NC Wieland

proust on identity

philosophy snippets, reading diaryNC Wieland

"But even with respect to the most insignificant things in life, none of us constitutes a material whole, identical for everyone, which a person has only to go look up as though we were a book of specifications or a last testament; our social personality is a creation of the minds of others."

Swann's Way, Lydia Davis translation

getting used to anything, well almost anything

NC Wieland

"Habit! That skillful but very slow housekeeper who begins by letting our mind suffer for weeks in a temporary arrangement; but whom we are nevertheless truly happy to discover, for without habit our mind, reduced to no more than its own resources, would be powerless to make a lodging habitable" (8).

"The anesthetizing influence of habit having ceased, I would begin to have thoughts, and feelings, and they are such sad things" (10).

Swann's Way, Lydia Davis translation

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.