Diplomate au Kirsch

"Serve It Forth," by M.F.K. Fisher (North Point Press, 1989; copyright 1937 by M.F.K. Fisher)

For 8 or 10 people

  1. Cut 8 small dry sponge biscuits into half-inch cubes. Into slightly smaller cubes, cut a scant half-pound of fruits candied in syrup. 
  2. Soak the fruits in kirschwasser for 30 minutes. Drain them, and moisten the biscuit cubes with the same kirsch.
  3. Whip 3 cups of cream, sweet and very cold. When it is whipped, season it with powdered sugar and add a little vanilla flavor.
  4. Put the whipped cream, the biscuits, and the candied fruits into a mould and mix them well. Cover the mould with a sheet of white paper and seal with its cover. (Be careful to butter the lip of the mould under the paper, so that salt will not make itself a part of the composition.)
  5. Then put the mould for 2 hours into ice, finely chopped and very salty--about 2 pounds of salt to 10 of ice.

The Liquid Cream to Pour Over the Diplomate when It is Taken from the Mould Just Before Serving
  1. Into a double-boiler stir 1 full cup of milk, 2 egg yolks, 1/4 cup of powdered sugar, and 1 teaspoon of fine flour.
  2. See that the mixture does not boil, and when it thickens take it from the stove. Then perfume it amply with kirsch.
  3. Let it get very cold (either on the window-sill in winter or in summer, in the ice chest), and pour it over the Diplomate and serve at once.


Sodom and Gomorrah IV pp 492-514

p 492 | The Arrachepels were a noble family whose seat was near Illiers/ Combray. (Sturrock note)


p 493 | blazon=a correct description of armorial bearings. 

p 493 | La Fontaine wrote a fable called The Camel and the Floating Sticks.

p 493 | campanile= a tall tower with a bell in it.

p 494 | Molière’s word = cuckold (derived from the cuckoo bird, alluding to its habit of laying its eggs in other birds' nests.)

p 499 | tableau vivant: ("living picture"): a group of suitably costumed actors or models, carefully posed and often theatrically lit. Throughout the duration of the display, the people shown do not speak or move.

p 499 | Maréchal d'Huxelles: Nicolas Chalon du Blé, marquis d'Uxelles and Cormatin (1652–1730) was a French general and Foreign Minister. And a homosexual.

p 502 | peritonitis = Inflammation of the membrane lining the abdominal wall and covering the abdominal organs.

p 504 | In the 17th century, the Abbey of Port-Royal became the center of Jansenism, whose adherents believed the Augustinian doctrine that Grace was a free gift from God, not necessarily related to the virtue of those receiving it. (Sturrock note)

p 508 | double-six; David=King David=King of Spades

p 510 | à frigore spasms: Appelée "à frigore" car jadis on pensait que le froid était la cause de la maladie (called à frigore because formerly it was thought that cold caused the condition). May be what currently is known as Bell's palsy.

p 511 | Refers to a medieval legend, whereby Virgil having created a miraculous curative spa near Naples, the jealous doctors of Salerno set out in a boat to destroy it; the boat was destroyed in a storm, as retribution from divine Providence. (Sturrock note)

p 514 | End of the Verdurin party.


Sodom and Gomorrah IV pp 484-89

p 484 | Archangel Michael at the  Abbey on the Mount (Abbey of Mont Saint-Michel).

p 484 | Offertory= the offering of bread and wine to God as part of the Communion ceremony during a Christian church service.

p 485 | Palestrinising= playing sacred music by Giovanni da Palestrina.
p 485 | Whist: English card game, played by 4 players in 2 partnerships.

p 486 | Célestine Galli-Marié (1840-1905), French mezzo-soprano who created the title role in the opera Carmen

p 487 | Charles Jacques Bouchard (1837-1915), doctor and pathologist. 

Jean-Martin Charcot (1825–93) was a French neurologist and professor of anatomical pathology. Known as the founder of modern neurology. As a teacher, Charcot famously influenced students such as Freud, William James, Alfred Binet & Bouchard. 

p 488 |  Dr. Gabriel Bouffe de Saint-Blaise, Parisian doctor (b. 1862); Dr. Maurice Edme Courtois-Suffit, French doctor (1861-1947) (Thanks to M. Patrice Louis at Le fou de Proust)

p 489 | Trional (sedative drug) introduced in 1888.

Sodom and Gomorrah IV pp 471-83

p 471 |  Hugo von Tschudi (1851-1911), director of the Gallery in Berlin and, unlike the Emperor, a supporter of Impressionism, was forced eventually to resign.

p 471 | Eulenberg affair (1907-9): German royal homosexual scandal. Philip, Prince of Eulenburg and (1847-1921), politician, diplomat & confidant of the German Emperor, Wilhelm II, was charged with homosexuality in 1906. Sturrock says: "In the chronology in the novel, the affair is misplaced, since Charlus is alluding to it some five years before it occurred."

p 471 | the "mediatized" families appear in the 2nd section (Durchlaucht) of the Almanack de Gotha, while the 1st section is reserved for the genealogies of Europe's royal houses. The Durchlaucht families were recognized as being equal in birth to the royal families, and intermediate in rank between them and the merely princely families of the Almanack's 3rd section. (Sturrock note)

p 472 | Commercy (link has Proust reference)

p 477 | Monsieur (from Middle French mon sieur, literally "my lord") is an honorific title that was used to refer to or address the eldest living brother of the king in the French royal court.  The pretensions of the Croy family are noted in Proust's major historical source, the Memoirs of the Duc de Saint-Simon. (Sturrock note)

p 477 | The Duchy of Aumale

p 477 | Passavant: roughly, "go forward" (from the verb passer (to pass) & avant (before, in front of). (Sturrock note)

p 478 | Prince of Savoy-Carignano; "Prince of Hanover" refers to the Elec­tor of Hanover, who became King George I of England in 1714. (Sturrock note)

p 478 | "Maecenas atavis edite regibus!": a quotation from Horace, Odes, bk. I, meaning "Maecenas, descended from royal ances­tors!"
(Sturrock note)  From Wikipedia: "His name has become a byword for a wealthy, generous and enlightened patron of the arts." Which is how Charlus makes that compliment to Mme Verdurin.
Gabriel Fauré

p 479 | ...Sonata for piano and violin: Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano, Opus 13, by Fauré, (listen here) first performed in 1875. 

p 480 | César Franck (1822–90) was a Belgian composer, pianist, organist & music teacher who worked in Paris.

p 481 | Giacomo Meyerbeer (born Jacob Liebmann Beer, 1791–1864) was a German opera composer of Jewish birth who has been described as perhaps the most successful stage composer of the 19th century, with his grand opera style achieved by merging German orchestra style with Italian vocal tradition. (Wiki)Robert le diable was a Romantic opera of 1831, thus rather primitive musically compared with Debussy. (Sturrock)

p 481 | Domenico Scarlatti (1685-1757), known for his harpsichord music. (Sturrock)

p 482 | Ephemerids=mayflies

p 482 | Asnières & Bois-Colombes: suburbs of Paris
p 483 | Rosicrucian (Gestes esthétiques): fin-de-siècle aesthetic movement in France, comparable to the "deliquescent" movement in poetry referred to earlier (not referring to 17th century German illuminati) (Sturrock)

p 483 | etheromaniac= person addicted to using ether as a drug.

p 483 | The Great Condé: Louis II, Prince de Condé (1621-86), French general from the house of Bourbon. Leader of the so-called Fronde des Princes, or revolt against the regime of Cardinal Mazarin during Louis XIV's minority. 


Sodom and Gomorrah IV pp 456-70

p 456 | Banat;  Louis d'Harcourt; Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, 1755-1826): French lawyer and politician, who gained fame as an epicure and gastronome; sibylline = referring to certain women of antiquity reputed to possess powers of prophecy or divination; a female prophet or witch.

p 457 | Piquet=an early 16th-century trick-taking card game for two players. The river Dives runs through Cabourg (Balbec), this is the church by the river, Notre Dame de Dives sur mer.

p 459 | daubing: to coat or smear (a surface) with a thick or sticky substance in a carelessly rough way. 

p 459 | Paul César Helleu (1859-1927): French oil painter, pastel artist, drypoint etcher, and designer, best known for numerous portraits of beautiful society women of the Belle Époque. He also conceived the ceiling mural of night sky constellations for Grand Central Terminal in NYC. Father of Jean Helleu, grandfather of Jacques Helleu, both artistic directors for Parfums Chanel. 

p 460 | French strawberry mousse recipe.

p 463 | See a summary of these pages here, with comments.
p 466 | "a piece of green lustre plugging a broken pane...": a drop-shaped piece of cut glass or crystal used as a decoration on a chandelier, vase, etc. Or, a shiny metallic surface on some pottery and porcelain.

p 467 | Jouy hangings=toile de Jouy: cloth or canvas for painting on. draught-curtains are used to prevent heat loss from a room, due to drafts or weather. 

p 468 | A misericord (sometimes named mercy seat) is a small wooden shelf on the underside of a folding seat in a church, installed to provide a degree of comfort for a person who has to stand during long periods of prayer. The small shelves were available for use at times when the folding chair was required to be stored folded up, and the person expected to be in an upright position.
"Boston Stump misericord 02" by Immanuel Giel (Own work). Public Domain via Commons License
 p 468 | Agraphia: loss of the ability to write.

p 470 | "this Hohenzollern ... : with the abdication of Wilhelm II in 1918, the Hohenzollern dynasty of German emperors came to an end. The short-lived kingdom of Hanover was annexed by Prussia in 1866, and its last King was indeed dispossessed, but by Kaiser Wilhelm I, not his son. Prussia annexed Alsace-Lorraine from France following its victory in the 1870 war. (Sturrock)


Sodom and Gomorrah IV pp 447-55

p 447 |  The English name "Normans" (settled in Normandy, France) comes from the French words Normans/Normanz, plural of Normant, modern French normand, which is itself borrowed from Old Low Franconian Nortmann "Northman" or directly from Old Norse Norðmaðr, Latinized as Nortmannus (recorded in Medieval Latin, 9th century) to mean "Norseman, Viking". (Wikipedia)

p 447 | The Tour d'Argent, on the Left Bank, was, and remains, one of the great restaurants of Paris; the Hotel Meurice, on the rue de Rivoli, was one of the city's best in Proust's day.

p 448 | Émile Boutroux (1845-1921) was an eminent 19th century French philosopher of science & religion and an historian of philosophy. He firmly opposed materialism in science. He ... defended the idea that religion & science are compatible...  His work is overshadowed... by that of his student, the more celebrated Henri Bergson. He was elected to the Academy of Moral & Political Sciences in 1898 & to the Académie française in 1912. (Wiki)

Académie française
p 448 | Académie française : The Forty are the "Immortals," or the forty members of the Académie française. Not all the names Brichot cites are actual Academicians. (Storrock)

p 448-9 | Henri Houssaye; Olivier Lefèvre d'Ormesson; Édouard René de Laboulaye: Honoré Le Peletier, comte d'Aunay; M. de Bussière; M. Albaret; M. de Cholet; M. dela Pommeraye

p 449 | Paul Porel (Paul Désire Parfouru, 1843-1917), actor &  theater director, who ran the Odéon on the Left Bank, from 1884 to 1892, hence "Odéonia." He was married to the comedienne Réjane (one of the models for Berma), who, with their son Jacques Porel were friends with Proust. 

p 449 | The Théâtre de l'Odéon is one of France's six national theatres. It is located at 2 rue Corneille in the 6th arrondissement of Paris on the left bank of the Seine, next to the Luxembourg Garden. It was originally built between 1779 and 1782, in the garden of the former Hôtel de Condé, to a Neoclassical design by Charles De Wailly and Marie-Joseph Peyre. The Odéon was originally intended to house the Comédie Française, which, however, preferred to stay at the Théâtre-Français in the Palais Royal. The new theatre was inaugurated by Marie-Antoinette on April 9, 1782.

p 450 | Even though Moncrieff uses "-ast" here, the French has "-arder", which Sturrock suggests could possibly stand for pétarder, meaning "to blow one's top" -- and possibly several other slangy meanings. I think Moncrieff used his translator's licence to indicate that the two men were gossiping about Charlus being gay (i.e., "pederast"). Remember Marcel has already indicated that the people in one's social circle wouldn't mention or notice it, but outsiders would do both.

p 452 | La Chercheuse d'esprit, a comic opera with words by Charles-Simon Favart (1710-92) and music by Jean-Claude Trial (1732-71), first presented in 1741.

p 453 | The Sarmatians were a large confederation of Iranian people during classical antiquity, flourishing from about the 5th century BC to the 4th century AD. They spoke Scythian, an Indo-European language from the Eastern Iranian family.

p 454 | ... the Rohans...: The House of Rohan is a French noble family of viscounts, later dukes and princes, coming from the locality of Rohan in Brittany. 

p 454 | architrave: the lintel or beam that rests on the capitals of the columns. It is an architectural element in Classical architecture.
the lintel or beam that rests on the capitals of the columns. It is an architectural element in Classical architecture.
p 455 | galantine: A galantine is a Polish dish of de-boned stuffed meat, most commonly poultry or fish, that is poached and served cold, coated with aspic.

p 455 | Mme Jeanne Samary: 19th century actress and model (Renoir's lover for a while).

p 455 | Le Capitaine Fracasse by Théophile Gautier: This book was promised to the public in 1836 but finally published in 1863. It is centered on a soldier named Fracasse whose adventures portray bouts of chivalry, courage and a sense of adventure. Gautier places the story in his favourite historical era, that of Louis XIII. It is best described as a typical cloak-and-dagger fairy tale where everyone lives happily ever after.


Sodom and Gomorrah IV pp 372-97

p 372 | William= German Emperor Wilhelm II. 

p 373 | the Abbaye-aux-Bois: where the celebrated hostess Mme de Récamierher had her salon in Paris, at which, during the 1820s, the great Romantic writers, Chateaubriand among them, read their works in public. 

p 373 | Émilie du Châtelet (1706-49), French mathematician, physicist, and author during the Age of Enlightenment, who had a long liaison with Voltaire. 

p 373 | ... Roman Empress...: possibly Agrippina, wife of Claudius I and mother of Nero, famous for her domineering ways.  (Sturrock) 

p 373 |... like Christ or the Kaiser...: a reference to Christ's injunction in Matthew 10:37; and to Kaiser Wilhelm II's declarations of 1891 that "The will of the King is the supreme law" and that soldiers should obey "without a murmur" if ordered to fire on their own families. (Sturrock) 

p 374 | "You alone did seem ...": "Toi seule me parus ce qu'on cherche toujours." (from Vigny) 

p 378 | Pierre Potain (1825-1901), a prominent Paris medical man, with several literary patients 
(see the Goncourts' Journal); Jean-Martin Charcot (1825-93), greatest of 19th-century neurologists in France, who influenced young Freud when he was a medical student in Paris.

p 380 |the comedies of Pierre de Marivaux (1688-1763) contain numerous aristocrats, but no baronnes. (Sturrock)

p 380 | Eugene Viollet-le-Duc (1814-79) was a champion of Gothic architecture, responsible for the restoration of many medieval buildings. 

p 381 | "Charles-Maurice, Abbé of Perigord"=Talleyrand, both an unbeliever and a Catholic bishop.

p 384 | Vincent d'Indy (1851-1931), composer & teacher, was outspokenly anti-Dreyfus, and also anti-Semitic. The position of Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was more nuanced; ironically, the fiercely partisan disagreements as to the merits or otherwise of his opera, Pelléas et Mélisande , caused it later to be likened to the Dreyfus Affair.

p 386 | squireen: A person who is half squire, half farmer.  
p 387 | Henri Meilhac (1831-97) wrote plays and comic operas, the best-known of which is La belle Hélène. Brichot is referring to Pascal's famous pensée: "If Cleopatra's nose had been shorter, the whole face of the earth would have been changed." (Sturrock) 
p 393 | Jean-Baptiste Poquelin was the real name of Molière, whose absurd character Argan, in Le malade imaginaire, is the model for Proust's pastiche of medical jargon. Mr. Purgon, a character from the same play.    (Sturrock) 

p 387 | "Uncle, I mean Sarcey": Francisque Sarcey (1827-99) was the leading drama critic of the day, nicknamed "Uncle" for his good sense and middlebrow tastes.   (Sturrock)

p 397 | Phineas Taylor Barnum (1810-91), the archetypal American showman and publicist.


Sodom and Gomorrah IV pp 357-72

p 358 | train transportation: here is a map of French railways, 1882

p 359 | pecus: Latin for "cattle, sheep, livestock."

p 361 | Emmaus: Luke's Gospel says that Jesus appeared (after his death & resurrection), before two of his disciples while they were on the road to Emmaus.

p 361 | The Sorbonne: Higher education reorganized considerably in France from 1885-96; new universal disciplines were created, often on the German model (Storrock).

p 363 | Trilby: A soft felt men's hat with a deeply indented crown and a narrow brim often upturned at the back.  Un smoking is a tuxedo or dinner jacket. Top Hat=>

p 364 | Princesse de Caprarola: a made-up title, character name; Caprarola is a city in central Italy.

p 370 | Abel-Francois Villemain (1790-1870), critic, Sorbonne professor, politician, Academician.

p 371 | douceur de vivre: the sweetness of living. Pococurantism = indifference, nonchalance, lack of concern. 

p 372 | Charles-Maurice de Talleyrand-Périgord (1754-1838), bishop, statesman, diplomat & political survivor.   

p 372 | Jean François Paul de Gondi (1613-7), Cardinal de Retz, was powerful in both the church and the state; some famous memoirs.  

p 372 | Struggle-for-lifer was an English phrase derived from the Darwinism of the late 19th century.  

Boulanger by Nadar
p 372 | The boulangistes were the supporters of Georges Boulanger (1837-91), a French general and politician, popular during the Third Republic.


Sodom and Gomorrah IV pp 342-357

p 343 | Amphitryon: in Greek mythology, during Amphitryon’s absence, Alcmene became pregnant by Zeus, who, disguised as her husband, visited her; she became pregnant again by her real husband when he returned the next day. Of these unions were born twin boys -- Iphicles was the son of Amphitryon, Heracles the son of Zeus. 

p 345 | Cliff of Criquetot: Not sure if this is it, but it is on the coast of France. 

p 346 | Marcel spent part of autumn 1891 at this beautiful manor in Trouville, home of Arthur Baignères, uncle of his school friend Jacques Baignères. Les Frémonts was the model for La Raspelière, summer home of the Verdurins. Built in an L-shape and on a small cliff, the property looks out on the Channel, and on the other side, the Norman countryside (my translation).

 p 347 | Revue des deux mondes; still being published here and an English introduction is here.

p 353 | French flower girl.

p 347 | Paper by Gene M. Moore on the little train (downloadable), referencing names of towns on the line.

p 356 | Les Maximes, first published in 1665, are by François, Duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-80). Here's one: "Self-love is the greatest of all flatterers." Here are some more, and here's the whole book.

p 357 | "But won't you, indolent traveler, rest your head/And dream your dreams upon my shoulder?": from a poem by Alfred de Vigny (Storrock) 


Sodom and Gomorrah IV pp 323-342

p 324 | Prothyraia, Hera, Neptune, Nereus, Leto, Protogonos, etc. see, for example, Greek Mythology; styrax; saffron; myrrh; manna; Orphic hymns; Amphietes; Orgiophant

p 325 | Sapphism, derived from Sappho.

p 329 | Esther and Athalie by Jean Racine.
p 329 | Edgar Dégas drew, painted, and sculpted many ballet dancers. 

p 331 | atavism; seraglio; purlieus

p 331 | La Juive (The Jewish Woman): an opera, with music by Fromental Halévy (1799-1862), first performed in 1835.

p 331 | "C'est un courrier de cabinet": popular tune from Les Brigands, an opera by Jacques Offenbach (1819-80). It was the equivalent of a King's or Queen's messenger.

p 331-32 | Céleste Albaret (née Gineste, 1891-1984), married to a taxi-driver employed by Proust, became his housekeeper in 1914 and worked for him until his death in 1922. Her memories were published in 1973 as Monsieur Proust. (See video here.) Marie Gineste, her unmarried sister, sometimes helped; both originally were from Auvergne.

Leger / Perse
p 336 | Alexis Saint-Leger Leger (1887-1975), French poet and diplomat wrote under the name Saint-John Perse. Éloges appeared in 1911. Real name=Alexis Leger. Nobel Prize for Literature (1960).

p 336 | "Here below the lilacs die..."first line of a poem by Sully Prudhomme (1839-1907), French poet, who received the first Nobel Prize for literature, in 1901. This poem was often set to music. 

p 336 | Archibishop of Tours; Bishop of Rodez.