Short summary - Cities of the Plain - Sodom and Gomorrah
Marcel Proust - Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust
Marseille revealed the secret to de Charlus, becoming an unwitting witness to a love pantomime. At the sight of Jupienne, the haughty aristocrat suddenly wagged his backside and began to make eyes, and the vest stiffened up daringly and reached out to the baron, like an orchid to an unexpectedly flying bumblebee. Both instantly recognized each other, although they had never met before. The veil fell from the eyes of Marcel: all the oddities of de Charlus immediately received an explanation. It is no coincidence that the baron liked to compare himself with the caliph from Arab fairy tales, who walked around Baghdad in the clothes of a street vendor: an inhabitant of Sodom lives in a world where the most fantastic connections become reality - a homosexual is able to leave the duchess for the sake of an inveterate swindler.
At Princess Guermantes-Bavarian Marseille met Professor E. Having learned about the death of his grandmother, he was delighted - his diagnosis was correct. Marcel watched with interest the maneuvers of Baron de Charlus, who zealously courted women, but watched all handsome youths with piercing glances. The guests enthusiastically discussed the news of the day: the prince, known for his anti-Semitism, immediately took Swann into the garden with the obvious intention of giving up his home. Marcel was struck by the cowardice of the ladies of high society; The Duchess of Guermantes felt sorry for “dear Charles,” but was afraid even to say hello to him. And the duke reprimanded Swann for his ingratitude: his friend should not have become a Dreyfusar. The rumors turned out to be exaggerated; the prince preferred to defend Dreyfus alone with Swann, for he did not dare to do it openly. When Swann reappeared. Marcel guessed near death on his face, eaten away by disease.
Relations with Albertina entered a new stage - Marcel began to suspect that she was leading some other life hidden from him. He decided to resort to an already tested technique and part with the girl for a while. Madame Verduren so strengthened her position in society that she could afford to rent for the summer the castle of the Marquise de Govogojo (La Raspellier), located next to Balbec. Marcel came here in pursuit of memories, and his memory caught up with him: when he bent down to tie his shoelaces, he felt sick from a fit of suffocation, and a grandmother suddenly appeared in front of him, whom he had almost forgotten about. Grandmother was always his savior and support, and he dared to read her moral teachings in Doncière! The ill-fated card tormented his soul, and he realized that he would give everything in the world just to return his beloved creature. But he saw the real grief when his aged mother came to him: she looked very much like his grandmother and read only her favorite books.
Albertina appeared in Balbec, but Marseille at first avoided her. He began to visit the "Wednesdays" of the Verdurins to listen to Venteuil's music. The old pianist died and was replaced by the handsome violinist Charles Morel. Baron de Charlus, in love with Morel, condescended to the salon of the Verdurins, who at first looked down on him, because they did not suspect about his high position in society. When the baron noticed that the best of their guests would not be allowed beyond the hallway of his brother, the Duke, Dr. Cotard told the "faithful" that Madame Verdurin was a well-to-do woman, and in comparison with her the Princess de Guermantes was just a shallow one. Madame Verdurin harbored a grudge against the baron, but until Time endured his antics.
Marcel began to meet with Albertine again, and jealousy flared up with the same force - it seemed to him that the girl was flirting with both Morel and Saint-Loup. However, the thought of Gomorrah did not occur to him until he saw Albertina and Andre dancing, pressing their breasts to each other. True, Albertina indignantly rejected the very possibility of such a connection, but Marcel felt that he was living in an atmosphere of widespread vice - so Blok's cousin lived with the actress, shocking all Balbec with her scandalous summing up.
Gradually, Marcel came to the conviction that he should break up with his beloved. Mom did not approve of this connection, and Françoise, who despised Albertine for her poverty, insisted that the young owner would not end up in trouble with this girl. Marcel was only waiting for a pretext, but the unexpected happened; when he mentioned his desire to listen to Ventheuil's last tidings, Albertina said that she knew the composer's daughter and her friend well - she considered these girls her “elder sisters”, for she had learned a lot from them. The shocked Marcel seemed to see in reality a long-forgotten scene in Montjuven: the memory was dormant in him like a formidable avenger - it was retribution for the fact that he had failed to save his grandmother. From now on, the image of Albertia will be associated for him not with the waves of the sea, but with spitting at Venteuil's photo. Presenting his beloved in the arms of a lesbian, he burst into tears of impotent rage and announced to his frightened mother that he needed to marry Albertina. When the girl agreed to live with him, he kissed her as chastely as he kissed his mother in Combra.