most loathsome character


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most loathsome character

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Lug 18, 2007, 12:59 pm

Well, we seem to have come to an impasse on the temps perdu/temps duree discussion, and the favorites may have staled a bit, so for a little fun I thought perhaps we could have a discussion on Proust’s most despicable character.

Such richness here – I’m not sure if I’d be able to choose. Let’s see, despotic Mme. Verdurin? Well, she really is more pathetic than anything, and she provides us with such self-satisfaction that she’s off the list. Villebon – the snob? Cottard- - the dolt? Or is it the poseur Bloch, who prefers to be called Jacques du Rozier?

Shady Jupien becomes a hero in his gentleness towards the aged and ridiculous Charlus. Odette has an enormous amount of self possession for a woman who is neither beautiful nor virtuous – I rather admire her for that.

Well, anyone else? Whom do you love to loathe?

Lug 18, 2007, 2:15 pm


so i see you are going to make us work some more.

(did you find your drawing pencils)

how many characters are there in the book anyway.

david perrings

Lug 18, 2007, 2:22 pm

See for yourself:

Like everything about Proust, the list is expansive.

And this is fun, not work.

Lug 18, 2007, 3:06 pm

The narrator himself really gets on my nerves - but that might just be me!

Lug 18, 2007, 3:13 pm

good to here from you again



Lug 18, 2007, 3:21 pm

Heresy, DL. Sheer heresy. Don't let Mama hear you, or Francoise, for that matter, your life would be in danger.

Le garcon est un mechant (ou diablotin) tres doux.

Feb 13, 2008, 5:17 pm

What has always amazed me about Proust is that such an amazing work of literature should be inspired by such egoistical, ridiculous, venial, sometimes throughly corrupt real life models. (His grandmother being an exception.) But then I guess that was Proust's personal journey, his discovery and his point that Life is redeemed by Art and in this case Literature.

Mar 22, 2008, 3:50 pm

The narrator himself really gets on my nerves - but that might just be me!

No, my wife and I can't stand him either. What a selfish cad!

Mar 23, 2008, 6:57 pm

I find the narrator rather hard to take at times, too. To me, though, most of Proust's characters seem to be a mix of good and bad. Except perhaps for the grandmother, who seems to be purely good, it's hard for me to think of anyone who is simply one thing or another. It's one of the reasons I love the book so much.

Giu 23, 2008, 4:27 pm

Hmm, off the top of my head (Proust would hate that ready made expression) the most frustrating characters are the Guermantes men - the Duke and the Baron (de Charlus).

They both have good qualities as well, certainly, but I find them frustrating at times.

Giu 18, 2009, 6:19 pm

Almost a year later...

I no longer find the Baron to be nearly as insufferable as I did then. I'm not sure that I've revised my opinion of the Duke however.

At this point, the most despicable character to me is Morel. The way he treats Charlus in "The Prisoner" is shameful, and if what Andree tells Marcel concerning Albertine's and Morel's little games is true then I find him even more despicable.