On Love, Proust, Chorus Girls, and Martha NussbaumI’ve been thinking about trying to read Proustagain. The legendary chorus girls of my youthwere said to carry him, volume by volume, fromtry-out to try-out, perusing him in the ModernLibrary Edition between calls, propping him upon magnificent black-tighted legs. I sat for dayswithin the budding grove of the Stage Delicatessen,Swann’s Way open before me, but never foundsuch a one. I kept imagining all I needed to dowas be at the right time in the right place withthe right book in my hand, and true love wouldappear, ex nihilo, so to speak.I read people whosay they love Proust – some I even believe.Martha Nussbaum I believe. I love her talkabout Proust, or Henry James and, say,The Golden Bowl. She makes me love the ideaof The Golden Bowl. In fact, she makes me lovethe idea of Martha Nussbaum, though she’s anAristotelian while I’m nothing but a Platonistin the Academy pointing to the idea of the book,while Martha reads the thing itself.So I pictureher as as a chorus girl, a fling before philosophy,after a try out for Damn Yankees, maybe, humming“Whatever Lola Wants” while paging throughher first Proust at the Stage Delicatessen,while I keep on ordering a pastrami on ryeat the wrong time unaware of the fragilityof goodness. Now all I have from then is thisremembrance of things which never came to pass.
by Nils Peterson