NC Wieland

Proust on fashion and menace

reading diaryNC Wieland

"One of them, of a particularly ferocious aspect and rather like the executioner in certain Renaissance paintings which depicts scenes of torture, advanced upon him with an implacable air to take his things. But the hardness of his steely gaze was compensated by the softness of his cotton gloves, so that as he approached Swann he seemed to be showing contempt for his person and consideration for his hat. He took it with a care to which the exactness of his balance gave something meticulous, and with a delicacy rendered almost touching by the evidence of his strength. He then passed it on to one of his assistants, new and timid, who expressed the terror he felt by casting wild glances in all directions and displayed the agitation of a captive animal in the first hours of its domestication."

Proust, Swann's Way, 336, Lydia Davis translation.