This is 'Bohemia' in the cultural sense, as in the movement towards a freer, glamorously impoverished life focused on the arts. Madame Verdurin is known as a supporter of young musicians and artists, and this lifestyle is at odds with the hierarchical, conservative atmosphere of the Faubourg Saint-Germain.
In the world of In Search of Lost Time she is the only actress better than Berma.
The 'little phrase' from Vinteuil's sonata becomes the 'national anthem' of Swann and Odette's love. Vinteuil, another of Proust's four archetypal artistic characters, is based on a number of French Romantic composers with whom Proust was familiar, such as Debussy, Fauré, César Franck, and Saint-Saëns. Although attempts have been made to identify a particular sonata by one or other of these composers as the Vinteuil sonata, these are highly speculative exercises.
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