was in the story. Rater were not successful, however, in judging how outgoing, conscientious, or susceptible to negative emotion the writers were. These results were replicated in a second sample of participants, increasing our confidence in these findings. From these findings, it appears that creative writing can indeed reveal aspects of the author’s personality to readers. An encouraging result for those of us who feel we’ve come to know an author by reading his or her books.

Kufner, C. P. A., Back M. D., Nestler, S., & Egloff, B. (In Press). Tell me a story and I will tell you who you are! Lens model analyses of personality and creative writing. Journal of Research in Personality.

* Interested readers can contact me (RM) and I will provide a copy of this article.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010

Libraries

When I was a kid, I never went to a public library. My parents had two small libraries –untouchable leather bound volumes that preened in glass-enclosed shelves of our sitting room, and shabby, paperbound, collection of world classics that had to be out of the way and was therefore ensconced in the kids’ room. The orange paper in which these were bound, attractive to children, was misleading. Between cheery covers, Sartre, Goethe, Camus, Flaubert, Pushkin, Voltaire, and other not-so-children-friendly writers pursued their haunting thoughts without concern for an incapacity of a child-mind trying to grasp them. I won’t go into a serious character deformation these must have caused, but as a kid I felt I had all the books I needed. I touched even the ‘untouchable’ volumes despite my parents’ worry that I may ‘ruin’ them because of my habit of dragging them to the beach or reading while eating chocolate hazelnut spread, the stickiness of which was a sure threat do a dignity of any leather-bound volume. There were plenty of books for me. So the fact of not going to the library never bothered me much until as an adult I found myself in one.

It was a bit like a religious experience. Tall ceilings, imposing windows, rows of books, wooden tables with green lamps that loomed like ancient scholars bent over their ancient work. And silence, silence, everywhere silence. It was then that I realized that libraries are not just about the books. Yes, they are about the books, about voices from around the world that invite you into to slip between their covers, voices from the places one has not heard about, from people one could not have imagined. But it was the silence - being away from voices of one’s family, friends, inner voices of home-bound concerns, things to do, being away from voices that fills one’s mind so persistently and steadily that one mistakes them for one’s own – it was the silence that shocked me into listening, very hard, for faint whispers of a voice of my own.

I still love libraries and enter them, be they small or large, like a pilgrim that I am, forever grateful for their impregnable, mysterious, silence.

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Monday, May 10, 2010

Travelogue: St Petersburg Lives

I first visited St Petersburg 50 years ago. Then it was called Leningrad. In the summer of 1960, twelve of us—medical students—travelled in three elderly cars through Scandinavia to Russia. It was the first year that foreigners had been allowed to travel easily to the USSR. In Leningrad we stayed in a newly established camp-site on the edge of the town.

What struck me then about Leningrad was its magnificence. The Winter Palace was more grand, more opulent, more gilded, more awe-producing, than any place I had ever seen. So this is why the revolution started here, I thought.

This year I visited St Petersburg for the second time. I saw that, although as a twenty-year-old I knew practically nothing, my first impression was not inappropriate. There are some churches that are interesting and the university buildings are good, but architecturally in St Petersburg, it's palaces and palaces. They're everywhere.

The most important new book I read last year was Richard Wilkinson and Kate Pickett's The spirit level: Why more equal societies almost always do better. It shows how, once a nation has reached a certain level of income among its citizens (which Europe and North America have reached but which most Third-World countries have not), it's not the absolute level of average national income that predicts health and well-being. It's difference in income within the society: not economics but psychology. Japan and Sweden have a difference between their top 20% of incomes and their bottom 20% of about four to one. Respectively, UK and the USA have differences of seven to one and eight to one. The more inequality of income within each nation, the worse the whole range of health outcomes from child mortality to adult longevity. The more inequality, the higher the murder rate and number of people in prison. The more inequality, the lower the level of trust and happiness in society.

In St Petersburg, what the palaces shout is: "Inequality."

So, in St Petersburg, I visited the street in which Fyodor Dosteyevsky lived, and the street that crosses it in which he sets the lodging of Rodion Raskolnikov, his protagonist in Crime and Punishment. My guidebook says that in Dostoyevsky's time this area was known for drunkenness, squalor, and destitution. When Dostoyevsky lived here, he and his brother published the literary magazine Vreyma (Time) and then another Epokha (Epoch). Dostoyevsky is often described as the literary novelist with the most intense interest in psychology. I wonder whether our magazine, OnFiction—literary and psychological—might not in some way be a successor to his magazines.

In the street in which Raskolnikov lived, I went into a grocery to buy some bottled water (tap-water in St Petersburg is not safe to drink). The grocery was not exactly sordid, but it was crowded with people who had about them marks of poverty. As I entered. a man of short stature, ragged, unwashed with a bedraggled beard, pushed past and scowled at me. In the line at the checkout he was in front of me. His purchase was a half-bottle of vodka, for which he counted out 104 rubles (about three dollars). Raskolnikov's street is not as squalid as it was in Dostoyevsky's time but it's certainly not grand. I noticed seedy-looking drinking places in basements, and I remembered Raskolnikov having a conversation in a place of this kind.

Crime and Punishment is one of the most moving novels I have read. In it, Dostoyevsky portrays envy, bitterness, shame, and self-deluded aspiration. It's not difficult to imagine the places and contexts of such emotions today—and not just in Russia.

Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1866). Crime and punishment (Richard Pevear & Larissa Volokhonsky, Trans.). New York: Vintage (Current edition 1993).

Richard Wilkinson & Kate Pickett (2009). The spirit level: Why more equal societies almost always do better. London: Allen Lane.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Hidden Layer

When and how did fiction start to depict people as having a layer of motivation hidden beneath the surface? It seems to have been the ancient Epicureans who invented the unconscious with their hypothesis that the striving for lasting fame is so strong and so irrational that it must derive from something else. They thought its origin was the fear of death. Also, from ancient times, we find inner struggle with forces that are parts of ourselves but dimly glimpsed or beyond voluntary control. So, in Saint Paul's "Letter to the Romans" (VII, 19) we find this: "For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do." In the Renaissance, Shakespeare shows a fine grasp on the unconscious. For instance, in Julius Caesar, he has Brutus say about himself: "poor Brutus, with himself at war / Forgets the shows of love to other men" (I, ii, 46), and Cassius offers him what, to psychoanalytic ears, is an interpretation of an unconscious wish. I think we can trace this stream of ideas into the English novels of the nineteenth century, particularly those of George Eliot.

But what of French novels? What of Balzac? I recently read Cousin Bette about the overt and hidden levels of Paris society between 1838 and 1845. In it, Balzac has depicted something akin to the unconscious. But it is not the Freudian unconscious, the constructive element of which is sex, and the destructive element of which he called (in a rather confusing way) the death instinct. Balzac was a Catholic, and his version is more like Saint Paul's, but with considerably more detail about what motivates us. In Cousin Bette he depicts three motivations.

(1) Eroticism between men and women, in which women display themselves as adorable. Their appearance is sometimes compared with works of Renaissance painting, and sometimes as provocative: "Her dress, of black velvet, seemed about at any moment to slip from her shoulders" (p. 183). Men are ineluctably drawn to women, and relationships are formed in which the men are pampered a bit and made to feel loved while the women are taken care of materially. Thus Valérie Marneffe is able to send off Baron Hulot at seven in the morning, "full of bliss—for he had found a girl's innocence and the most consummate devilry in his Valérie" (p. 154). Hulot contributes considerable monies to her, and pulls strings to obtain her husband a promotion.

(2) Money: this seems to act as kind of shadowy reflection of eroticism. It's not, for the most part, earned, but borrowed and obtained by cajolery. It's an object of desire and dubious exchanges.

(3) Status (like money) is very important. There is constant depiction of differences in status, but little about the striving for status as such. Rather, difference in status provokes envy.

These desires—erotic attachment, economic acquisitiveness, envy—stand in for the unconscious. They are not truly unconscious because when people accede to them they often feel sinful. But they make everything go. Balzac depicts a society the surface of which is like the face of a clock around which the hands are moved by an intricate and hidden mechanism, actuated by the spring of eroticism, the ratchet of acquisitiveness, and the flywheel of envy.

I think I feel much the same as Flaubert felt about Balzac when he said: "What a man he would have been had he known how to write!" (Robb, p. 422). I found two difficulties with Cousin Bette. The first was that it was difficult for me to take a strong interest in the characters who are depicted almost as caricatures, as types. The image of reading it that comes to me is of lying in bed, convalescent after an illness, staring at scenes projected onto the wall by a magic lantern. My second difficulty was to ask: "So where are you, Balzac, in all this?" I found only two moments in the book in which there was any kind of answer to this. One was on pages 215 and 216, in which Balzac writes with some passion about the work of the true artist "It means creating, bringing to birth, laboriously rearing the child [the work of art], putting it to bed every evening gorged with milk, kissing it every morning with the mother's never-spent affection." (Balzac was prolific and devoted to his writing, constantly revising.) His passage about the true artist is made as a comparison with his character Steinbock, who aspires to be a sculptor but because of his layabout proclivities becomes, instead, a "critic." The second place at which Balzac enters his novel is on page 269 where for a moment he abandons his omniscient view and joins the human species in a paragraph that starts: "We are all conscious of our own secret wrong-doing." Here, he emphasizes his idea of how desires operate in a hidden layer: secret, shameful, involuntary.

Perhaps Balzac's step was necessary so that it could be followed by steps made by others such as Flaubert and Proust who were influenced by him, and became able to depict deeper understandings.

Honoré de Balzac (1846). Cousin Bette (Marion Crawford, Trans.). London: Penguin (current edition 1965).

Graham Robb (1994). Balzac: A biography. London: Picador.

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Monday, May 3, 2010

Travelogue: Proustian Moments

Because of a cloud of volcanic ash, my partner, Jennifer, and I were marooned in Europe for eight days. To start with, we were in Helsinki, where the cloud seemed determined to hover indefinitely. After difficulties in buying tickets—please take a number—we travelled by ferry and by train to Paris. Arrival there was a relief because it was nearer home. While I was there I thought I would make a little pilgrimage to places where Marcel Proust had lived.

In an online article Marylin Bender has described five thoughtful walks to visit Proustian places (click here). Marcel was born in the Paris suburb of Auteil on 10 July, 1871. A few months later his family moved into the city, to an apartment on the second floor (North American: third floor) of 9 Boulevard Malesherbes, not far from the Madeleine. Bender imagines the young Proust standing on the balcony with which the second floor of the building is equipped and looking towards his left to see the dome of St Augustin's Church which, Proust says in Du côté de chez Swann, "imparts to this view of Paris the character of some of the Piranesi views of Rome." It was from this apartment that Marcel could walk five minutes or so to the high-school he attended from 1882 to 1889, the Lycée Condorcet, near the Gare St Lazarre. Other pupils there have been Proust's cousin Henri Bergson, as well—later on—as Jean-Paul Sartre.

I tried squinting my eyes a bit to imagine a twelve-year-old Proust on his way to school. Did he dart across the street in the days before cars and traffic lights? Did he carry on his shoulders one of those leather satchels? Perhaps because of my not-yet-quieted anxieties as to whether the Icelandic Volcano would erupt yet more fiercely so that I would never again get home, or perhaps because the modern cars and bendy-buses were too un-Proustian, I couldn't get a good piece of imagination going. I walked, instead, a kilometre or so west to the Proust family's second apartment, again on the second floor, into which they moved in 1900. The building, at 45 rue de Courcelles, is just as grand as the previous one. Now, on this street, I found it hard to imagine Marcel at age 30.

My walking tour took me, also, to 102 Boulevard Haussmann, to which Proust moved in 1906 after his mother died. He lived here in seclusion for 13 years. It's where he wrote most of À la recherche du temps perdu. The Haussmann buildings are grand like those that housed the two family apartments. The boulevard is lined with trees, lime trees I think. Proust's building looks different from those on either side of it because its ground-floor has a large door flanked by Ionic columns: the entrance to a bank, the name of which is carved in stone in large letters along a stretch of the first floor: Banque M. Varin-Bernier et Cie. On the second floor was the apartment in which Proust lived. Now the windows have striped awnings. I look up, and wonder which was the window of his room. Bender says that Proust described this apartment as: "The ugliest thing I ever saw … frightful dust, trees under and against my window, the noise of the boulevard between the Printemps and Saint-Augustin." To help keep out the noise, Proust had his bedroom lined with cork. The noise is perhaps worse now: the modern French moto-bicyclette is a fearsome acoustic device and certain sports cars that drive up the boulevard emit a throaty roar that is no doubt intended to remind one of Le Mans. Bender says that the apartment had previously been occupied by Proust's uncle, Louis Weil, but that in 1919, his aunt sold the building to the private bank, the name of which is now displayed so prominently. Apparently the apartment that had been Proust's is now the bank's board-room. When the building was sold from under him, Proust was not at all well, and he moved to the fourth floor of 44 rue Hamelin to complete his novel, and to die there on 18 November 1922.

I wondered about whether to visit Proust's last dwelling place, some way away from the others, but re-reading Marylin Benders's helpful perambulatory sentences, I was suddenly struck by her remark about Proust's Haussmann apartment: "The commercial bank on the street floor of number 102 belies the building's status as a Proustian shrine." Shrine! I suddenly remembered Erasmus's question: "Why do people travel long distances to see the relics of saints? Why don't they read the works?" Was that all I was doing? Visiting relics? So, to be more serious, I visited, as Benders suggests, the Musée Jacquemart-André on Boulevard Haussmann. It was built as a magnificent private house that functioned in Proust's time as the setting for its aristocratic owners' parties. It was and still is furnished in the most exquisite and expensive taste, with wonderful paintings—here a Rembrandt, there a Botticelli—and with the loveliest statues, busts and bas-reliefs. Benders says that if one wanted to have another go at making a film of Proust's novel this would be the place for one of Princesse de Guermantes's parties. Benders says she was convinced she "saw monocled aristocrats ascending the curved double staircase, and Marcel in the library listening to strains filtering from the balconied music room." I tried squinting my eyes a bit to see if could get the same effect. It worked well. Not a shrine: a real place of imagination.

Marcel Proust (1913-1927). À la recherche du temps perdu (In search of lost time). London: Penguin (Current edition 2003).

Image: One side of the double staircase of the Jacquemart-André house on Boulevard Haussmann

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