Marcel Proust

(1871-1922 / Neuilly-Auteuil-Passy)

Marcel Proust Quotes

  • ''Three-quarters of the sicknesses of intelligent people come from their intelligence. They need at least a doctor who can understand this sickness.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1918). Bergotte in Remembrance of Things Past, vol. II, Within a Budding Grove, p. 570, Pléiade (1954).
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  • ''Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. "Time Regained," vol. 12, ch. 3, Remembrance of Things Past (1927), trans. by Stephen Hudson (1931).
  • ''Illness is the doctor to whom we pay most heed; to kindness, to knowledge, we make promise only; pain we obey.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. "Cities of the Plain," vol. 1, pt. 2, ch. 1, Remembrance of Things Past (1922).
  • ''For each illness that doctors cure with medicine, they provoke ten in healthy people by inoculating them with the virus that is a thousand times more powerful than any microbe: the idea that one is ill.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Trans. by Ronald and Colette Cortie (1988). Dr. du Boulbon, in "The Guermantes Way," vol. 5, pt. 1, ch. 2, Remembrance of Things Past (1921).
  • ''A work of art that contains theories is like an object on which the price tag has been left.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. "Time Regained," vol. 12, ch. 3, Remembrance of Things Past (1927), trans. by Stephen Hudson (1931).
  • ''There is no man, however wise, who has not at some period of his youth said things, or lived in a way the consciousness of which is so unpleasant to him in later life that he would gladly, if he could, expunge it from his memory.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Elstir, in Within a Budding Grove, pt. 2, "Seascape, with Frieze of Girls," Remembrance of Things Past, vol. 4 (1918), trans. by Scott Moncrieff (1924).
  • ''The features of our face are hardly more than gestures which force of habit made permanent. Nature, like the destruction of Pompeii, like the metamorphosis of a nymph into a tree, has arrested us in an accustomed movement.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. "Within a Budding Grove," pt. 2, "Seascape, with Frieze of Girls," Remembrance of Things Past, vol. 4 (1918), trans. by Scott Monkrieff (1924).
  • ''A fashionable milieu is one in which everybody's opinion is made up of the opinion of all the others. Has everybody a different opinion? Then it is a literary milieu.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. "Fragments From Italian Comedy," no. 10, Pleasures and Regrets (1896, trans. 1948).
  • ''The charms of the passing woman are generally in direct proportion to the swiftness of her passing.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. "Within a Budding Grove," vol. 4, pt. 2, "Place-Names: The Place," Remembrance of Things Past (1918), trans. by Ronald and Colette Cortie (1988).
  • ''Your soul ... is a dark forest. But the trees are of a particular species, they are genealogical trees.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. "Fragments From Italian Comedy," no. 7, sct. 4, Pleasures and Regrets (1896, trans. 1948).

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