Explore the most impactful and insightful quotes and sayings by Marcel Proust, and enrich your perspective with the wisdom. Share these inspiring Marcel Proust quotes pictures with your friends on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or your personal blogs, completely free. Here are the top 796 Marcel Proust quotes for you to read and share.

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As though on a seedling whose blossoms ripen at different times, I had seen in old ladies, on that beach at Balbec, the dried-up seeds and sagging tubers that my girl-friends would become. But, now that it was time for buds to blossom, what did that matter? -- Marcel Proust
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I was left alone there in the company of the orchids, roses and violets, which, like people waiting beside you who do not know you, preserved a silence which their individuality as living things made all the more striking, and warmed themselves in the heat of a glowing coal fire ... -- Marcel Proust
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The harm that Albertine had done me was a last bond between her and myself which outlived memory even, for with the conservation of energy which belongs to everything that is physical, suffering has no need of the lessons of memory. -- Marcel Proust
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It is not because other people are dead that our affection for them grows faint, it is because we ourselves are dying. -- Marcel Proust
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It is false to believe that the scale of fears corresponds to that of the dangers which inspire them. One might be frightened of sleeplessness and yet not of a duel, of a rat and not of a lion. -- Marcel Proust
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The past not merely is not fugitive, it remains present. -- Marcel Proust
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There are people whose faces assume an unaccustomed beauty and majesty the moment they cease to look out of their eyes. -- Marcel Proust
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No banishment, indeed, to the South Pole, or to the summit of Mont Blanc, can separate us so entirely from our fellow creatures as a prolonged residence in the seclusion of a secret vice, that is to say of a state of mind that is different from theirs. -- Marcel Proust
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No exile at the South Pole or on the summit of Mont Blanc separates us more effectively from others than the practice of a hidden vice. -- Marcel Proust
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In summoning even the wisest of physicians to our aid, it is probably that he is relying upon a scientific "truth", the error of which will become obvious in just a few years' time. -- Marcel Proust
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Why, when we regain consciousness, is it not an identity other than the one we had previously that is embodied in us? It is not clear what dictates the choice nor why, among the millions of human beings we might be, it is the being we were the day before that we unerringly grasp. -- Marcel Proust
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The world was not created once and for all time for each of us individually. There are added to it in the course of our life things of which we have never had any suspicion. -- Marcel Proust
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But I consoled myself with the reflexion that in spite of everything she was for me the real point of intersection between reality and dream. -- Marcel Proust
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Life is strewn with these miracles for which people who love can always hope. -- Marcel Proust
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M. de Charlus persisted in not replying. I thought I could see a smile flicker about his lips: the smile of the man who looks down from a great height on the characters and manners of lesser men. -- Marcel Proust
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The thirst for something other than what we have ... to bring something new, even if it is worse, some emotion, some sorrow; when our sensibility, which happiness has silenced like an idle harp, wants to resonate under some hand, even a rough one, and even if it might be broken by it. -- Marcel Proust
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With the wisdom of people not in love who believe a man of sense should be unhappy only over a person who is worth it; which is rather like being surprised that anyone should condescend to suffer from cholera because of so small a creature as the comma bacillus. -- Marcel Proust
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... novels contained something inexpressibly delicious. -- Marcel Proust
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Combray, we used often to invite him to our house. -- Marcel Proust
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Our memory is like a shop in the window of which is exposed now one, now another photograph of the same person. And as a rule the most recent exhibit remains for some time the only one to be seen. -- Marcel Proust
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The person with whom we are in love is to be recognised only by the intensity of the pain that we suffer. -- Marcel Proust
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They say that Death embellishes its victims and exaggerates their virtues, but in general it is actually life that wronged them. Death, that pious and irreproachable witness, teaches us, in both truth and charity, that in each man there is usually more good than evil. -- Marcel Proust
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I have friends wherever there are companies of trees, wounded but not vanquished, which huddle together with touching obstinancy to implore an inclement and pitiless sky. -- Marcel Proust
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Because happiness alone is good for the body; whereas sorrow develops the strength of the mind. -- Marcel Proust
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To a person who loves, is not absence the most certain, the most effective, the most durable, the most indestructible, the most faithful of presences? -- Marcel Proust
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To think that I have wasted years of my life, that I have longed for death, that the greatest love that I have ever known has been for a woman who did not please me, who was not in my style! PLACE-NAMES: -- Marcel Proust
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And like an aviator who rolls painfully along the ground until, abruptly, he breaks away from it, I felt myself being slowly lifted towards the silent peaks of memory. -- Marcel Proust
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The bonds that unite us to another human being are sanctified when he or she adopts the same point of view as ourselves in judging one of our imperfections. -- Marcel Proust
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We must never be afraid to go too far, for truth lies beyond. -- Marcel Proust
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The comfort of reclusion, the poetry of hibernation -- Marcel Proust
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And in myself, too, many things have perished which, I imagined, would last for ever, and new structures have arisen, giving birth to new sorrows and new joys which in those days I could not have foreseen, just as now the old are difficult of comprehension. -- Marcel Proust
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The true voyage of discovery is not a journey to a new place; it is learning to see with new eyes. -- Marcel Proust
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One felt that in her renunciation of life she had deliberately abandoned those places in which she might at least have been able to see the man she loved, for others where he had never trod. -- Marcel Proust
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Her [Gilberte's] face, grown almost ugly, reminded me then of those dreary beaches where the sea, ebbing far out, wearies one with its faint shimmering, everywhere the same, encircled by an immutable low horizon. -- Marcel Proust
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Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. -- Marcel Proust
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The images selected by memory are as arbitrary, as narrow, as elusive as those which the imagination had formed and reality has destroyed. There is no reason why, existing outside ourselves, a real place should conform to the pictures in our memory rather than those in our dreams. -- Marcel Proust
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My destination is no longer a place, rather a new way of seeing. -- Marcel Proust
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When one feels oneself smitten by love for a woman, one ought to say to oneself, "What are her surroundings? What has been her life? All one's future happiness lies in the answer. -- Marcel Proust
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For we are not as faithful to the being we have most loved as we are to ourselves and sooner or later we forget her - since that is one of our characteristics - so as to start loving another. -- Marcel Proust
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But sometimes the future is latent in us without our knowing it, and our supposedly lying words foreshadow an imminent reality. -- Marcel Proust
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Dear Friend: I have nearly died three times since morning. -- Marcel Proust
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One can seldom admire what one loves. -- Marcel Proust
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Perhaps the pleasure one feels in writing is not the infallible test of the literary value of a page; perhaps it is only a secondary state which is often superadded, but the want of which can have no prejudicial effect on it. Perhaps some of the greatest masterpieces were written while yawning. -- Marcel Proust
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The only paradise is paradise lost. -- Marcel Proust
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Not caring for their lives' is it?
Why, what in the world is there that we should care for if it's not our lives, the only gift the Lord never offers us a second time. -- Marcel Proust
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Relations which are not consecrated by the laws establish bonds of kinship as manifold, as complex, even more solid than those which spring from marriage. -- Marcel Proust
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I never allow myself to be influenced in the smallest degree either by atmospheric disturbances or by the arbitrary divisions of what is known as Time. -- Marcel Proust
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Even from the simplest, the most realistic point of view, the countries
which we long for occupy, at any given moment, a far larger place in our actual life than the country in which we happen to be. -- Marcel Proust
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There is no more ridiculous custom than the one that makes you express sympathy once and for all on a given day to a person whose sorrow will endure as long as his life. Such grief, felt in such a way is always present, it is never too late to talk about it, never repetitious to mention it again. -- Marcel Proust
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I would lay my cheeks gently against the comfortable cheeks of my pillow, as plump and blooming as the cheeks of babyhood. -- Marcel Proust
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Good God! Think of listening to Wagner for a whole fortnight with a woman who takes about as much interest in music as a tone-deaf newt - that would be fun! -- Marcel Proust
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Certainly, it is more reasonable to devote one's life to women than to postage stamps, old snuff-boxes, or even to paintings and statues. -- Marcel Proust
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My dear Madame, I just noticed that I forgot my cane at your house yesterday; please be good enough to give it to the bearer of this letter. P.S. Kindly pardon me for disturbing you; I just found my cane. -- Marcel Proust
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With ardent sadness he contemplated the scene of his death for a long time, endlessly revising it like a work of art and surrounding it with images of this world, images that still imbued his thoughts, but that, already slipping away from him in his gradual departure, became vague and beautiful. -- Marcel Proust
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There are optical errors in time as there are in space. -- Marcel Proust
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People who, not being in love themselves, feel that a clever man should only be unhappy about a person who is worth his while; which is rather like being astonished that anyone should condescend to die of cholera at the bidding of so insignificant a creature as the comma bacillus. -- Marcel Proust
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An hour or so later he received a note from Odette. Swann had left his cigarette case at her house. "If only," she wrote, "you had also forgotten your heart! I should never have let you have it back. -- Marcel Proust
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The sea thus enchants us like music, which, unlike language, never bears the traces of things, never tells us anything about human beings, but imitates the stirrings of the soul. -- Marcel Proust
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An innately sensitive man who has no imagination could, nevertheless write admirable novels. -- Marcel Proust
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People who are not in love fail to understand how an intelligent man can suffer because of a very ordinary woman. This is like being surprised that anyone should be stricken with cholera because of a creature so insignificant as the common bacillus. -- Marcel Proust
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A sleeping man holds in a circle around him the thread of the hours, the order of years and of worlds. He consults them instinctively upon awaking and in one second reads in them the point of the earth that he occupies, the time past until his arousal; but their ranks can be mingled or broken. -- Marcel Proust
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I had long since given up trying to extract from a woman as it were the square root of her unknown quantity, the mystery of which a mere introduction was generally enough to dispel. -- Marcel Proust
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Griefs, at the moment when they change into ideas, lose some of their power to injure our heart. -- Marcel Proust
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But one never finds a cathedral, a wave in a storm, a dancer's leap in the air quite as high as one has been expecting; -- Marcel Proust
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Those who have minds have no regard for birth. -- Marcel Proust
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Forgive me, Bertrand, for having on that day loved in you a beauty in which your self-esteem could take no pride, which could not in any way determine my affection. -- Marcel Proust
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It was evident to me then that I existed in the same manner as all other men, that I must grow old, that I must die like them, and that among them I was to be distinguished merely as one of those who have no aptitude for writing. And so, utterly despondent, I renounced literature for ever, -- Marcel Proust
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The Princess of Parma was a Courvoisier in that she was incapable of innovation in social matters, but unlike the Courvoisiers in that the surprises the Duchesse de Guermantes perpetually held in store for her engendered in her not, as in them, antipathy but a sense of wonder. -- Marcel Proust
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There is not a woman in the world the possession of whom is as precious as that of the truths which she reveals to us by causing us to suffer. -- Marcel Proust
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Then the concerts came to an end, the weather turned bad and my girls left Balbec, not all at once, as the swallows leave, but within the same week. -- Marcel Proust
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The humanist, who read too much, ate too much. He quoted and burped, and these two complaints were equally repugnant to his neighbor, a self-made aristocrat, Madame Lenoir. -- Marcel Proust
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Every person is destroyed when we cease to see him; after which his next appearance is a new creation, different from that which immediately preceded it, if not from them all. -- Marcel Proust
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We are able to find everything in our memory, which is like a dispensary or chemical laboratory in which chance steers our hand sometimes to a soothing drug and sometimes to a dangerous poison. -- Marcel Proust
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No doubt my books too, like my mortal being, would eventually die, one day. But one has to resign oneself to dying. One accepts the thought that in ten years oneself, in a hundred years one's books, will not exist. Eternal duration is no more promised to books than it is to men. -- Marcel Proust
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We must love men more than things, and I admire and weep more for the soldiers than for the churches which were only the recording of an heroic gesture which today is reenacted at every moment. -- Marcel Proust
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Achille Adrien Proust, was a famous doctor and epidemiologist, responsible for studying and attempting to remedy the causes and movements of cholera through Europe and Asia -- Marcel Proust
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Because he knew that for other people their own social obligations took precedence of the death of a
friend, and could put himself in her place by dint of his instinctive
politeness. -- Marcel Proust
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A little insomnia is not without its value in making us appreciate sleep, in throwing a ray of light upon that darkness. -- Marcel Proust
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Aristocracy is a relative thing. And there are plenty of out-of-the-way places where the son of an upholsterer is the arbiter of fashion and reigns over a court like any young Prince of Wales. -- Marcel Proust
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Desiring a will was not enough. I would have needed precisely what I could not have without willpower: a will. -- Marcel Proust
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To be an artist is to fail, as no other dare to fail ... failure is his world and the shrink from it desertion -- Marcel Proust
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She wept over the vanity of her desires, which had so ardently flown to the blossoming flesh that now had already withered forever. -- Marcel Proust
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Our belief that a person takes part in an unknown life which his or her love would allow us to enter is, of all that love demands in order to come into being, what it prizes the most, and what makes it care little for the rest. -- Marcel Proust
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Fashions, being themselves begotten of the desire for change, are quick to change also. -- Marcel Proust
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When he spoke, his words came with a confusion which was delightful to hear because one felt that it indicated not so much a defect in his speech as a quality of his soul, as it were a survival from the age of innocence which he had never wholly outgrown. -- Marcel Proust
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One reads the papers as one wants to with a bandage over one's eyes without trying to understand the facts, listening to the soothing words of the editor as to the words of one s mistress. -- Marcel Proust
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But even with respect to the most insignificant things in life, none of us constitutes a material whole, identical for everyone, which a person has only to go look up as though we were a book of specifications or a last testament; our social personality is a creation of the minds of others. -- Marcel Proust
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The idea that 'Life' contains situations more interesting and more romantic than all the romances ever written. -- Marcel Proust
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The two chief causes of error in our relations with another person are, having ourselves a good heart, or else being in love with the other person. -- Marcel Proust
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Human altruism which is not egoism, is sterile. -- Marcel Proust
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The sad work of a true artist speaks to us in that tone of people who have suffered, who force anyone who has suffered to drop everything and listen. -- Marcel Proust
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The illusions of paternal love are perhaps no less poignant than those of the other kind; many daughters regard their fathers merely as the old men who leave their fortunes to them. -- Marcel Proust
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To think that I wasted years of my life, that I wanted to die, that I felt my deepest love, for a woman who did not appeal to me, who was not my type! -- Marcel Proust
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It is up to my spirit to find the truth. But how? Grave uncertainty, each time the spirit feels beyond its own comprehension; whenit, the explorer, is altogether to obscure land that it must search and where all its baggage is of no use. To search? That is not all: to create. -- Marcel Proust
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We ought not to attach ourselves to beings, it is not beings who exist in reality and are amenable to description, but ideas. -- Marcel Proust
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We try to discover in things, which become precious to us on that account, the reflection of what our soul has projected on to them; we are disillusioned when we find that they are in reality devoid of the charm which they owed, in our minds, to the association of certain ideas. -- Marcel Proust
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For a long time I would go to bed early.
[Fr., Longtemps, je me suis couche de bonne heure.] -- Marcel Proust
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Aristocracy is relative: there are all sorts of inexpensive little resorts where the son of a furniture salesman may be the arbiter of all things elegant, holding court like a young Prince of Wales. -- Marcel Proust
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It was impossible for me to thank my father; what he called my sentimentality would have exasperated him. -- Marcel Proust
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The whole art of living is to regard people who cause us suffering as, in a degree, enabling us to accept its divine form and thus to populate our daily life with divinities. -- Marcel Proust
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The heart does not lie. -- Marcel Proust
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Discovery consists not in seeking new lands, but in seeing with new eyes. -- Marcel Proust
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L'adolescence est le seul temps o u' l'on ait appris quelque chose. Adolescence is the only time when we can learn something. -- Marcel Proust
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Her [Odette's] eyes were beautiful, but so large they seemed to droop beneath their own weight, strained the rest of her face and always made her appear unwell or in a bad mood. -- Marcel Proust
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Well, how could a reader notice that? There may be something lacking there I admit. But heavens above, they ought to count themselves lucky! It's full enough of good things as it is, far more than they usually get. -- Marcel Proust
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All the great writers are like that: the beauty of their sentences, like the beauty of a woman one has not yet met, is unforeseeable ... -- Marcel Proust
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When nothing else subsists from the past, after the people are dead, after the things are broken and scattered ... the smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls ... bearing resiliently, on tiny and almost impalpable drops of their essence, the immense edifice of memory -- Marcel Proust
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But the harshness of his steely glare was compensated by the softness of his cotton gloves, so that, as he approached Swann, he seemed to be exhibiting at once an utter contempt for his person and the most tender regard for his hat. -- Marcel Proust
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Until I saw Chardin's painting, I never realized how much beauty lay around me in my parents' house, in the half-cleared table, in the corner of a tablecloth left awry, in the knife beside the empty oyster shell. -- Marcel Proust
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It is desire that engenders belief; if we fail as a rule to take this into account, it is because most of the desires that create beliefs end only with out own life. -- Marcel Proust
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The moments of the past do not remain still; they retain in our memory the motion which drew them towards the future, towards a future which has itself become the past, and draw us on in their train. -- Marcel Proust
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But certain favourite roles are played by us so often before the public and rehearsed so carefully when we are alone that we find it easier to refer to their fictitious testimony than to that of a reality which we have almost entirely forgotten. -- Marcel Proust
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one can grow so well accustomed as to smile at them, to take the tormentor's side with a. happy determination which deludes one into the belief that it is not, really, tormenting; -- Marcel Proust
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Was the happiness of knowing these girls really unattainable? It would certainly not have been the first happiness of that sort which I had abandoned all hope of ever enjoying? -- Marcel Proust
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But then the memory - not yet of the place in which I was, but of various other places where I had lived and might now very possibly be - would come like a rope let down from heaven to draw me up out of the abyss of not-being, from which I could never have escaped by myself: -- Marcel Proust
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If the theater is the refuge of the conversationalist whose friend is mute and whose mistress is insipid, then conversation, even the most exquisite, is the pleasure of men without imagination. -- Marcel Proust
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And it is perhaps one of the causes of our perpetual disappointments in love, this perpetual displacement whereby, in response to our expectation of the ideal person whom we love, each meeting provides us with a person in flesh and blood who yet contains so little trace of our dream. -- Marcel Proust
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All the great things we know have come to us from neurotics. It is they who have founded religions and created great works of art. -- Marcel Proust
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Less disappointing than life, great works of art do not begin by giving us all their best. -- Marcel Proust
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No man is a complete mystery except to himself. -- Marcel Proust
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Then came the deglutition of saliva, and the old lady instinctively wiped the stubble of her toothbrush moustache with her handkerchief. -- Marcel Proust
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She was capable of causing me pain, but no longer any joy. Pain alone kept my wearisome attachment alive. -- Marcel Proust
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ideas whose inaccuracy was atoned for by their honest simplicity, were derived not from books, but from a tradition at once ancient and direct, unbroken, oral, degraded, unrecognisable, and alive. -- Marcel Proust
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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
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The smell and taste of things remain poised a long time, like souls, ready to remind us ... -- Marcel Proust
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Real books should be the offspring not of daylight and casual talk but of darkness and silence -- Marcel Proust
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People who learn some correct detail about another person's life at once draw conclusions from it which are not accurate, and see in the newly discovered fact an explanation of things that have no connexion with it whatsoever. -- Marcel Proust
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However, the fickle strivings of her heart and her mind did not encounter a will in her that, without limiting them, could guide them and keep her from becoming their charming and fragile plaything. -- Marcel Proust
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Such grave uncertainty, whenever the mind feels overtaken by itself; when it, the seeker, is also the obscure country where it must seek and where all its baggage will be nothing to it. -- Marcel Proust
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The only true voyage of discovery ... would be not to visit strange lands, but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another, of a hundred others, to behold the hundred universes that each of them beholds, that each of them is. -- Marcel Proust
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The only true voyage of discovery, the only fountain of Eternal Youth, would be not to visit strange lands but to possess other eyes, to behold the universe through the eyes of another. -- Marcel Proust
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One pretended not to know that the body of a hostess was at the disposal of all comers, provided that her visiting list showed no gaps. -- Marcel Proust
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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
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It is always thus, impelled by a state of mind which is destined not to last, we make our irrevocable decisions -- Marcel Proust
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It is the tragedy of other people that they are merely showcases for the very perishable collections of one's own mind. -- Marcel Proust
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The most familiar precepts are not always the truest. -- Marcel Proust
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But in exchange for what our imagination leads us to expect and we give ourselves so much futile trouble trying to find, life gives us something which we were very far from imagining. -- Marcel Proust
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She tried to make her eyes seem tender; she did not know why, for no reason, for pleasure, the pleasure of charity, of a little vanity, and also gratuity, the pleasure of carving your name into a tree trunk for a passerby whom you will never see, the pleasure of throwing a bottle into the ocean. -- Marcel Proust
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A photograph acquires something of the dignity which it ordinarily lacks when it ceases to be a reproduction of reality and shows us things that no longer exist. -- Marcel Proust
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For Swann was finding in things once more, since he had fallen in love, the charm that he had found when, in his adolescence, he had fancied himself an artist; with this difference, that what charm lay in them now was conferred by Odette alone. -- Marcel Proust
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We dream much of Paradise, or rather of a number of successive Paradises, but each of them is, long before we die, a Paradise lost, in which we should feel ourselves lost also. -- Marcel Proust
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Ah, in those earliest days of love how naturally the kisses spring into life! So closely, in their profusion, do they crowd together that lovers would find it as hard to count the kisses exchanged in an hour as to count the flowers in a meadow in May. -- Marcel Proust
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To know a thing does not always enable us to prevent it, but at least the things we know we do hold, if not in our hands, at any rate in our minds, where we can dispose of them as we choose, and this gives us the illusion of a sort of power over them. -- Marcel Proust
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To a great extent, suffering is a sort of need felt by the organism to make itself familiar with a new state, which makes it uneasy, to adapt its sensibility to that state. -- Marcel Proust
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As long as men are free to ask what they must, free to say what they think, free to think what they will, freedom can never be lost and science can never regress. -- Marcel Proust
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Medical prescriptions, everything that she needed for the performance, in bed, of her duties to soul and body, to keep the proper times for pepsin and for -- Marcel Proust
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A writer's works, like the water in an artesian well, mount to a height which is in proportion to the depth to which suffering has penetrated his soul. -- Marcel Proust
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Seeking to indicate to her by the extent of his gratitude the corresponding intensity of the pleasures which it was in her power to bestow on him, the supreme pleasure being to guarantee him immunity, for as long as his love should last and he remain vulnerable, from the assaults of jealousy. -- Marcel Proust
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Happiness contracted by the cold, forced to withdraw into itself, to close into its heart, it is there that I find the greatest intensity. It is true that I have only ever experienced it through sadness. But it is always the same. -- Marcel Proust
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The satisfaction an imbecile derives from having right on his side and being certain of success is especially irritating. -- Marcel Proust
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Pretentiousness is closely allied to stupidity and that simplicity has a subtle but agreeable flavour. -- Marcel Proust
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People do not die for us immediately, but remain bathed in a sort of aura of
life which bears no relation to true immortality but through which they
continue to occupy our thoughts in the same way as when they were alive. It
is as though they were traveling abroad. -- Marcel Proust
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For neither our greatest fears nor our greatest hopes are beyond the limits of our strength
we are able in the end both to dominate the first and to achieve the second. -- Marcel Proust
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His nature was really like a sheet of paper that has been folded so often in every direction that it is impossible to straighten it out. -- Marcel Proust
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Until custom had changed the colour of the curtains, made the clock keep quiet, brought -- Marcel Proust
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Truth and life are very difficult to fathom, and I retained of them, without really having got to know them, an impression in which sadness was perhaps actually eclipsed by exhaustion. -- Marcel Proust
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Sometimes in this life, under the stress of an exceptional emotion, people do say what they think. -- Marcel Proust
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For when it is in the hope of making a priceless discovery that we desire to receive certain impressions from nature or from works of art, we have qualms lest our soul imbibe inferior impressions which might lead us to form a false estimate of the value of Beauty. -- Marcel Proust
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When I am not too sad to listen, music is my consolation. -- Marcel Proust
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Our worst fears, like our greatest hopes, are not outside our powers, and we can come in the end to triumph over the former and to achieve the latter. -- Marcel Proust
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The paradoxes of today are the prejudices of tomorrow, since the most benighted and the most deplorable prejudices have had their moment of novelty when fashion lent them its fragile grace. -- Marcel Proust
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Happiness is salutary for the body but sorrow develops the powers of the spirit. -- Marcel Proust
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I wondered whether music might not be the unique example of what might have been - if the invention of language, the formation of words, the analysis of ideas had not intervened - the means of communication between souls. -- Marcel Proust
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I was not unhappy, except one day at a time. -- Marcel Proust
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People often say that, by pointing out to a man the faults of his mistress, you succeed only in strengthening his atachment to her, because he does not believe you. -- Marcel Proust
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Do you suppose that it is within your power to insult me? You evidently are not aware to whom you are speaking? Do you imagine that the envenomed spittle of five hundred little gentlemen of your type, heaped one upon another, would succeed in slobbering so much as the tips of my august toes? -- Marcel Proust
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Like a kaleidoscope which is every now and then given a turn, society arranges successively in different orders elements which one would have supposed immutable, and composes a new pattern. -- Marcel Proust
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My dear," she had said to Mamma, "I could not bring myself to give the child anything that was not well written, -- Marcel Proust
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I felt myself still reliving a past which was no longer anything more than the history of another person; -- Marcel Proust
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She's on the stairs, ma'am, getting her breath,' said the young servant, who had not been long up from the country, where my mother had the excellent habit of getting all her servants. Often she had seen them born. That's the only way to get really good ones. And they're the rarest of luxuries. -- Marcel Proust
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Which drew from Bloch nothing more instructive than "Sir, I am absolutely incapable of telling you whether it has rained. I live so resolutely apart from physical contingencies that my senses no longer trouble to inform me of them." "My -- Marcel Proust
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Always try to keep a patch of sky above your life. -- Marcel Proust
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Her [Albertine's] intense and velvety gaze fastened itself, glued itself to the passer-by, so adhesive, so corrosive, that you felt that, in withdrawing, it must tear away the skin. -- Marcel Proust
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By art alone we can get out of ourselves, find out what another person sees of this universe which is not the same as ours ... Thanks to art, instead of seeing only one world, we see it multiplied, and we have as many different worlds at our disposition as there are original artists. -- Marcel Proust
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At that moment, noticing that his embroidered handkerchief was revealing part of its coloured edging, he thrust it back into his pocket with a startled glance, like a prudish but not innocent woman concealing bodily charms which in her excessive modesty she sees as wanton. -- Marcel Proust
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There are mountainous, arduous days, up which one takes an infinite time to climb, and downward-sloping days which one can descend at full tilt, singing as one goes. -- Marcel Proust
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She cursed her will, which could rear so impetuously and leap over hurdles so dauntlessly when her desires strove toward impossible goals - her will, so weak, so pliant, so broken not only when she was forced to disobey her desires, but also when she was driven by some other emotion. -- Marcel Proust
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Our vanity, our passions, our spirit of imitation, our abstract intelligence, our habits have long been at work, and it is the task of art to undo this work of theirs, making us travel back in the direction from which we have come to the depths where what has really existed lies unknown within us. -- Marcel Proust
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The being that I shall be after death has no more reason to remember the man I have been since my birth than the latter to remember what I was before it. -- Marcel Proust
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there are things in our souls which we know not how much they mean to us. Or rather, if we live without them, it is because, either through fear of failing or suffering, we daily postpone the moment of coming under their thrall. -- Marcel Proust
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I had come in time to learn that it was a mistake to smile a friendly smile when somebody made a fool of me. -- Marcel Proust
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How can we have the courage to wish to live, how can we make a movement to preserve ourselves from death, in a world where love is provoked by a lie and consists solely in the need of having our sufferings appeased by whatever being has made us suffer? -- Marcel Proust
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A man of letters, merely by reading a phrase, can estimate exactly the literary merit of its author. -- Marcel Proust
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We enjoy lovely music, beautiful paintings, a thousand intellectual delicacies, but we have no idea of their cost, to those who invented them, in sleepless nights, tears, spasmodic laughter, rashes, asthmas, epilepsies, and the fear of death, which is worse than all the rest. -- Marcel Proust
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We are very slow to recognise in the peculiar physiognomy of a new writer the model which is labelled "great talent" in our museum of general ideas. -- Marcel Proust
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Reading is that fruitful miracle of a communication in the midst of solitude. -- Marcel Proust
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I ought then to have been happy; I was not. It struck me that my mother had just made a first concession which must have been painful to her, that it was a first step down from the ideal she had formed for me, and that for the first time she, with all her courage, had to confess herself beaten. -- Marcel Proust
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We were resigned to suffering, thinking that we loved outside ourselves, and we perceive that our love is a function of our sorrow, that our love perhaps is our sorrow.. -- Marcel Proust
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Like a fruit hidden among its leaves, which has grown and ripened unobserved by man, until it falls of its own accord, there came upon us one night the kitchen-maid's confinement. -- Marcel Proust
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How often is not the prospect of future happiness thus sacrificed to one's impatient insistence upon an immediate gratification. -- Marcel Proust
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Her memory was a burning pillow which she kept turning and turning. -- Marcel Proust
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Only imagination and belief can differentiate from the rest certain objects, certain people, and can create an atmosphere. -- Marcel Proust
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breathed into this quite ordinary prose a kind of life, continuous and full of feeling. My -- Marcel Proust
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One cannot change, that is to say become a different person, while continuing to acquiesce to the feelings of the person one has ceased to be. -- Marcel Proust
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But the loss of a memory, like the omission of a phrase during reading, rather than making for uncertainty, can lead to a premature certainty. -- Marcel Proust
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Anything we have not had to decipher, to bring to light by our own effort, anything which was already clearly visible, is not our own. -- Marcel Proust
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We are at times too ready to believe that the present is the only possible state of things. -- Marcel Proust
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We need to bear in mind that our opinion of other people, our ties with friends or family, have only the semblance of fixity and are, in fact, as eternally fluid as the sea. -- Marcel Proust
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There was nothing abnormal about it when homosexuality was the norm. -- Marcel Proust
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Yes, I have been forced to whittle down the facts, and to be a liar, but it is not one universe, there are millions, almost as many as the number of human eyes and brains in existence, that awake every morning. -- Marcel Proust
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And each time the cowardice that deters us from every difficult task, every important enterprise, has urged me to leave the thing alone, to drink my tea and to think merely of the worries of today and my hopes for tomorrow, which can be brooded over painlessly. -- Marcel Proust
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"It smells all right; it makes your head go round; it catches your breath; you feel ticklish all over - and not the faintest clue how it's done. The man's a sorcerer; the thing's a conjuring trick, it's a miracle," ... -- Marcel Proust
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We construct our lives for one person, and when at length it is ready to receive her that person does not come; presently she is dead to us, and we live on, prisoners within the walls which were intended only for her. -- Marcel Proust
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We become moral when we are unhappy. -- Marcel Proust
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If the idea of death during this period had, as we have seen, cast a gloom over love, the memory of love had for a long time now helped me not to be afraid of death. For I understood that dying was not something new but quite the reverse, that since my childhood I had already died a number of times. -- Marcel Proust
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the sweetness to be found in generosity -- Marcel Proust
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Three-quarters of the mental ingenuity and the mendacious boasting squandered ever since the world began by people who are only cheapened thereby, have been aimed at inferiors. -- Marcel Proust
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And it is, after all, as good a way as any of solving the problem of existence to get near enough to the things and people that have appeared to us beautiful and mysterious from a distance to be able to satisfy ourselves that they have neither mystery nor beauty. -- Marcel Proust
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No days, perhaps, of all our childhood are ever so fully lived are those that we had regarded as not being lived at all: days spent wholly with a favourite book. -- Marcel Proust
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The only possible paradises are those we have lost -- Marcel Proust
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The true paradises are the paradises that we have lost. -- Marcel Proust
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That melancholy which we feel when we cease to obey orders which, from one day to another, keep the future hidden, and realise that we have at last begun to live in real earnest, as a grown-up person, the life, the only life that any of us has at his disposal. -- Marcel Proust
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The reason why life may be judged to be trivial although at certain moments it seems to us so beautiful is that we form our judgment, ordinarily, not on the evidence of life itself but of those quite different images which preserve nothing of life-and therefore we judge it disparagingly. -- Marcel Proust
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The inertia of the mind urges it to slide down the easy slope of imagination, rather than to climb the steep slope of introspection. -- Marcel Proust
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You can't learn the truth about a man's intentions by asking him. -- Marcel Proust
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Habit is, of all the plants of human growth, the one that has the least need of nutritious soil in order to live, and is the first to appear on the most seemingly barren rock. -- Marcel Proust
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When I went to Venice I found that my dream had become-incredibly, but quite simply-my address. -- Marcel Proust
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Bodily passion, which has been so unjustly decried, compels its victims to display every vestige that is in them of unselfishness and generosity, and so effectively that they shine resplendent in the eyes of all beholders. -- Marcel Proust
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May you always see a blue sky overhead, my young friend; and then, even when the time comes, as it has come for me now, when the woods are black, when night is fast falling, you will be able to console yourself, as I do, by looking up at the sky. -- Marcel Proust
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A work in which there are theories is like an object which still has its price-tag on. -- Marcel Proust
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The universe is true for us all and dissimilar to each of us. -- Marcel Proust
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Knowing does not always allow us to prevent, but at least the things that we know, we hold them, if not in our hands, but at leastin our thoughts where we may dispose of them at our whim, which gives us the illusion of power over them. -- Marcel Proust
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My dears, laugh at me if you like; it is not conventionally beautiful, but there is something in its quaint old face which pleases me. If it could play the piano, I am sure it would really play. -- Marcel Proust
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Those exterminating angels known as Will and Thought were no longer present to drive the evil spirits of his senses and the vile emanations of his memory back into the darkness. -- Marcel Proust
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Like a blood-red sky that warns the passerby, "There is a fire over there," certain blazing looks often reveal passions that they serve merely to reflect. They are flames in the mirror. -- Marcel Proust
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The human plagiarism which is most difficult to avoid, for individuals ... is the plagiarism of ourselves. -- Marcel Proust
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It was she whom I loved and whom I could not therefore see without that anxiety, without that desire for something more, which destroys in us, in the presence of the person we love, the sensation of loving. -- Marcel Proust
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In the human race, the frequency of the virtues that are identical in us all is not more wonderful than the multiplicity of the defects that are peculiar to each one of us. Undoubtedly, it is not common sense that is "the commonest thing in the world"; it is human kindness. -- Marcel Proust
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Life is a hard thing that presses us too tightly, forever hurting our souls. Upon feeling those restraints loosen for a moment, one can experience clear-sighted pleasures. -- Marcel Proust
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The thought of being made comfortable gives him strength to endure his pain. -- Marcel Proust
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We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full. -- Marcel Proust
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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
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And continued to regard all their absurdities in the most rosy light through the admiring eyes of love. -- Marcel Proust
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Thus I had already reached the conclusion that we are in no wise free in the presence of a work of art, that we do not create it as we please but that it pre-exists in us and we are compelled as though it were a law of nature to discover it because it is at once hidden from us and necessary. -- Marcel Proust
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Which would enable him to prolong for the time being, and to renew for one day more the disappointment, the torturing deception that must always come to him with the vain presence of this woman, whom he might approach, yet never dared embrace. -- Marcel Proust
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We are ordinarily so indifferent to people that when we have invested one of them with the possibility of giving us joy, or suffering, it seems as if he must belong to some other universe, he is imbued with poetry. -- Marcel Proust
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Self-centredness thus enabling every human being to see the universe spread out in descending tiers beneath himself who is its lord, -- Marcel Proust
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Ah! there is a man who justifies the wit who insisted that one ought never to know an author except through his books. -- Marcel Proust
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Masterpieces are no more than the shipwrecked flotsam of great minds. -- Marcel Proust
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The wretchedness of ordinary life, endured so gaily when it is part of our normal existence, is made far worse when it comes as something new, and is exaggerated by the working of the imagination. -- Marcel Proust
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Now my uncle knew many of them [actresses] personally, and also ladies of another class, not clearly distinguished from actresses in my mind. -- Marcel Proust
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For every death is a simplification of existence for the others, removes the necessity to show gratitude, the obligation to pay visits. -- Marcel Proust
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Sometimes in the afternoon sky the moon would pass white as a cloud, furtive, lusterless, like an actress who does not have to perform yet and who, from the audience, in street clothes, watches the other actors for a moment, making herself inconspicuous, not wanting anyone to pay attention to her. -- Marcel Proust
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The young woman's smiling lips met his caresses halfway, and her eyes shone in their depths like pools warmed by the sun. -- Marcel Proust
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For even if we have the sensation of being always surrounded by our own soul, it is not as though by a motionless prison: rather, we are in some sense borne along with it in a perpetual leap to go beyond it. -- Marcel Proust
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For, just as in the beginning it is formed by desire, so afterwards love is kept in existence only by painful anxiety. -- Marcel Proust
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Everything we think of as great has come to us from neurotics. It is they and they alone who found religions and create great works of art. The world will never realize how much it owes to them and what they have suffered in order to bestow their gifts on it. -- Marcel Proust
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There is no doubt that a person's charms are less frequently a cause of love than a remark such as: 'No, this evening I shan't be free'. -- Marcel Proust
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But the presence of Odette continued to sow in Swann's heart alternate seeds of love and suspicion. -- Marcel Proust
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Fall in love with a dog's bum,
And thou'll think it pretty as a plum. -- Marcel Proust
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She [Mme Sazerat] did not offer her hand, but smiled at my mother with vague melancholy as one smiles at a playmate from one's childhood, but with whom all connection has been severed because she has lived a debauched life, married a jailbird or, worse still, a divorced man. -- Marcel Proust
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I had spent the New Year's Day of old men, who differ on that day from their juniors, not because people have ceased to give them presents but because they themselves have ceased to believe in the New Year. -- Marcel Proust
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After a certain age, the more one becomes oneself, the more obvious one's family traits become. -- Marcel Proust
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In theory one is aware that the earth revolves, but in practice one does not perceive it, the ground upon which one treads seems not to move, and one can live undisturbed. So it is with Time in one's life. -- Marcel Proust
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I loved her; I was sorry not to have had the time and the inspiration to insult her, to do her some injury, to force her to keep some memory of me. -- Marcel Proust
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Moreover, each man's malevolence quite involuntarily exaggerated the other's importance, as if the chief of villains were confronting the king of imbeciles. -- Marcel Proust
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From the pavement, I could see the window of Albertine's room, that window, formerly quite black, at night, when she was not staying in the house, which the electric light inside, dissected by the slats of the shutters, striped from top to bottom with parallel bars of gold. -- Marcel Proust
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His life and family circle changed considerably between 1900 and 1905. In February 1903, Proust's brother Robert married and left the family apartment. His father died in September of the same year. Finally, and most crushingly, Proust's beloved mother died in September 1905. -- Marcel Proust
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In later years, one can grow so well accustomed as to smile at them, to take the tormentor's side with a. happy determination which deludes one into the belief that it is not, really, tormenting; but -- Marcel Proust
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There is nothing like desire for obstructing any resemblance between what one says and what one has on one's mind. -- Marcel Proust
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Swann, with that almost arrogant charity of a man of the world who, amid the dissolution of all his own moral prejudices, finds in another's shame merely a reason for treating him with a friendly benevolence ... -- Marcel Proust
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The courage of one's opinions is always a form of calculating cowardice in the eyes of the 'other side' ... -- Marcel Proust
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In the V-shaped opening of her crape bodice Mlle. Vinteuil felt the sting of her friend's sudden kiss; ... -- Marcel Proust
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Do you imagine that the poisonous spittle of five hundred little men of your sort, hoisted on to each other's shoulders, could even drool down on to the tips of my august toes? -- Marcel Proust
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She can't have understood you: you are so utterly different from ordinary men. That's what I liked about you when I first saw you; I felt at once that you weren't like everybody else. -- Marcel Proust
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Auteuil (the southern sector of Paris's then-rustic 16th arrondissement) at the home of his great-uncle, two months after the Treaty of Frankfurt formally ended the Franco-Prussian W -- Marcel Proust
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We ought at least, from prudence, never to speak of ourselves, because that is a subject on which we may be sure that other people's views are never in accordance with our own. -- Marcel Proust
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A picture's beauty does not depend on the things portrayed in it. -- Marcel Proust
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A cathedral, a wave of a storm, a dancer's leap, never turn out to be as high as we had hoped. -- Marcel Proust
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as those old engravings of the 'Cenacolo,' or that painting by Gentile Bellini, in which one sees, in a state in which they no longer exist, the masterpiece of Leonardo and the portico of Saint Mark's. We -- Marcel Proust
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All the mind's activity is easy if it is not subjected to reality. -- Marcel Proust
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There's nothing like desire to prevent the things one says from having any resemblance to the things in one's mind. -- Marcel Proust
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How paradoxical it is to search reality for the pictures that are stored in one's memory. -- Marcel Proust
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She's got feet like boats, whiskers like an American, and her undies are filthy. -- Marcel Proust
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Alexis was now accustomed to his uncle's fatal disease as we are to all things that last around us; and because he had once made his nephew cry as the dead make us cry, the boy, even though his uncle was still alive, treated him like a dead man: he had begun to forget him. -- Marcel Proust
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In most women's lives, everything, even the greatest sorrow, comes down to a question of 'I haven't got a thing to wear'. -- Marcel Proust
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A fashionable milieu is one in which each person's opinion is made up of everyone else's opinions. Does each opinion run counter to everyone else's? Then it is a literary milieu. -- Marcel Proust
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as a painter who can have his subject for short sittings only prepares his palette, and from what he remembers and from rough notes does in advance everything which he possibly can do in the sitter's absence. -- Marcel Proust
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Those who have played a big part in one's life very rarely disappear from it suddenly for good. They return to it at odd moments ... before leaving it for good. -- Marcel Proust
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We see things but we don't see them, like things that slid through the mind, one flowing into another. -- Marcel Proust
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Error, by force of contrast, enhances the triumph of Truth ... -- Marcel Proust
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Like a rare species of shrub in a tub, near the carriages, in front of the porch where I was waiting, stood a young page who amazed the eye as much by the remarkable harmonies of his coloured hair as by his plant-like skin. -- Marcel Proust
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The highest praise of God consists in the denial of him by the atheist who finds creation so perfect that it can dispense with a creator. -- Marcel Proust
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Only through art can we emerge from ourselves and know what another person sees. -- Marcel Proust
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The character we exhibit in the latter half of our life need not necessarily be, though it often is, our original character, developed further, dried up, exaggerated, or diminished. It can be its exact opposite, like a suit worn inside out. -- Marcel Proust
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The good intentions of a third party are powerless to control a woman who is annoyed to find herself pursued even into a ball-room by a man whom she does not love. Too often, the kind friend comes down again alone. -- Marcel Proust
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The cattleyas especially (these being, with chrysanthemums, her favourite flowers), because they had the supreme merit of not looking in the least like other flowers, but of being made, apparently, out of scraps of silk or satin. -- Marcel Proust
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but whenever I thought about them I pictured them to myself either in tapestry, as was the 'Coronation of Esther' which hung in our church, -- Marcel Proust
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Long after the poor departed have gone from our hearts, their insignificant dust continues to be mingled, to be used as an alloy, with the events of the past. -- Marcel Proust
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But to ask pity of our body is like discoursing in front of an octopus, for which our words can have no more meaning than the sound of the tides, and with which we should be appalled to find ourselves condemned to live. -- Marcel Proust
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But,instead of what our imagination makes us suppose and which we worthless try to discover,life gives us something that we could hardly imagine. -- Marcel Proust
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I do my intellectual work inside myself, and once I am with my fellow creatures it is more or less a matter of indifference to me whether or not they are intelligent as long as they are kind, sincere, etc. -- Marcel Proust
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The tiny, initial clue ... by allowing us to imagine what we do not know, stimulates a desire for knowledge. -- Marcel Proust
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Happiness is good for the body, but it is grief which develops the strengths of the mind. -- Marcel Proust
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I longed for nothing more than to behold a stormy sea, less as a mighty spectacle than as a momentary revelation of the true life of nature; -- Marcel Proust
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What we have not had to decipher, to elucidate by our own efforts, what was clear before we looked at it, is not ours. From ourselves comes only that which we drag forth from the obscurity which lies within us, that which to others is unknown. -- Marcel Proust
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The best vaccine against anger is to watch others in its throes. -- Marcel Proust
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I should have been struck down by the despair a young lover feels who has sworn lifelong fidelity, when a friend speaks to him of the other mistresses he will have in time to come. -- Marcel Proust
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Everything that seems imperishable tends to extinguishment. -- Marcel Proust
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We are less justified in saying that the thinking life of humanity is a miraculous perfectioning of animal and physical life than that it is an imperfection in the organization of spiritual life as rudimentary as the communal existence of protozoa in colonies. -- Marcel Proust
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I looked at her, at first with the sort of gaze that is not merely the messenger of the eyes, but a window at which all the senses lean out, anxious and petrified, a gaze that would like to touch the body it is looking at, capture it, take it away and the soul along with it. -- Marcel Proust
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Sadness had reigned in undisputed sovereignty over his shadowed childhood. -- Marcel Proust
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There can be no peace of mind in love, since what one has obtained is never anything but a new starting-point for further desires -- Marcel Proust
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Custom! that skillful but unhurrying manager who begins by torturing the mind for weeks on end with her provisional arrangements; whom the mind, for all that, is fortunate in discovering, for without the help of custom it would never contrive, by its own efforts, to make any room seem habitable. -- Marcel Proust
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I would feel the satisfaction of being shut in from the outer world ... -- Marcel Proust
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An artist, however modest, is always willing to hear himself preferred to his rivals, and tries only to see that justice is done them. -- Marcel Proust
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I was not at all worried about finding my doctor boring; I expected from him, thanks to an art of which the laws escaped me, that he pronounce concerning my health an indisputable oracle by consulting my entrails. -- Marcel Proust
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Sunrise is a necessary concomitant of long railway journeys, like hard-boiled eggs, illustrated papers, packs of cards, rivers upon which boats strain but make no progress. -- Marcel Proust
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I have built, deep in my heart, a chapel filled with you. -- Marcel Proust
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But he did not tell her, for he realised how petty it would appear to her, and how different from what she had expected, less sensational and less touching; he was afraid, too, lest, disillusioned in the matter of art, she might at the same time be disillusioned in the greater matter of love. -- Marcel Proust
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How could all this fresh water of memories have spurted once again and flowed through my impure soul of today without getting soiled? -- Marcel Proust
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The novelist has brought us to that state, in which, as in all purely mental states, every emotion is multiplied tenfold, into which his book comes to disturb us as might a dream, but a dream more lucid, and of a more lasting impression than those which comes to us in sleep; -- Marcel Proust
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Only by art can we get outside ourselves, instead of seeing only one world, our own, we see it under multiple forms. -- Marcel Proust
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The reigns of the kings and queens who are portrayed as kneeling with clasped hands in the windows of churches, were stained by oppression and bloodshed. -- Marcel Proust
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It was not evil that gave her the idea of pleasure, that seemed to her attractive; it was pleasure, rather, that seemed evil. -- Marcel Proust
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precisely the same way the pastoral novels of George Sand, which she was giving me for my birthday, were regular lumber-rooms of antique furniture, full of expressions that have fallen out of use and returned as imagery, such as one finds now only in country dialects. -- Marcel Proust
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I had indeed suffered successively through Gilberte, through Mme de Guermantes, through Albertine. Successively also I had forgotten them and only my love, dedicated at different times to different beings, had lasted. -- Marcel Proust
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When you heard anyone in the middle of a talk which was being deliberately kept off the Affair announce furtively some piece of political news, generally false but always devoutly to be wished, you could induce from the nature of his predictions where his heart lay. -- Marcel Proust
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The most exclusive love for a person is always a love for something else. -- Marcel Proust
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Perhaps the immobility of the things that surround us is forced upon them by our conviction that they are themselves, and not anything else, and by the immobility of our conceptions of them. -- Marcel Proust
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Unkindness is inspired by hatred, anger fuels it into action in which there is no great joy; it would take sadism to turn it into something pleasurable; unkind people imagine themselves to be inflicting pain on someone equally unkind. -- Marcel Proust
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Alix bore the blow without flinching. A block of marble. Her gaze was piercing and blank, her nose nobly arched. But one cheek was flaking. A hint of strange green and pink vegetation was invading her chin. Another winter perhaps would lay her low. -- Marcel Proust
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For in this worldof ours where everything withers, everything perishes, there is a thing that decays, that crumbles into dust even more completely, leaving behind, still fewer traces of itself, than beauty: namely, grief. -- Marcel Proust
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We only really know what is new, what suddenly introduces to our sensibility a change of tone which strikes us, that for which habit has not yet substituted its pale fac-similes. -- Marcel Proust
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Hard people are weak people whom nobody wants, and the strong, caring little whether they are wanted or not, have alone that meekness which the common herd mistake for weakness. -- Marcel Proust
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With intelligent people, three-quarters of the things they suffer from come from their intelligence. -- Marcel Proust
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The so-called sensitivity of neurotics develops along with their egotism; they cannot bear for other people to flaunt the sufferings with which they are increasingly preoccupied themselves. -- Marcel Proust
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For in this respect love is not like war; after the battle is ended we renew the fight with keener ardour, which we never cease to intensify the more thoroughly we are defeated, provided always that we are still in a position to give battle. -- Marcel Proust
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Proust's life changed due to a very large inheritance he received (in today's terms, a principal of about $6 million, with a monthly income of about $15,000). -- Marcel Proust
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The creation of the world did not occur at the beginning of time, it occurs every day. -- Marcel Proust
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Whenever she saw in others an advantage, however trivial, which she herself lacked, she would persuade herself that it was no advantage at all, but a drawback, and would pity so as not to have to envy them. -- Marcel Proust
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We are all of us obliged, if we are to make reality endurable, to nurse a few little follies in ourselves. -- Marcel Proust
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Most of our faculties lie dormant because they can rely upon Habit, which knows what there is to be done and has no need of their services. -- Marcel Proust
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What had to move - a leaf of the chestnut tree, for instance - moved. -- Marcel Proust
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He was one of those susceptible, highly-strung persons who cannot bear to have made a blunder which, though they do not admit it to themselves, is enough to spoil their whole day. -- Marcel Proust
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As by an electric current that gives us a shock, I have been shaken by my loves, I have lived them, I have felt them: never have I succeeded in seeing or thinking them. -- Marcel Proust
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As a man with imagination you can enjoy only in regret or in anticipation - that is, in the past or in the future. -- Marcel Proust
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The fault I find with our journalism is that it forces us to take an interest in some fresh triviality or other every day, whereas only three or four books in a lifetime give us anything that is of real importance. -- Marcel Proust
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This rubicund youth, with his blunt features, appeared for all the world to have a tomato instead of a head. -- Marcel Proust
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I never much like thus being told without possibility of reply what I am to think about people whom I know. -- Marcel Proust
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May my life someday be so limpid that the Muses will deign to mirror themselves in it and that we can see the reflections of their smiles and their dances skimming across its surface. -- Marcel Proust
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It is always during a passing state of mind that we make lasting resolutions. -- Marcel Proust
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When a man is asleep, he has in a circle round him the chain of the hours, the sequence of the years, the order of the heavenly host. -- Marcel Proust
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The serpent hissing between the lips of Envy is so huge, and so completely fills her wide-opened mouth that the muscles of her face are strained and contorted, ... -- Marcel Proust
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We live not alone but chained to a creature of a different kingdom: our body. -- Marcel Proust
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We fall in love for a smile, a look, a shoulder. That is enough; then, in the long hours of hope or sorrow, we fabricate a person, we compose a character. -- Marcel Proust
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At the heart of our friendly or purely social relations, there lurks a hostility momentarily cured but recurring by fits and starts. -- Marcel Proust
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It is said that nothing in our lives is ever lost, that nothing can prevent its having been. That is why, so very often the weight of the past lies ineluctably upon the present. But that is why it is so real in memory, so wholly itself, so far beyond replacement. -- Marcel Proust
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We passionately long that there may be another life in which we shall be similar to what we are here below. But we do not pause to reflect that, even without waiting for that other life, in this life, after a few years we are unfaithful to what we have been, to what we wished to remain immortally. -- Marcel Proust
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A person has no need of sincerity, nor even of skill in lying, in order to be loved. Here I mean by love reciprocal torture. -- Marcel Proust
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Unfortunately my parents had recourse to principles entirely different from those which I suggested they should adopt -- Marcel Proust
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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
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He was one of that class of men who, apart from a scientific career in which they may well have proved brilliantly successful, have acquired an entirely different kind of culture, literary or artistic, for which their professional specialisation has no use but by which their conversation profits. -- Marcel Proust
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Odette seemed a fascinating and desirable woman, the attraction which her body held for him had aroused a painful longing to secure the absolute mastery of even the tiniest particles of her heart. -- Marcel Proust
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We may talk for a lifetime without doing more than indefinitely repeat the vacuity of a minute. -- Marcel Proust
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Ideas are substitutes for sorrows; when the latter change into ideas they lose part of their noxious action on our hearts and even at the first instant their very transformation disengages a feeling of joy. -- Marcel Proust
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Just as Eve was created from a rib of Adam, so a woman would come into existence while I was sleeping, conceived from some strain in the position of my limbs. Formed -- Marcel Proust
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We think and name in one world, we live and feel in another. -- Marcel Proust
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His strength was restored and, with it, all his desires to live; he went out, began living again, and died a second time for himself. -- Marcel Proust
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He turned his head to avoid seeing the happy tableau of pleasures that he had passionately loved and that he would never enjoy again. -- Marcel Proust
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Death is in truth an illness from which we recover -- Marcel Proust
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So we don't believe that life is beautiful because we don't recall it but if we get a whiff of a long-forgotten smell we are suddenly intoxicated and similarly we think we no longer love the dead because we don't remember them but if by chance we come across an old glove we burst into tears. -- Marcel Proust
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An admitted insensibility or immorality simplifies life as much as does easy virtue; it converts reproachable actions, for which one no longer need seek any excuse, into a duty imposed by sincerity. -- Marcel Proust
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True life life at last discovered and illuminated the only life therefore really lived that life is literature. -- Marcel Proust
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In his younger days a man dreams of possessing the heart of the woman whom he loves; later, the feeling that he possesses the heart of a woman may be enough to make him fall in love with her. -- Marcel Proust
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Since we possess its hymn, engraved on our hearts in its entirety, there is no need of any woman to repeat the opening lines, potent with the admiration which her beauty inspires, for us to remember all that follows. -- Marcel Proust
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Let us be grateful
to people who
make us happy;
they are the
charming gardeners
who make our
souls bloom. -- Marcel Proust
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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 donot 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
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So long as I know what's boiling in my pot I don't bother my head about what's in other people's. -- Marcel Proust
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The sensitiveness claimed by neurotic is matched by their egotism: they cannot abide the flaunting by others of the sufferings to which they pay an even increasing amount of attention in themselves. -- Marcel Proust
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The alleged 'sensitivity' of neurotic people is matched by their egotism; they cannot abide the flaunting by others of the sufferings to which they pay an ever-increasing attention in themselves. -- Marcel Proust
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Pleasures are like photographs: in the presence of the person we love, we take only negatives, which we develop later, at home, when we have at our disposal once more our inner dark room, the door of which it is strictly forbidden to open while others are present. -- Marcel Proust
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Beautiful books are always written in a sort of foreign language. -- Marcel Proust
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The intellectual distinction of a house and its smartness are generally in inverse rather than direct ratio. -- Marcel Proust
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Let a prize lower my position, if it causes me to be read; that I prefer immediately to all the honors. -- Marcel Proust
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Existence is of little interest save on days when the dust of realities is mingled with magic sand. -- Marcel Proust
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Laissons les jolies femmes aux hommes sans imagination. Leave the pretty women for the men without imagination. -- Marcel Proust
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The mistakes of doctors are innumerable. They err as a rule out of optimism as to the treatment, and pessimism as to the outcome. -- Marcel Proust
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Love is a reciprocal torture. -- Marcel Proust
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One might almost say that works of literature are like artesian wells, the deeper the suffering, the higher they rise.) -- Marcel Proust
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Our passions shape our books, repose writes them in the intervals. -- Marcel Proust
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For often I have wished to see a person again without realising that it was simply because that personal recalled to me a hedge of hawthorns in blossom, and I have been led to believe, and to make someone else believe, in a renewal of affection, by what was no more than an inclination to travel. -- Marcel Proust
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An inverse operation multiplies to such a degree what concerns our welfare and divides by such a formidable figure what does not concern it, that the death of millions of unknown people hardly affects us more unpleasantly than a draught. -- Marcel Proust
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I could no longer desire physically without feeling a need for her, without suffering from her absence. -- Marcel Proust
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The fixity of a habit is generally in direct proportion to its absurdity. -- Marcel Proust
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I knew very well that this hope was chimerical. I was like a pauper who mingles fewer tears with his dry bread if he tells himself that at any moment a stranger will bequeath to him his fortune. We must all, in order to make reality more tolerable, keep alive in us a few little follies. -- Marcel Proust
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Truth is a point of view about things. -- Marcel Proust
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The sea refreshes our imagination because it does not make us think of human life; yet it rejoices the soul, because, like the soul, it is an infinite and impotent striving, a strength that is ceaselessly broken by falls, an eternal and exquisite lament. -- Marcel Proust
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The path that he followed being fixed for ever in his memory by the general excitement due to being in a strange place, to doing unusual things, -- Marcel Proust
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[ ... ] they imagine that the life they are obliged to lead is not that for which they are really fitted, and they bring to their regular occupations either a fantastic indifference or a sustained and lofty application, scornful, bitter and conscientious. -- Marcel Proust
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Her blue, almond-shaped eyes - now even more elongated - had altered in appearance; they were indeed of the same colour, but seemed to have passed into a liquid state. So much so that, when she closed them, it was as though a pair of curtains had been drawn to shut out a view of the sea. -- Marcel Proust
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What criterion ought one to adopt to judge one's fellows? After all, there was not a single person he knew who might not, in certain circumstances, prove capable of a shameful action. -- Marcel Proust
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What a profound significance small things assume when the woman we love conceals them from us. -- Marcel Proust
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Mme. de Gallardon, who could never stop herself from sacrificing her greatest social ambitions and highest hopes of someday dazzling the world to the immediate, obscure, and private pleasure of saying something disagreeable. -- Marcel Proust
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Illness is the doctor to whom we pay most heed; to kindness, to knowledge, we make promise only; pain we obey. -- Marcel Proust
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Be making her tea; or, if my aunt were feeling 'upset,' she would ask instead for her 'tisane,' and it would be my duty to shake out of the chemist's little package on to a plate the amount of lime-blossom required for infusion in boiling water. -- Marcel Proust
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An hour is not merely an hour; it is a vase full of scents and sounds and projects and climates. -- Marcel Proust
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We love only what we do not wholly possess. -- Marcel Proust
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Imagination, thought, may be admirable mechanisms but they can also be inert. Suffering alone sets them going. -- Marcel Proust
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Like so many of his sitters, you had to die an early death, and in your eyes as in theirs, one could see the gloom of forebodings alternating with the soft light of resignation. -- Marcel Proust
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In short, my aunt demanded that whoever came to see her must at one and the same time approve of her way of life, commiserate with her in her sufferings, and assure her of ultimate recovery. -- Marcel Proust
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People are not always very tolerant of the tears which they themselves have provoked. -- Marcel Proust
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the remembrence of things past is not nessecarly the remeberance of things as they were -- Marcel Proust
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Once he has outgrown his youth, a man will rarely remain a prisoner to his insolence. He had thought it was the only way to behave; then he suddenly discovers that, even for a prince, there are such things as music, literature, not to speak of standing for the post of deputy. -- Marcel Proust
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When the heartstrings, which contentment has silenced, like a harp laid by, yearn to be plucked and sounded again by some hand, however rough, even if it should break them; -- Marcel Proust
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A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves. -- Marcel Proust
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Her eyes seemed to promise a spirit forever capsized in the diseased waters of regret. -- Marcel Proust
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What barrier is so insurmountable as silence? -- Marcel Proust
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Indeed, among the lesser auxiliaries to success in love, an absence, the declining of an invitation to dinner, an unintentional, unconscious harshness are of more service than all the cosmetics and fine clothes in the world. -- Marcel Proust
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L'ide e qu'on mourra est plus cruelle que mourir, mais moins que l'ide e qu'un autre est mort. The idea of dying is worse than dying itself, but less cruel than the idea that another has died. -- Marcel Proust
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The real stars of society are tired of appearing there. He who is curious to gaze at them must often migrate to another hemisphere, where they are more or less alone. -- Marcel Proust
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We shall see later on that the diversity of the forms of death that circulate invisibly is the cause of the peculiar unexpectedness of obituary notices in the newspapers. -- Marcel Proust
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One says the things which one feels the need to say, and which the other will not understand: one speaks for oneself alone. -- Marcel Proust
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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
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Art is not alone in imparting charm and mystery to the most insignificant things; pain is endowed with the same power to bring them into intimate relation with ourselves. -- Marcel Proust
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madeleine soaked in her decoction of lime-flowers which my aunt used to give me (although I did not yet know and must long postpone the discovery of why this memory made me so happy) -- Marcel Proust
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"Why did you not forget your heart also? I should never have let you have that back." ... -- Marcel Proust
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What artists call posterity is the posterity of the work of art. -- Marcel Proust
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For every sin there is forgiveness, and especially for the sins of youth. -- Marcel Proust
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According to a charming law of nature which is evident even in the most sophisticated societies, we live in complete ignorance of whatever we love. -- Marcel Proust
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The horror that grand people have for the snobs who strive so hard to make their acquaintance is also felt by masculine men for inverts, and by women for every man who is too much in love with them. -- Marcel Proust
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A general is like a writer who wants to write a play, or a book, but whom the book itself, with the unexpected options that it reveals at one point, the impasse it presents at another, causes to deviate extensively from his preconceived plan. -- Marcel Proust
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It was now so much a part of him, that it could not have been torn from him without destroying him almost entirely: as they say in surgery, his love was no longer operable. -- Marcel Proust
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Like an inspired and prolific poet, who never refuses to spread beauty to the humblest places, which until now did not seem to share the domain of art, the sun still warmed the bountiful energy of the dung heap, of the unevenly paved yard, and of the pear tree worn down like an old serving maid. -- Marcel Proust
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Do not wait for life. Do not long for it. Be aware, always and at every moment, that the miracle is in the here and now. -- Marcel Proust
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... the warm glazes, the sparkling penumbra of the room itself and, through the little window framed with honeysuckle, in the rustic avenue, the resilient dryness of the sun-parched earth, veiled only by the diaphanous gauze woven of distance and the shade of the trees. -- Marcel Proust
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The interval of space separating her from him was one which he must as inevitably traverse as he must descend, by an irresistible gravitation, the steep slope of life itself. -- Marcel Proust
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Putting her trust in God, she displayed the same optimistic excitement on the eve of a garden party or on the eve of a revolution, whereby her hasty gestures seemed to exorcise radicalism or inclement weather. -- Marcel Proust
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She was not yet dead. But I was already alone. -- Marcel Proust
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Under each station of the real, another glimmers. -- Marcel Proust
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Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the powers of the mind. -- Marcel Proust
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Then it would begin to seem unintelligible, as the thoughts of a former existence must be to a reincarnate spirit -- Marcel Proust
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An excellent but an eccentric man in whom the least little thing would, it seemed, often check the flow of his spirits and divert the current of his thoughts. -- Marcel Proust
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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
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To determine not to think of it was but to think of it still, to suffer from it still. -- Marcel Proust
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Only that issues from ourselves which we ourselves extract from the darkness within ourselves and which is unknown to others. -- Marcel Proust
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I felt that I did not really remember her except through the pain, and I longed for the nails that riveted her to my consciousness to be driven yet deeper. -- Marcel Proust
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As profession recognizes profession, so, too, does vice. -- Marcel Proust
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For theories and schools, like microbes and corpuscles, devour one another and by their strife ensure the continuity of life. -- Marcel Proust
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And then, gradually, the memory of her would fade away, I had forgotten the girl of my dream. -- Marcel Proust
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And as each new character is merely a metamorphosis from something older, in these little grey balls I recognised green buds plucked before their time; but beyond all else the rosy, moony, tender glow which -- Marcel Proust
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Jean would be conscious of a curious feeling that he was living simultaneously in the immediate presence of a particular day and in other similar days of long ago. -- Marcel Proust
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Who cannot recall, as I can, the reading they did in the holidays, which one would conceal successively in all those hours of the day peaceful and inviolable enough to be able to afford it refuge? -- Marcel Proust
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There is in woman something of the unconscious function of drugs which are cunning without knowing it, like morphine. -- Marcel Proust
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For instinct dictates our duty and the intellect supplies us with pretexts for evading it. -- Marcel Proust
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The hope of being relieved gives him the courage to suffer. -- Marcel Proust
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Her initial need to confide in someone arose from the first disappointments of her sensuality, emerging as naturally as the first satisfactions of love normally emerge. She had not as yet known love. A short time later she suffered from it, which is the only manner in which we get to know it. -- Marcel Proust
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It was true that Odette played vilely, but often the most memorable impression of a piece of music is one that has arisen out of a jumble of wrong notes struck by unskilful fingers upon a tuneless piano. -- Marcel Proust
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An impression of love is out of proportion to the other impressions of life, but when it is lost in their midst we are incapable of appreciating it. -- Marcel Proust
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Dinner-parties bore us because our imagination is absent, and reading interests us because it is keeping us company. -- Marcel Proust
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The one thing more difficult than following a regimen is not imposing it on others. -- Marcel Proust
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But when one believes in the reality of things, making them visible by artificial means is not quite the same as feeling that they are close at hand. -- Marcel Proust
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I would be astonished to find myself in a state of darkness, pleasant and restful enough for the eyes, and even more, perhaps, for my mind, to which it appeared incomprehensible, without a cause, a matter dark indeed. -- Marcel Proust
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The beauty of images lies behind things, the beauty of ideas in front of them. -- Marcel Proust
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Instead of seeking new landscapes, develop new eyes. -- Marcel Proust
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Rejoicing in a peace which brings only an increase of anxiety, ... -- Marcel Proust
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But sometimes illumination comes to our rescue at the very moment when all seems lost; we have knocked at every door and they open on nothing until, at last, we stumble unconsciously against the only one through which we can enter the kingdom we have sought in vain a hundred years - and it opens. -- Marcel Proust
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Love is an incurable malady like those pathetic states in which rheumatism affords the sufferer a brief respite only to be replaced by epileptiform headaches. -- Marcel Proust
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Nobility is often no more than the inner aspect which our egotistical feelings assume when we have not yet named and classified them. -- Marcel Proust
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The reason why a work of genius is not easily admired from the first is that the man who has created it is extraordinary, that few other men resemble him. It is his work itself that, by fertilising the rare minds capable of understanding it, will make them increase and multiply. -- Marcel Proust
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I concluded all the same from this first evening that his [Morel's] must be a vile nature, that he would not shrink from any act of servility if the need arose, and was incapable of gratitude. In which he resembled the majority of mankind. -- Marcel Proust
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The only thing that does not change is that at any and every time it appears that there have been great changes. -- Marcel Proust
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Like many intellectuals, he was incapable of saying a simple thing in a simple way -- Marcel Proust
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For in order to really suffer at the hands of a woman one must have believed in her completely. -- Marcel Proust
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As soon as one is unhappy one becomes moral. -- Marcel Proust
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The time which we have at our disposal every day is elastic; the passions that we feel expand it, those that we inspire contract it; and habit fills up what remains. -- Marcel Proust
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Wars are fought for the benefit of oligarchs, triumphs bought with the blood of peons. -- Marcel Proust
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We are not provided with wisdom, we must discover it for ourselves, after a journey through the wilderness which no one else can take for us, an effort which no one can spare us, for our wisdom is the point of view from which we come at last to regard the world. -- Marcel Proust
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There is no need, in order to explain three-quarters of the opinions held about people, to go so far as a love that has been spurned or an exclusion from political power. Our judgment remains unsure: an invitation refused or received determines it. -- Marcel Proust
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Presently, one after another, like shyly hopping sparrows, her friends arrived, black against the snow. -- Marcel Proust
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But it is always easy to put together stories about a past which nobody any longer remembers, like those about journeys to countries where nobody has ever been. -- Marcel Proust
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The only true voyage would be not to travel through a hundred different lands, but to see the same land through a hundred different pairs of eyes. -- Marcel Proust
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The kiss, the bodily surrender which would seem natural and but moderately attractive ... -- Marcel Proust
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It is not only by dint of lying to others, but also of lying to ourselves, that we cease to notice that we are lying. -- Marcel Proust
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Quite half of the human race was in tears. -- Marcel Proust
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And so it is with things that we shall later love the most. We meet them first as strangers who give us only a feeling of surprise. -- Marcel Proust
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I have friends wherever there are clusters of trees, stricken but not defeated, which have come together with touching perseverance to offer a common supplication to an inclement sky which has no mercy upon them. -- Marcel Proust
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Our shadows, now parallel, now close together and joined, traced an exquisite pattern at our feet. -- Marcel Proust
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As to the pretty girls who went past, from the day on which I had first known that their cheeks could be kissed, I had become curious about their souls. And the Universe had appeared to me more interesting. -- Marcel Proust
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He [Bloch] was one of those touchy, highly-strung people who cannot bear to have made a blunder, will not admit it to themselves, and whose whole day is ruined by it. -- Marcel Proust
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All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last. -- Marcel Proust
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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 thespirit 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
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She had uttered these words simply in order to provoke a reply in certain other words, which she seemed, indeed, to wish to hear spoken, but, from prudence, would let her friend be the first to speak. -- Marcel Proust
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Love is space and time measured by the heart. -- Marcel Proust
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Ideas are substitutes for sorrows... -- Marcel Proust
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My aching heart was soothed; I let myself be borne upon the current of this gentle night ... -- Marcel Proust
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When from a long distant past nothing subsists after the things are
broken and scattered, the smell and taste of things remain. -- Marcel Proust
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Love ... , ever unsatisfied, lives always in the moment that is about to come. -- Marcel Proust
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Her face was plastered with layers of powder and looked like a face of stone. And with her noble profile, she seemed, on the triangular, moss-covered pedestal hidden by her cape, like a crumbling goddess in a park. -- Marcel Proust
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And so her parents-in-law, whom she still regarded as the most eminent people in France, declared that she was an angel; all the more so because they preferred to appear, in marrying their son to her, to have yielded to the attraction rather of her natural charm than of her considerable fortune. -- Marcel Proust
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A writer must not take offence when inverts give his heroines masculine faces. -- Marcel Proust
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Habit! that skilful but slow-moving arranger who begins by letting our minds suffer for weeks on end in temporary quarters, but whom our minds are none the less only too happy to discover at last, for without it, reduced to their own devices, they would be powerless to make any room seem habitable. -- Marcel Proust
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A doctor who doesn't say too many foolish things is a patient half-cured. -- Marcel Proust
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A work should convey its entire meaning by itself, imposing it on the spectator even before he knows what the subject is. -- Marcel Proust
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We can only be faithful to what we remember, and we remember only what we have known. -- Marcel Proust
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We have such numerous interests in our lives that it is not uncommon, on a single occasion, for the foundations of a happiness that does not yet exist to be laid down alongside the intensification of a grief from which we are still suffering. -- Marcel Proust
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It is our noticing them that puts things in a room, our growing used to them that takes them away again and clears a space for us. -- Marcel Proust
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She was "a woman of uncertain age. -- Marcel Proust
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Things don't change, but by and by our wishes change. -- Marcel Proust
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Most of the supposed expressions of our feelings merely relieve us of them by drawing them out of us in an indistinct form that does not teach us to know them. -- Marcel Proust
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Love is not vain because it is frustrated, but because it is fulfilled. The people we love turn to ashes when we posess them. -- Marcel Proust
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Like an entirely cloudless sky when one is going mountaineering ... -- Marcel Proust
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Homosexuals would be the best husbands in the world if they did not put on an act of loving other women. -- Marcel Proust
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... with a quiet suggestion of infinity... -- Marcel Proust
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that indifference to the sufferings which they cause which, whatever names else be given it, is the one true, terrible and lasting form of cruelty. If -- Marcel Proust
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So beautiful that he could not refrain from moving his lips towards her ... -- Marcel Proust
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To see how pretty an old woman once was, it is not enough just to look at each feature; they must be translated. -- Marcel Proust
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Gardeners produce flowers that are delicious dreams, and others too that are like nightmares. -- Marcel Proust
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As with the future, it is not all at once but grain by grain that one savours the past. -- Marcel Proust
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Everything great in the world comes from neurotics. They alone have founded our religions and composed our masterpieces. -- Marcel Proust
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I experienced, suddenly, that special pleasure, which bore no resemblance to any other ... -- Marcel Proust
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Whose inferiority proclaimed her own supremacy so loud ... -- Marcel Proust
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She would make me tell her, too, all about the poems that I meant to compose. And these dreams reminded me that, since I wished, some day, to become a writer, it was high time to decide what sort of books I was going to write. -- Marcel Proust
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Mamma was the first person who had given her the pleasure of feeling that her peasant existence, with its simple joys and sorrows, might offer some interest, might be a source of grief or pleasure to some one other than herself. My -- Marcel Proust
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A woman whom we love seldom satisfies all our needs, and we deceive her with a woman we do not love. -- Marcel Proust
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They locked gazes, showing their souls on the edge of their pupils, their melancholy and passionate souls, which death was unable to unite. -- Marcel Proust
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We reason, that is, our mind wanders, each time our courage fails to force us to pursue an intuition through all the successive stages which end in its fixation, in the expression of its own reality. -- Marcel Proust
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Lies are essential to humanity. -- Marcel Proust
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That form of the instinct of self-preservation with which we guard everything that is best in ourselves ... -- Marcel Proust
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When you work to please others you can't succeed, but the things you do to satisfy yourself stand a chance of catching someone's interest. -- Marcel Proust
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Adultery breathes new life into marriages which have been left for dead. -- Marcel Proust
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What most enraptured me were the asparagus. -- Marcel Proust
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Three-quarters of the expenditure of wit and the lies told out of vanity that have been squandered since the world began by people who in doing so merely diminish themselves have been squandered on inferiors. -- Marcel Proust
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he loved sincerity, but only as he might love a pimp who could keep him in touch with the daily life of his mistress. -- Marcel Proust
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There is no one, no matter how wise he is, who has not in his youth said
things or done things that are so unpleasant to recall in later life that
he would expunge them entirely from his memory if that were possible. -- Marcel Proust
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I spent many a charming evening talking and playing with Albertine, but none so sweet as when I was watching her sleep. -- Marcel Proust
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The great quality of true art is that it rediscovers, grasps and reveals to us that reality far from where we live, from which we get farther and farther away as the conventional knowledge we substitute for it becomes thicker and more impermeable. -- Marcel Proust
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The time at our disposal each day is elastic; the passions we feel dilate it, those that inspire us shrink it, and habit fills it. -- Marcel Proust
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Men may thus have several sorts of pleasures. The true pleasure is that for which they give up another. -- Marcel Proust
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The truth is that men can have several sorts of pleasure. The true pleasure is the one for which they abandon the other. -- Marcel Proust
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Each artist seems thus to be the native of an unknown country, which he himself has forgotten, different from that from which will emerge, making for the earth, another great artist. -- Marcel Proust
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The social world being the realm of nullity, there exist between the merits of women in society only insignificant degrees, -- Marcel Proust
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My mother had to abandon her quest, but managed to extract from the restriction itself a further delicate thought, like good poets whom the tyranny of rhyme forces into the discovery of their finest lines. -- Marcel Proust
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Let us leave pretty women to men devoid of imagination. -- Marcel Proust
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Our words are, as a general rule, filled by the people to whom we address them with a meaning which those people derive from their own substance, a meaning widely different from that which we had put into the same words when we uttered them. -- Marcel Proust
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Monsieur Beulier never engaged in thought except to speak the truth, and never spoke except to express his thought. -- Marcel Proust
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Habit is a second nature which prevents us from knowing the first, of which it has neither the cruelties nor the enchantments. -- Marcel Proust
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It is a mistake to speak of a bad choice in love, since as soon as there is a choice it can only be a bad one. -- Marcel Proust
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Our desires cut across one another, and in this confused existence it is rare for happiness to coincide with the desire that clamoured for it. -- Marcel Proust
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Altogether, I had derived little benefit from being in Balbec, for which reason I was all the more determined to come back one day. I felt I had spent too short a time there. -- Marcel Proust
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The breath of the enchanted wind mingles the fresh scent of the lilacs with the fragrance of the past. -- Marcel Proust
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We do not include the pleasures we enjoy in sleep in the inventory of the pleasures we have experienced in the course of our existence. -- Marcel Proust
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Lies are essential to humanity. They are perhaps as important as the pursuit of pleasure and moreover are dictated by that pursuit. -- Marcel Proust
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We know from our own shortcomings, towards other people, how little an oath is worth. And we have deliberately believed them when they came from her, the very person to whose interest it has always been to lie to us, and whom, moreover, we did not select for her virtues. -- Marcel Proust
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The theatre of the world is stocked with fewer settings than actors, and with fewer actors than situations. -- Marcel Proust
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... it would even be inexact to say that I thought of those who read it as readers of my book. Because they were not, as I saw it, my readers. More exactly they were readers of themselves, my book being a sort of magnifying glass ... by which I could give them the means to read within themselves. -- Marcel Proust
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I felt less unhappy than usual because her melancholy expression, the way the vivid colour of her dress almost cut her off from the rest of the world, made her seem somehow lonely and unhappy, and I found this reassuring. -- Marcel Proust
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Hence one meets in polite society few novelists, or poets, few of all those sublime creatures who speak of the things that are not to be mentioned. -- Marcel Proust
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Once we have reached a certain degree of enfeeblement, whether caused by age or by ill health, all pleasure taken at the expense of sleep, every disturbance of routine, becomes a nuisance. -- Marcel Proust
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As soon as jealousy is discovered, it is regarded by the person who is its object as a challenge which justifies deception. -- Marcel Proust
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