The Name Guermantes

Names are very important to Proust, as they are to any serious writer, and it took him a while to find just the right names to represent the defining features of Combray's fictional topography. The landscapes associated with Swann's Way and the Guermantes Way approximate those of Illiers where the two walks—one the landscape of an ideal plain, the other a captivating river view—embody, for the child Marcel, two separate worlds.

Many of the place names used by Proust are the same as those we find near Illiers. On the walk that became the "Méséglise" or "Swann's way," Dr. Adrien Proust used to lead his sons Marcel and Robert south of Illiers, out towards Vieuvicq and Tansonville, passing "fields of wheat undulating under the sharp wind that seemed to arrive in a straight line from Chartres." Proust slightly changed the name of Méréglise to Méséglise. Méréglise, as one can see on a map, is a village located four kilometers from Illiers. Proust sometimes refers to "Swann's Way" as the "Méséglise way," since the walk past Swann's also goes by Méséglise.

Member Login
Welcome, (First Name)!

Forgot? Show
Log In
Enter Member Area
My Profile Not a member? Sign up. Log Out