I would be excited to post another excerpt from Remembrance of Things Past but the one I have in mind is over five pages long, which I’m deciding not to type out. Suffice it to say, it’s the part about when Swann hears the violin phrase of the Venteuil sonata… for the second time.
Even when he could not discover where she has gone, it would have sufficed him, to alleviate the anguish which he then felt, and against which Odette’s presence, the joy of being with her, was the sole specific (a specific which in the long run served to aggravate the disease, but at least brought temporary relief to his sufferings), it would have sufficed him, if only Odette had allowed it, to remain in her house while she was out, to wait or her there until the hour of her return, into whose stillness and peace would have flowed and dissolved those intervening hours which some sorcery, some evil spell had made him imagine as somehow different from the rest. But she would not; he had to return home; he forced himself, on the way, to form various plans, ceased to think of Odette; he even succeeded, while he undressed, in turning over some quite happy ideas in his mind; and it was with a light heart, buoyed with the anticipation of going to see some favourite work of art the next day, that he got into bed and turned out the light; but no sooner, in preparing himself for sleep, did he relax the self-control of which he was not even conscious so habitual it had become, than an icy shudder convulsed him and he began to sob. He did not even wish to know why, but wiped his eyes and said to himself with a smile: “This is delightful; I’m getting neurotic.” After which he felt a profound lassitude at the thought that, next day, he must begin afresh his attempts to find out what Odette had been doing, must use all his influence to contrive to see her. This compulsion to an activity without respite, without variety, without results, was so cruel a scourge that one day, noticing a swelling on his stomach, he felt genuinely happy at the thought that he had, perhaps, a tumour which would prove fatal, that he need no longer concern himself with anything, that illness was going to govern his life, to make a plaything of him, until the not-distant end. And indeed if, at this period, it often happened that, without admitting it to himself, he longed for death, it was in order to escape not so much from the acuity of his sufferings as from the monotony of his struggle.
We were changing things, and we saw from the church groups who protested us, the plain clothes cops that would come to our shows and camp out outside SST, we knew we were making a difference. And while I don’t think we were important, I knew we were onto something, and we never—didn’t make us think that we were any big damn deal at all. But we knew we were making ripples in an otherwise placid pool.