My great adventure is really Proust | Virginia Woolf, 1912-22

My great adventure is really Proust Virginia Woolf 1

Virginia Woolf / Marcel Proust

“Proust so titillates my own desire for expression that I can hardly set out the sentence. Oh if I could write
like that! I cry. And at the moment such is the astonishing vibration and saturation and intensification
that he procures—there’s something sexual in it—that I feel I can write like that, and seize my pen and
then I can’t write like that. Scarcely anyone so stimulates the nerves of language in me: it becomes an
obsession. But I must return to Swann.”

“My great adventure is really Proust. Well– what remains to be written after that? I’m only in the first
volume, and there are, I suppose, faults to be found, but I am in a state of amazement; as if a miracle
were being done before my eyes. How, at last, has someone solidified what has always escaped–and
made it too into this beautiful and perfectly enduring substance? One has to put the book down and
gasp. The pleasure becomes physical–like sun and wine and grapes and perfect serenity and intense
vitality combined. Far otherwise is it with Ulysses; to which I bind myself like a martyr to a stake, and
have thank God, now finished– My martyrdom is over. I hope to sell it for £4.10.”

The Letters of Virginia Woolf: Volume Two, 1912-1922

When you’ve got nothing left | Jane Birkin, 1946-2023
I used to go to bed early / Swann’s Way | Marcel Proust
Easter in Combray | Marcel Proust, 1913

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