Marcel Proust

Quotations

We are able to find everything in our memory, which is like a dispensary or chemical laboratory in which chance steers our hand sometimes to a soothing drug and sometimes to a dangerous poison.

"The Captive," vol. 10, pt. 2, ch. 3, Remembrance of Things Past (1923), trans. by Ronald and Colette Cortie (1988).

The regularity of a habit is generally in proportion to its absurdity.

"The Captive," vol. 9, pt. 1, ch. 1, Remembrance of Things Past (1922, trans. 1929).

Time passes, and little by little everything that we have spoken in falsehood becomes true.

"The Fugitive," vol. 3, Remembrance of Things Past (1925), trans. by Terence Kilmartin (1981).

We say that the hour of death cannot be forecast, but when we say this we imagine that hour as placed in an obscure and distant future. It never occurs to us that it has any connection with the day already begun or that death could arrive this same afternoon, this afternoon which is so certain and which has every hour filled in advance.

"The Guermantes Way," vol. 6, pt. 2, ch. 1, Remembrance of Things Past (1921).

Everything great in the world comes from neurotics. They alone have founded our religions and composed our masterpieces.

"The Guermantes Way," pt. 1, Remembrance of Things Past, vol. 5 (1921), trans. by Scott Moncrieff (1925).

A change in the weather is sufficient to recreate the world and ourselves.

"The Guermantes Way," pt. 2, ch. 2, Remembrance of Things Past, vol. 6 (1921), cit. By Ronald and Colette Cortie (1988).

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.

I blame the newspapers because every day they call our attention to insignificant things, while three or four times in our lives, we read books that contain essential things. Once we feverishly tear the band of paper enclosing our newspapers, things should change and we should find—I do not know—the Pensées by Pascal!

Nouvelle Revue Française (1913)

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.

"Swann

In a separation it is the one who is not really in love who says the more tender things.

"The Captive," vol. 10, pt. 2, ch. 3, Remembrance of Things Past (1923), trans. by Ronald Cortie and Colette Cortie (1988).

What a profound significance small things assume when the woman we love conceals them from us.

"The Captive," pt. 1, ch. 1, Remembrance of Things Past, vol. 9 (1923) trans. by Ronald and Colette Cortie (1988).

That translucent alabaster of our memories.

"The Captive," pt. 2, ch. 2, Remembrance of Things Past, vol. 10 (1923), trans. by Scott Moncrieff (1929).

No exile at the South Pole or on the summit of Mont Blanc separates us more effectively from others than the practice of a hidden vice.

"The Captive," vol. 10, pt. 2, ch. 2, Remembrance of Things Past (1922), trans. by Scott Monkrieff (1929).