The Guermantes Way
Everything we think of as great has come to us from neurotics. It is they and they alone who found religions and create great works of art. The world will never realise how much it owes them, and that they have suffered in order to bestow their gifts on it. We enjoy fine music, beautiful pictures, a thousand exquisite things, but we do not know what they cost those who wrought them in insomnia, tears, spasmodic laughter, urticaria, asthma, epilepsy, a terror of death which is worse than any of these… (414)
It is difficult if not impossible to think anything of any sense about this work. The narrator, still unnamed, in this volume becomes more interested in the politics and workings of society, but without seeming to grow in self-knowledge or self-criticism. He remains frustratingly childish and self-absorbed. His infatuation with the Robert de Saint-Loup and the Duchesse de Guermantes do not reveal feeling, but only thought. Increasing vexation, as when an acquaintance will talk to you about things you care nothing about but which mean everything in the world to him – this being permissible in friendship, but not in any relationship less strong.