Proust Explains Love
August 3, 2016
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One of the tell-tale signs of true love is that it is so intense that it is impossible to discuss precisely what you feel, the full scope and sum of your fear and hope, with the expectation that she will fathom the scale of the storm in your breast. This is the task of the great artist to put into verse, brush onto a canvas, or chisel into marble.
Meet Proust, who puts it into lapidary prose:
“The belief that a person has a share in an unknown life to which his or her love may win us admission is, of all the prerequisites of love, the one which it values most highly and which makes it set little store by all the rest. Even those women who claim to judge a man by his looks alone, see in those looks the emanation of a special way of life. That is why they fall in love with soldiers or with firemen; the uniform makes them less particular about the face; they feel they are embracing beneath the gleaming breastplate a heart different from the rest, more gallant, more adventurous, more tender; and so it is that a young king or a crown prince may make the most gratifying conquests in the countries that he visits, and yet lack entirely that regular and classic profile which would be indispensable, I dare say, for a stockbroker.”