Marcel Proust

(1871-1922 / Neuilly-Auteuil-Passy)

Marcel Proust Quotes

  • ''We construct our life for one person and, when finally we are ready to receive that person in our life, she does not come, then dies in our eyes and we live as prisoners of that which was meant only for her.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française. Remembrance of Things Past, vol. II, Within a Budding Grove, p. 634, Pléiade (1954).
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  • ''... we made much less happy by the kindness of a great writer, which strictly speaking we find only in his books, than we suffer from the hostility of a woman whom we have not chosen for her intelligence, but whom we cannot stop ourselves from loving.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1918). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. II, Within a Budding Grove, p. 569, Pléiade (1954).
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  • ''It is, after all, very interesting that sound can reflect like water, like a mirror. And notice that Vinteuil's phrase only shows me that to which I did not pay attention at the time. Of my worries, of my loves at that time, it does not recall a thing, it has made the exchange.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1918). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. II, Within a Budding Grove, p. 534, Pléiade (1954). Vinteuil's phrase is a favorite piece of music of Swann's...
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  • ''In reality, in love there is a permanent suffering which joy neutralizes, renders virtual, delays, but which can at any moment become what it would have become long earlier if one had not obtained what one wanted, atrocious.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1918). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. II, Within a Budding Grove, p. 582, Pléiade (1954).
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  • ''I was able to believe for years that going to Madame Swann's was a vague chimera that I would never attain; after having passed a quarter of an hour there, it was the time at which I did not know her which became to me a chimera and vague, as a possible destroyed by another possible.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1918). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. II, Within a Budding Grove, p. 538, Pléiade (1954).
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  • ''In a language known to us, we have substituted the opacity of the sounds with the transparence of the ideas. But a language we do not know is a closed place in which the one we love can deceive us, making us, locked outside and convulsed in our impotence, incapable of seeing or preventing anything.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1918). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. II, Within a Budding Grove, p. 583, Pléiade (1954).
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  • ''A few years later, I would have answered, "I never repeat anything." That is the ritual phrase of society people, by which the gossip is reassured every time.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1918). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. II, Within a Budding Grove, p. 571, Pléiade (1954).
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  • ''Theoretically, we know that the world turns, but in fact we do not notice it, the earth on which we walk does not seem to move and we live on in peace. This is how it is concerning Time in our lives. And to render its passing perceptible, novelists must... have their readers cross ten, twenty, thirty years in two minutes.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1918). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. II, Within a Budding Grove, p. 482, Pléiade (1954).
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  • ''Physical love, so unjustly decried, forces everyone to manifest even the smallest bits of kindness he possesses, of selflessness, that they shine in the eyes of all who surround him.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1913). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. I, Swann's Way, p. 147, Pléiade (1954).
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  • ''Habit! that skillful but slow arranger, which starts out by letting our spirit suffer for weeks in a temporary state, but that the spirit is after all happy to discover, for without habit and reduced to its own resources, the spirit would be unable to make any lodgings seem habitable.''
    Marcel Proust (1871-1922), French novelist. Nouvelle Revue Française (1913). Remembrance of Things Past, vol. I, Swann's Way, p. p. 8, Pléiade (1954).
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