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Top 500 Marcel Proust Quotes
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Marcel Proust Quote: “The social leaders who refuse to allow politics into society are as foreseeing as the soldiers who refuse to allow politics to permeate the army. Society is like the sexual appetite; one does not know at what forms of perversion it may not arrive, once we have allowed our choice to be dictated by aesthetic considerations.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “Part of the beauty – and it is the original flaw in this type of literature, from which the famous Lundis are not exempt – lies in the impression made on the readers. It is a collective Venus, of which we have but one truncated limb if we confine ourselves to the thought of the author, for it is fully realised only in the minds of his readers. In them it finds completion.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “In my most desperate moments, I have never conceived of anything more horrible than a law office.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “There is in woman something of the unconscious function of drugs which are cunning without knowing it, like morphine.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “But when his mistress for the time being was a woman in society, or at least one whose birth was not so lowly, nor her position is so irregular that he was unable to arrange for her reception in ‘society,’ then for her sake he would return to it, but only to the particular orbit in which she moved or into which he had drawn her.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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 Quote: “The most familiar precepts are not always the truest.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “After the suicide of my thoughts, they admired my intelligence; they doted on my mind. My parched imagination, my dried-up sensitivity were enough for the people who were the thirstiest for an intellectual life – their thirst being as artificial and mendacious as the source from which they believed they were quenching it!”
Marcel Proust Quote: “Wars are fought for the benefit of oligarchs, triumphs bought with the blood of peons.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “Were it not for habit, life would seem delightful to beings constantly under threat of dying, in other words to all humankind.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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 Quote: “My only consolation when I am really sad is to love and to be loved.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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 Quote: “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 Quote: “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 Quote: “Now, in one of those utterly physical moments, when the soul takes a backseat to the digesting stomach, the skin enjoying a recent ablution and some fine linen, the mouth smoking, the eyes reveling in bare shoulders and bright lights, he repeated his prayer more indolently, doubting a miracle that would upset the psychological law of his fickleness, which was as impossible to flout as the physical laws of weight or death.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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 Quote: “And often, when the cold government of reason stood unchallenged, he would readily have ceased to sacrifice so many of his intellectual and social interests to this imaginary pleasure.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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 Quote: “It was impossible for me to thank my father; what he called my sentimentality would have exasperated him.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “To such beings, such fugitive beings, their own nature and our anxiety fasten wings. And even when they are with us the look in their eyes seems to warn us that they are about to take flight. The proof of this beauty itself, that wings add is that often, for us, the same person is alternately winged and wingless.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “He stood gazing at her; traces of the old fresco were apparent in her face and limbs, and these he tried incessantly, afterwards, to recapture, both when he was with Odette, and when he was only thinking of her in her absence; and, albeit his admiration for the Florentine masterpiece was probably based upon his discovery that it had been reproduced in her, the similarity enhanced her beauty also, and rendered her more precious in his sight.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “Like a swimmer who throws himself into the water in order to learn, but chooses a moment when there are not too many people to see him.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “As soon as jealousy is discovered, it is regarded by the person who is its object as a challenge which justifies deception.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “Perhaps she would not have thought of wickedness as a state so rare, so abnormal, so exotic, one which it was so refreshing to visit, had she been able to distinguish in herself, as in all her fellow-men and women, 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.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “Dreams are not to be converted into reality, that we know; we would not form any, perhaps, were it not for desire, and it is useful to us to form them in order to see them fail and to be instructed by their failure.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “I was not one man only but the steady advance hour after hour of an army in close formation, in which there appeared, according to the moment, impassioned men, indifferent men, jealous men.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “That which we remember of our conduct is ignored by our closest neighbour; but that which we have forgotten having said, or even what we never said, will cause laughter even into the next world.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “Unlike the earth, the sea is not separated from the sky; it always harmonizes with the colors of the sky and it is deeply stirred by its most delicate nuances. The sea radiates under the sun and seems to die with it every evening. And when the sun has vanished, the sea keeps longing for it, keeps preserving a bit of its luminous reminiscence in the face of the uniformly somber earth.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “When Jean and his mother left Etreuilles, Monsieur Sureau had gathered for them great boxfuls of hawthorn and of snowballs which Madame Santeuil had not the courage to refuse. But, as soon as Jean’s uncle had gone home, she threw them away, saying that they already had more than enough in the way of luggage. And then Jean cried because he had been separated from the darling creatures which he would have liked to take with him to Paris, and because of his mother’s naughtiness.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “And so when studying faces, we do indeed measure them, but as painters, not as surveyors.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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 Quote: “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 Quote: “Because happiness alone is good for the body; whereas sorrow develops the strength of the mind.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “When the successive hours of our life are thus displayed against too widely dissimilar backgrounds, we find that we give away too much of ourselves to all sorts of people who next day will not interest us in the least.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “No doubt, having developed the habit, out of idleness, of each day putting off my work until the day after, I thought that death could be dealt with in the same way.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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 Quote: “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 Quote: “We accept so many commitments in regard to life that a time comes when, despairing of ever managing to fulfill them all, we face the graves, we call upon death, “death, which brings help to destinies that have trouble coming true.” But while death may exempt us from commitments we have made in regard to life, it cannot exempt us from our commitments to ourselves, especially the most important one: namely, the commitment to live in order to be worthy and deserving.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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 Quote: “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 Quote: “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 Quote: “You’re as strong as the Pont Neuf. You’ll live to bury us all!”
Marcel Proust Quote: “To determine not to think of it was but to think of it still, to suffer from it still.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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 Quote: “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 Quote: “What we feel is the only thing that exists for us, and we project it into the past, into the future, without letting ourselves be stopped by the fictitious barriers of death.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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 Quote: “We see things but we don’t see them, like things that slid through the mind, one flowing into another.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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.”
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