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Top 500 Marcel Proust Quotes (2023 Update)
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Marcel Proust Quote: “The flowers which played then among the grass, the water which rippled past in the sunshine, the whole landscape which served as environment to their apparition lingers around the memory of them still with its unconscious or unheeding air;...”
Marcel Proust Quote: “An impression is for the writer what an experiment is for the scientist, except that for the scientist the work of the intelligence precedes it, and for the writer it comes afterwards.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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 Quote: “Now, since the self is constantly thinking numerous things, since it is nothing more than the thoughts of these things, when by chance, instead of having them as the objects of its attention, it suddenly turns its thoughts upon itself, it finds only an empty apparatus, something unfamiliar, to which, in order to give it some reality – it adds the memory of a face seen in a mirror.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “I fatti non penetrano nel mondo in cui vivono le nostre convinzioni, non le hanno create e non possono distruggerle. Possono infliggere loro continue smentite senza appannarle.”
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: “As with the future, it is not all at once but grain by grain that one savours the past.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “A little tap on the window pane, as though something had struck it, followed by a plentiful light falling sound, as of grains of sand being sprinkled from a window overhead, gradually spreading, intensifying, acquiring a regular rhythm, becoming fluid, sonorous, musical, immeasurable, universal: it was the rain.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “A work in which there are theories is like an object upon which the price is marked.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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 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: “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 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: “Knowing a thing does not always mean preventing a thing, but at least the things we know, we hold, if not in our hands, at least in our minds where we can arrange them as we like, which gives us the illusion of a sort of power over them.”
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: “If we press for a definition of what their admirers mean by the epithet, we shall find that it is generally applied to some unusual picture of a familiar object, a picture different from those that we are accustomed to see, unusual and yet true to nature, and for that reason doubly impressive to us because it startles us, makes us emerge from our habits and at the same time brings us back to ourselves by recalling to us an earlier impression.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “Desiring a will was not enough. I would have needed precisely what I could not have without willpower: a will.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “Of these multiple impressions our memory is not capable of furnishing us with an immediate picture. But that picture gradually takes shape, and, with regard to works which we have heard more than once, we are like the schoolboy who has read several times over before going to sleep a lesson which he supposed himself not to know, and finds that he can repeat it by heart next morning.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “Life is like that little sweetheart. We dream it and we love it in dreaming it. We should not try to live it: otherwise, like that little boy, we will plunge into stupidity, though not at one swoop, for in life everything degenerates by imperceptible nuances. At the end of ten years we no longer recognize our dreams; we deny them, we live, like a cow, for the grass we are grazing on at the moment. And who knows if our wedding with death might not lead to our conscious immortality?”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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 Quote: “I spent many a charming evening talking and playing with Albertine, but none so sweet as when I was watching her sleep.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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 Quote: “A well-read man will yawn with boredom when one speaks to him of a new “good book,” as he imagines a sort of composite of all the good books he has read, whereas a good book is something special, unforeseeable, made up not of the sum of all previous masterpieces but of something which the most thorough assimilation of every one of them would not enable him to discover, since it exists not in their sum but beyond it.”
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: “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: “She tried to persuade them to confine their tributes to flowers and sweets, which had at least the merit of mortality; but she was never successful, and the house was gradually filled with a collection of foot-warmers, cushions, clocks, screens, barometers and vases, a constant repetition and a boundless incongruity of useless but indestructible objects.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “Saddened by the misfortune of the Jews, remembering his friendship with Christians, increasingly mannered and affected as time went on for reasons to be revealed in due course, he now looked like a pre-Raphaelite worm on to which hairs had been indecently grafted, like threads in the depths of an opal.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “The past not merely is not fugitive, it remains present.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “For the possession of what we love is an even greater joy than love itself.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “Our cruellest adversaries are not those who contradict and try to convince us, but those who exaggerate or invent things that are liable to distress us, taking care not to present them in a justifiable light, which would diminish our distress and perhaps lead us to entertain some slight respect for an attitude they are anxious to display to us, to complete our torment, as being both hideous and unassailable.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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 Quote: “I did not wait to hear the end of my father’s story, for I had been with him myself after mass when we had met M. Legrandin; instead, I went downstairs to the kitchen to ask about the menu for our dinner, which was of fresh interest to me daily, like the news in a paper, and excited me as might the programme of a coming festivity.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “You’re as strong as the Pont Neuf. You’ll live to bury us all!”
Marcel Proust Quote: “The disgust of distinguished people for snobs who want to force themselves upon them, the virile man has for the invert, the woman for every man who is too much in love with her.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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. But as soon as I asked myself the question, and tried to discover some subject to which I could impart a philosophical significance of infinite value, my mind would stop like a clock, my consciousness would be faced with a blank, I would feel either that I was wholly devoid of talent or perhaps that some malady of the brain was hindering its development.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “He had so long since ceased to direct his life toward any ideal goal, and had confined himself to the pursuit of quotidian satisfactions, that he had come to believe, though without ever formally stating his belief even to himself that he would remain all his life in that condition, which only death could alter.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “The habit of thinking prevents us at times from experiencing reality, immunises us against it, makes it seem no more than any other thought.”
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.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “But in compensation for what our imagination leaves us wanting and we give ourselves so much unnecessary trouble in trying to find, life does give us something which we were very far from imagining.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “Even when she had to make some one a present of the kind called ‘useful,’ when she had to give an armchair or some table-silver or a walking-stick, she would choose ‘antiques,’ as though their long desuetude had effaced from them any semblance of utility and fitted them rather to instruct us in the lives of the men of other days than to serve the common requirements of our own.”
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: “And then, while she was making them some orangeade, suddenly, just as when the reflector of a lamp that is badly fitted begins by casting all round an object, on the wall beyond it, huge and fantastic shadows which, in time, contract and are lost in the shadow of the object itself, all the terrible and disturbing ideas which he had formed of Odette melted away and vanished in the charming creature who stood there before his eyes.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “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 Quote: “Repeatedly, I dare say, when pretty girls went by, I had promised myself that I would see them again. As a rule, people do not appear a second time; moreover our memory, which speedily forgets their existence, would find it difficult to recall their appearance; our eyes would not recognise them, perhaps, and in the meantime we have seen new girls go by, whom we shall not see again either.”
Marcel Proust Quote: “A man may have spent his life among the great ones of the earth, who to him have been merely boring relatives or tedious acquaintances because a familiarity engendered in the cradle had stripped them of all glamour in his eyes.”
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: “A child who has been breathing since birth without ever noticing it does not know how essential the unheeded air that gently swells his chest is to his life. Does he happen to be suffocating in a convulsion, a bout of fever? Desperately straining his entire being, he struggles almost for his life, for his lost tranquillity, which he will regain only with the air from which he did not realize his tranquillity was inseparable.”
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: “Yet a single sound, a single scent, already heard or breathed long ago, may once again, both in the present and the past, be real without being present, ideal without being abstract, as soon as the permanent and habitually hidden essence of things is liberated, and our true self, which may sometimes have seemed to be long dead, but never was entirely, is re-awoken and re-animated when it receives the heavenly food that is brought to it.”
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