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In The Fugitive, the distraught Narrator does everything within his power to lure Albertine back to him. He believes that he has succeeded when he receives the tragic news that she has been killed in a riding accident. He describes the long period of grieving and forgetting, during which alternate tender memories and jealous suspicions about her past betrayals. He knows that ultimately, just as in the case of his grieving for his grandmother, love and memory must yield to the "general law of oblivion."

He travels to Venice with his mother. On the return to Paris, he learns that Gilberte is to marry Robert de Saint-Loup, thus uniting the two ways, Swann's and the Guermantes's, that in his childhood at Combray he had thought to be two separate worlds. In the last section, he learns that Saint-Loup is bisexual and has taken Morel as his lover.

Lecture 23


The Fugitive is the shortest of the seven major divisions that make up Proust’s novel. In many ways, the first chapter, Grieving and Forgetting, constitutes a penance on Marcel’s part, a lamentation for the loss of Albertine, and his own recognition of how foolishly he has behaved, how blind he was to the happiness and love she offered him. He also demonstrates that no matter how much we wish it were not true: we must inevitably forget those we love most.

Lecture 24

what jealousy imagines is invariably the present

Since, merely by thinking of her, I brought her back to life, her infidelities could never be those of a dead woman, the moment at which she had committed them becoming the present moment, not only for Albertine, but for that one of my various selves thus suddenly evoked who happened to be thinking of her. —The Fugitive 5: 661

Lecture 25

my heart beat wildly

The title of The Fugitive’s second chapter is Mlle de Forcheville., which includes a call on the duc and duchesse de Guermantes, allows Proust to resume his social commentary, including bitter, satirical comments about the aristocracy. But first he continues to chronicle the process of forgetting Albertine and describes the three stages on the road to indifference. In the first passages, he speaks more than once of her as “my great love.”

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