Treasure Island

Marcel Proust


Quotations

  • ''Even the simple act that we call "going to visit a person of our acquaintance" is in part an intellectual act. We fill the physical appearance of the person we see with all the notions we have about him, and in the totality of our impressions about him, these notions play the most important role.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1913). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. I, Swann's Way, p. 19, Pléiade (1954).
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  • ''On the first days, like a piece of music that one will later be mad about, but that one does not yet distinguish, that which I was to love so much in [Bergotte's] style was not yet clear to me. I could not put down the novel that I was reading, but I thought that I was only interested in the subject, as in the first moments of love when one goes every day to see a woman at some gathering, or some pastime, by the amusements to which one believes to be attracted.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1913). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. I, Swann's Way, p. 93, Pléiade (1954).
  • ''At first, he savored only the material quality of the sounds secreted by the instruments. And it had already been a great pleasure when, beneath the tiny line of the violin, slender, resistant, dense and driving, he noticed the mass of the piano's part seeking to arise in a liquid splashing, polymorphous, undivided, level and clashing like the purple commotion of wave charmed and flattened by the moonlight.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1913). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. I, Swann's Way, p. 208, Pléiade (1954).
  • ''The return of the asymmetrical Saturday was one of those small events that were interior, local, almost civic and which, in tranquil lives and closed societies, create a sort of national bond and become the favorite theme of conversation, of jokes and of stories exaggerated with pleasure: it would have been a ready- made seed for a legendary cycle, had any of us leanings toward the epic.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1913). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. I, Swann's Way, p. 110, Pléiade (1954). The narrator describes Saturdays on which his family lunched one hour early.
  • ''If the conversation turned to the Princes of the House of France, "people with whom neither you nor I will be acquainted, and we do not want to, do we?", my grandmother would say to Swann, who perhaps had a letter from Twickenham in his pocket; she made him move to the piano and turn the pages on evenings when my grandmother's sisters sang; she had with this being, elsewhere so sought after, the naive roughness of a child who plays with a collector's item without any more care than with a less expensive one.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1913). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. I, Swann's Way, p. 19, Pléiade (1954).
  • ''Indeed, my mother's beautiful face still shone with youthfulness that night when she so softly held my hands and sought to stop my tears; but, precisely, it seemed to me that this should not have happened, her anger would have saddened me less than this new sweetness that my childhood had never known; it seemed to me that, with a hidden and impious hand, I had just traced the first wrinkle and made appear the first grey hair in her soul.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1913). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. I, Swann's Way, p. 38, Pléiade (1954).
  • ''... while the purely carnal sight of this woman, by perpetually renewing his doubts about the qualities of her face, her body, of all her beauty, weakened his love, these doubts were destroyed, his love was ensured when it was based instead on the elements of a more reliable aesthetic; furthermore, the kiss and the act of possession which seemed natural and mediocre if accorded him by withered flesh, now completing his veneration of a museum piece, had to promise, it seemed to him, supernatural and delicious pleasures.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française. Remembrance of Things Past, vol. I, Swann's Way, p. 224, Pléiade (1954). Swann compares Odette to Botticelli painting to enhance his attraction to her.
  • ''The hedge [of hawthorns] formed a type of suite of chapels disappearing under the wall of their flowers heaped as on an altar; under them, the sun placed on the ground a grid of light, as if it had come through a glass window; their fragrance was as smooth and as clearly defined in its form as if I had stood before the Virgin's altar, and the flowers, so ornamented, each distractedly held its dazzling bouquet of stamens, fine and shining ribs of flamboyant style like those which in the church line the ramp of the rood-screen or the mullions of stained-glass windows and which bloomed into the white flesh of strawberry blossoms.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1913). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. I, Swann's Way, p. 138, Pléiade (1954).
  • ''The disinterest [of my two great-aunts] in anything that had to do with high society was such that their sense of hearing ... put to rest its receptor organs and allowed them to suffer the true beginnings of atrophy.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1913). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. I, Swann's Way, p. 21, Pléiade (1954).
  • ''At a certain age, we have already been struck by love; it no longer develops alone, according to its own mysteries and fateful laws while our hearts stand by startled and passive. We come to its assistance ... Recognizing one of its symptoms, we recall, we bring back to life the others. Since we possess its song engraved in its totality within us, we do not need for a woman to tell us the beginning—filled with admiration inspired by beauty—to find the continuation.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1913). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. I, Swann's Way, p. 196, Pléiade (1954).

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