Tuesday, December 14, 2010


The mustiness evokes memories, unbidden and inevitable. But memory evoked can be both pleasurable and painful, and she recalls the closet stuffed with winter blankets, the cramped attic, the small spaces of a house. The memories evoked are of space that is small and cramped, a space that perhaps one could have fit into when young during a game of hide and seek but is now much too small to accommodate the adult frame of the viewer. It is perhaps of a linen closet in a relative’s house, or the tiny fragmented space under the stairs.


"No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me," he wrote. "An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses...with no suggestion of its origin...
"Suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was of a little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings...my Aunt Leonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea....Immediately the old gray house on the street, where her room was, rose up like a stage set...and the entire town, with its people and houses, gardens, church, and surroundings, taking shape and solidity, sprang into being from my cup of tea."


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