Marcel Proust Quotes  

Marcel Proust (pronounced Prewst) was a French author of the early 20th century. He's most famous for a very long book (2200 pages) entitled, REMEMBRANCE OF THINGS PAST. The book isn't easy to read. Proust delighted in long sentences that looped and folded back on themselves. Yet the book is full of magical insights into human nature and the human condition; passages that jump out at you, and beg you to pay attention to them. I read REMEMBRANCE in 1977, and culled at least a hundred insightful quotations from it. I'm going to share seven of those quotes with you today. I hope some of them resonate with you.

In many moments of our life, we would barter the whole of our future
for a power that is, in itself, insignificant."

Some people, either from lack of energy
or else from a resigned sense of the obligation laid upon them
by their social grandeur,
remain moored like houseboats to a certain point
on the bank of the stream of life,
and they abstain from the pleasures
which are offered to them
above and below that point, that degree in life
in which they will remain fixed
until the day of their death."


"It is the terrible deception of love
that it begins by engaging us in play,
not with a woman of the external world,
but with a puppet
fashioned and kept in our brain,
the only form of her,
moreover, that we have always at our disposal,
the only one that we shall ever possess,
an artificial creation to which, by degrees,
and to our own hurt,
we shall force the real woman into resemblance."

"An hour is not merely an hour.
It is a vase filled with perfumes,
sounds, plans, and climates.
What we call reality
is a certain relationship between these sensations
and the memories which surround us at the time."

Anything we have not had to decipher and clarify
by our own personal experience,
anything that was clear before we intervened,
is not our own.
Nothing comes from ourselves
but that which we draw out of the obscurity within us,
and which is unknown to others."

"We can never be certain
that the good fortune which comes to us too late,
is altogether the same as that good fortune,
the want of which made us, at one time, so unhappy.
There is only one person who could decide that --
our ego of those days.
He is no longer with us,
and were he to reappear,
no doubt that would be quite enough
to make our good fortune --
whether identical or not -- vanish."

"I can think of nothing that can so effectively as a kiss,
evoke from what we believe to be a thing with one definite aspect,
the hundred other things which it may equally well be,
since each is related to a view of it no less legitimate."