February 18th, 2014

van gogh

How Proust is your Downton Abbey?

After the amazingly extravagant suggestion of the burrowing wasp; this is from page 95 in my antique Random House two-volume edition of the Moncrieff translation:

... in the same way Francoise had adopted to minister to her permanent and unfaltering resolution to render the house uninhabitable to any other servant, a series of crafty and pitiless stratagems. Many years later we discovered that, if we had been fed on asparagus day after day throughout the whole season, it was because the smell of the plants gave the poor kitchen-maid, who had to prepare them, such violent attacks of asthma that she was finally obliged to leave my aunt's service.

Asthma appears in the first paragraph of many introductions to Proust.
One could hardly harm oneself by thinking about this for a while.