Out of the fresh little green hearts of their foliage the lilacs raised inquisitively over the fence of the park their plumes of white or purple blossom, which glowed, even in the shade, with the sunlight in which they had been bathed.

Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust

Profession: Author
Nationality: French

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For at that time everything which was not myself, the earth and the creatures upon it, seemed to me more precious, more important, endowed with a more real existence than they appear to full-grown men.

The charms of the passing woman are generally in direct proportion to the swiftness of her passing.

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.

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).

When she called to mind all this utter and crushing misery that had come upon my aunts' old music-master, she was moved to very real grief, and shuddered to think of that other grief, so different in its bitterness, which Mlle. Vinteuil must now be feeling, tinged with remorse at having virtually killed her father.

I feel infinite sadness at seeing how few people are genuinely kind.

It is not because other people are dead that our affection for them grows faint, it is because we ourselves are dying.

It was in the defects that they [servants] invariably acquired that I learned of my own natural, invariable defects, and their character presented me with a sort of negative proof of my own.

Unfortunately my parents had recourse to principles entirely different from those which I suggested they should adopt.

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

The bonds that unite another person to our self exist only in our mind.

He was like a man into whose life a woman, whom he has seen for a moment passing by, has brought a new form of beauty, which strengthens and enlarges his own power of perception, without his knowing even whether he is ever to see her again whom he loves already, although he knows nothing of her, not even her name.

The thought of being made comfortable gives him strength to endure his pain.

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.