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

Marcel Proust

Profession: Author
Nationality: French

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In reality every reader is, while he is reading, the reader of his own self. The writer's work is merely a kind of optical instrument which he offers to the reader to enable him to discern what, without this book, he would perhaps never have perceived in himself.

It is often simply from lack of creative imagination that we do not go far enough in suffering.

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.

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.

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.

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.

An excellent man, with whom I am sorry now that I did not converse more often, for, even if he cared nothing for the arts, he knew a great many etymologies.

There is an inanimate object which has a capacity to exasperate which no human being will ever attain: a piano.

I might go alone as far as the porch of Saint-André-des-Champs: never did I find there the girl whom I should inevitably have met, had I been with my grandfather, and so unable to engage her in conversation.

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.

My only consolation when I am really sad is to love and to be loved.

Happiness serves hardly any other purpose than to make unhappiness possible.

Imagination, thought, may be admirable mechanisms but they can also be inert. Suffering alone sets them going.

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.