"The most surprising fact about the lectures, however, is how they conclude: with a meditation on death. This move spares Czapski the accusation that he was merely escaping into the sensory, bourgeois richness of Proust’s art. He is not afraid to confront the specter of his own death head-on, and to use literature to do so. He broaches the topic by evoking the death scene of the writer Bergotte, in a section of “Remembrance” that Proust was editing in the final weeks before he died. Bergotte, by this point in the novel an invalid and shut-in, steps out to see an exhibition that includes Vermeer’s “View of Delft,” which Czapski, borrowing from Proust, describes as embodying a “mysterious charm,” a “Chinese perfection and delicacy.” Having taken in that sight, Bergotte quickly suffers a fatal stroke and dies in the gallery, overwhelmed by his senses. Czapski notes that Bergotte’s last wish is to view the paintings “one more time … though he knows well enough that, given his health, it’s risky for him to go out to see the exhibition.” A good death becomes linked to the experience of good art."
Writer - Critic - Poet - Editor