I had no greater desire than to see a storm at sea, not so much because it would be a beautiful spectacle as because it would be a moment of nature’s real life unveiled; or rather for me there were no beautiful spectacles except the ones which I knew were not artificially contrived for my pleasure, but were necessary, unchangeable – the beauties of landscapes or of great art. I was curious, I was avid to know only those things which I believed to be more real than myself, which had for me had the value of showing me a little of the mind of a great genius, or of the force or grace of nature as it is manifested when left to itself, without the interference of men. Just as the lovely sound of her voice, reproduced in isolation by the phonograph, would not console us for having lost our mother, so too a storm mechanically imitated would have left me as indifferent as the illuminated fountains at the Exposition. And so that the storm would be absolutely real, I also wanted the shore itself to be a natural shore, not a pier recently built by some municipality. In fact, because of all the feelings it awakened in my, nature seemed to me the thing most opposite to the mechanical productions of men. The less it bore their imprint the more room it offered in which my heart could expand.
Proust, Swann’s Way p. 400. Translated by Lydia Davis.