Marcel Proust Facts and Quotes by zevi3


Biographical information on the great writer, Marcel Proust, along with quotes and excerpts from his work.

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									Marcel Proust Facts and Quotes
by Jason Earls, Heartless Bastard In Ecstasy & How to Become a Guitar Player from Hell

Marcel Proust was born a naturally talented writer. In my opinion, there are two types of writers in this world: those born with an innate talent for writing already present; and those who must work extremely hard to attain whatever writing skills they eventually possess. Marcel Proust, William Shakespeare, Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Thomas Pynchon, William Faulkner, James Joyce, Charles Dickens, Vladimir Nabakov, Herman Melville, Samuel Beckett – I believe these authors were all naturally gifted writers, born to be exceptional authors; while on the other hand, Ernest Hemingway, Gertrude Stein, William Burroughs, John Steinbeck, Dostoevsky, John Dos Passos, Bram Stoker, Knut Hamsun, J.D. Salinger – these individuals had to work very hard to turn themselves into great writers. (I would also wager that there are plenty of writers presently in the world who are “better” – whatever that may mean – than all of the writers listed above, but whom we have not yet heard of, and may possibly never hear of, because they won’t be lucky enough to get famous, or meet the right people to develop the proper social networks to land a major publisher, among other unknown factors...) One of my goals in life is to become a good writer. It will take plenty of work since I do not fall into the first category listed above. Also it will be difficult since writing well is extremely hard to do. Another goal of mine is to eventually develop my own prose style. In my books, Red Zen, How to Become a Guitar Player from Hell, Heartless Bast*rd In Ecstasy, and If (Sid Vicious == True && Alan_Turing == True) { ERROR_Cyberpunk(); } I experimented with different writing methods (some quite outlandish and provocative) with the hope of creating an entirely new prose style, (one particular invention was dubbed the “triumvirate of punctuation,” which was used extensively in the cyberpunk book mentioned above), but I doubt that any of them were actually successful enough to qualify as unique and effective prose styles. Returning to Marcel Proust, he created his own unique and highly evolved writing style with relative ease, since he was born a naturally gifted writer who had an innate “feel” for language. Proust went on to become a giant in literature with his monumental seven-part work, “À la recherche du temps perdu,” becoming a classic, which can be loosely translated as ‘In Search of Lost Time,’ but which is also known as ‘Remembrance of Things Past.’ Proust was born in Southern France in July of 1871, his full name being Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust. In his books, Proust wrote so well that the act of composing seems to have been as automatic and natural to him as blinking – words poured from his brain in rich and compelling variations that caused readers to feel the same emotions and witness the same images he described so well on the pages of his masterpiece(s). In addition to being a great writer and intellectual, Proust the man was also a highly eccentric individual. Although initially a socialite who impressed anyone he encountered with his excessive wit and extraordinary charm, toward the end of his life (after his parents passed away), Proust became a total recluse living in a specially made cork-lined apartment to eliminate all noise and distractions from his writing. Proust was a hypersensitive individual, uncomfortable with his homosexual tendencies, which he thoroughly repressed and which unfortunately caused him to develop a strong neurosis.

Enough about Marcel Proust the man. Below are a few quotes and excerpts from his work that will allow you to observe the unique beauty of his writing style, in addition to learning more about him as an artist and individual. “Love is space and time measured by the heart.” “Style has nothing to do with embellishment, as some people think; it’s not even a matter of technique. Like the color sense in some painters, it’s a quality of vision, the revelation of the particular universe that each of us sees and that no one else sees. The pleasure an artist offers us is to convey another universe to us.” –From a 1913 interview “And were they not noble and calm models of human beauty that I beheld there, in front of the sea, like statues exposed to the sunlight upon a Grecian shore? Just as if, in the heart of their band, which progressed along the shore walk like a luminous comet, they had decided that the surrounding crowd was composed of creatures of another race whose sufferings even could not awaken in them any sense of fellowship, they appeared not to see them, forced those who had stopped to talk to step aside, as though from the path of a machine that had been let loose and which you should not expect to avoid pedestrians, and if some old gentleman of whom they did not admit the existence and thrust from them the contact, had fled with a frightened, furious, headlong or ludicrous motion, they were even happier to look at one another laughing.” – À la recherche du temps perdu, 2nd volume. “We must never be afraid to go too far, for truth lies beyond.” “The places that we have known belong now only to the world of space on which we map them for greater convenience. They were only a thin slice in the middle of the contiguous impressions that composed our life at that time; the memory of a particular image is nothing but the regret for a particular moment; and houses, roads, avenues are fleeting, alas, as the years.” – Swann’s Way “I believe that reading, in its original essence, [is] that fruitful miracle of a communication in the midst of solitude.” “But they could not set eyes on an obstacle without amusing themselves by crossing it, either in a running jump or with both feet together, because they were all filled to the brim, exuberant with that youth which we need so urgently to spend that even when we are unhappy or unwell, obedient rather to the necessities of our age than to the mood of the day, we can never pass anything that can be jumped over or slid down without indulging ourselves conscientiously, interrupting, interspersing our slow progress—as Chopin his most melancholy phrase—with graceful deviations in which caprice is blended with virtuosity.” – À la recherche du temps perdu, 2nd volume. “Like many intellectuals, he was incapable of saying a simple thing in a simple way.” “I perceived that to express those impressions, to write that essential book, which is the only true one, a great writer does not, in the current meaning of the word, invent it, but, since it exists already in each one of us, interprets it. The duty and the task of a writer are those of an interpreter.” “Love is a reciprocal torture.” “The platform of the band-stand provided above him a natural and tempting springboard, across

which, without a moment’s hesitation, the eldest of the little band began to run; she jumped over the terrified old man, whose yachting cap was brushed by the nimble feet, to the great delight of the other girls, especially of a pair of green eyes in a doll-like face, which expressed for that act an admiration and a merriment in which I seemed to discern a trace of timidity, a shamefaced and blustering timidity which did not exist in the others. ‘Oh, the poor old man; he makes me sick; he looks half dead,’ said a girl with a croaking voice and with a half-ironic tone. They walked on a few steps, then stopped for a moment in the middle of the road, with no thought whether they were impeding the passage of other people, in a council, an aggregation of irregular shape, compact, unusual and shrill, like birds that gather on the ground at the moment of flight; then they resumed their leisurely stroll along the shore walk, above the sea.” – À la recherche du temps perdu, 2nd volume. “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.” “We are healed from suffering only by experiencing it to the full.” “Let us leave the beautiful women to men with no imagination.” “Many years had elapsed during which nothing of Combray, save what was comprised in the theatre and the drama of my going to bed there, had any existence for me, when one day in winter, as I came home, my mother, seeing that I was cold, offered me some tea, a thing I did not ordinarily take. I declined at first, and then, for no particular reason, changed my mind. She sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called ‘petites madeleines,’ which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim’s shell. And soon, mechanically, weary after a dull day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake. No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate, a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, but individual, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory – this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me, it was myself. I had ceased now to feel mediocre, accidental, mortal. Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy? I was conscious that it was connected with the taste of tea and cake, but that it infinitely transcended those savours, could not, indeed, be of the same nature as theirs. Whence did it come? What did it signify? How could I seize upon and define it?” –Remembrance of Things Past “Every reader finds himself. The writer’s work is merely a kind of optical instrument that makes it possible for the reader to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have seen in himself.” “All our final decisions are made in a state of mind that is not going to last.” “We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us.” Sources: Marcel Proust Bio, Books Factory, Wikipedia, Marcel Proust,

(Thanks for reading. If you know of any magazines that would like to publish this article, please contact the author. Also, you can help out the author by purchasing one of his books at or your favorite online book store.) Bio: Jason Earls is the author of Cocoon of Terror (Afterbirth Books), Heartless Bast*rd In Ecstasy, How to Become a Guitar Player from Hell, Red Zen, If(Sid_Vicious == TRUE && Alan_Turing == TRUE) {ERROR_Cyberpunk(); }, and 0.136101521283655... all available at and other online book stores. His fiction and mathematical work have been published in Red Scream, Yankee Pot Roast, M-Brane SF, Scientia Magna, three of Clifford Pickover’s books,, AlienSkin, Recreational and Educational Computing, Escaping Elsewhere, Neometropolis, Thirteen, Dogmatika, Prime Curios, the Online Encyclopedia of Integer Sequences, OG’s Speculative Fiction, Nocturnal Ooze, Bust Down the Door and Eat All the Chickens, and other publications. He currently resides in Oklahoma with his wife, Christine.

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