105 Marcel Proust Quotes from the French Novelist & Critic

Marcel Proust was born in Paris in 1871. He overcame chronic asthma and a disrupted education to become a celebrated novelist, essayist and critic, renowned for his magnum opus, À la recherche du temps perdu (In Search of Lost Time).

Despite serving in the army and studying law, Proust found his calling in literature, initially contributing to Symbolist magazines and publishing his first book, Les Plaisirs et les Jours, in 1896.

He also embarked on an unfinished novel, Jean Santeuil and spent several years translating and annotating the works of John Ruskin.


The death of Proust’s mother in 1905 had a profound impact on him, but he resumed writing, focusing on memory and guilt, foundational themes in his work.

His major novel, written over many years and incorporating numerous short stories, essays and articles, was published in parts from 1913 until after his death in 1922.

Known for his extended sentences, Proust‘s innovative writing style has had a lasting influence.

Related: Alice Walker Quotes from Famous Novelist and Albert Camus Quotes from Famous Novelist.

Below you will find the best quotes from Marcel Proust for you.

Best Marcel Proust Quotes


Love is space and time measured by the heart. ~ Marcel Proust.


One becomes moral as soon as one is unhappy. ~ Marcel Proust.


We are at times too ready to believe that the present is the only possible state of things. ~ Marcel Proust.


We must never be afraid to go too far, for truth lies beyond. ~ Marcel Proust.


The only paradise is paradise lost. ~ Marcel Proust.


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

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


Love is a striking example of how little reality means to us. ~ Marcel Proust.

For a long time I used to go to bed early. ~ Marcel Proust.

If a little dreaming is dangerous, the cure for it is not to dream less, but to dream more, to dream all the time. ~ Marcel Proust.

I felt myself still reliving a past which was no longer anything more than the history of another person. ~ Marcel Proust.


The true paradises are the paradises that we have lost. ~ Marcel Proust.

When a creature is so badly constituted (perhaps in nature that being is man) that he cannot love unless he suffers and that he must suffer to learn truth, the life of such a being becomes in the end very exhausting. ~ Marcel Proust.

The practice of solitude had given him a love for it, as happens with every big thing which we have begun by fearing. ~ Marcel Proust.

For there is in this world in which everything wears out, everything perishes, one thing that crumbles into dust, that destroys itself still more completely, leaving behind still fewer traces of itself than Beauty: namely Grief. ~ Marcel Proust.

Famous Marcel Proust Quotes

They reminded me that it was my fate to pursue only phantoms, creatures whose reality existed to a great extent in my imagination ~ Marcel Proust.


They sacrifice all the rest, devote all their efforts, make everything else subservient to the pursuit of some phantom. ~ Marcel Proust.

Our worst fears, like our greatest hopes, are not outside our powers, and we can come in the end to triumph over the former and to achieve the latter. ~ Marcel Proust.

We ought not to attach ourselves to beings, it is not beings who exist in reality and are amenable to description, but ideas. ~ Marcel Proust.

I thought nothing at all, but I felt an immense sadness, as when two parts of one’s past existence, which have been anchored near to one. ~ Marcel Proust.

An artist has no need to express his mind directly in his work for it to express the quality of that mind ~ Marcel Proust.


Nine tenths of the ills from which intelligent people suffer spring from their intellect. ~ Marcel Proust.

Perhaps the immobility of the things that surround us is forced upon them by our conviction that they are themselves, and not anything else, and by the immobility of our conceptions of them. ~ Marcel Proust.

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

Top Marcel Proust Quotes

We are healed from suffering only by experiencing it to the full. ~ Marcel Proust.

How can you expect Cottard to be able to treat you? He has made allowances for the difficulty of digesting sauces, for gastric trouble, but he has made no allowance for the effect of reading Shakespeare. ~ Marcel Proust.

How often is not the prospect of future happiness thus sacrificed to one’s impatient insistence upon an immediate gratification. ~ Marcel Proust.

Perhaps it is not-being that is the true state, and all our dream of life is inexistent. ~ Marcel Proust.

We shall perish, but we have as hostages these divine captives who will follow and share our fate. And death in their company is somehow less bitter, less inglorious, perhaps even less probable. ~ Marcel Proust.


Knowledge of the thing cannot impede it. ~ Marcel Proust.

Whenever she saw in others an advantage, however trivial, which she herself lacked, she would persuade herself that it was no advantage at all, but a drawback, and would pity so as not to have to envy them. ~ Marcel Proust.

Even from the simplest, the most realistic point of view, the countries which we long for occupy, at any given moment, a far larger place in our actual life than the country in which we happen to be. ~ Marcel Proust.

For what we suppose to be our love or our jealousy is never a single, continuous and indivisible passion. ~ Marcel Proust.

And then, gradually, the memory of her would fade away, I had forgotten the girl of my dream. ~ Marcel Proust.

Even the simple act which we describe as ‘seeing someone we know’ is, to some extent, an intellectual process. ~ Marcel Proust.

In my cowardice I became at once a man, and did what all we grown men do when face to face with suffering and injustice; I preferred not to see them. ~ Marcel Proust.

The past is hidden somewhere outside the realm, beyond the reach of intellect, in some material object (in the sensation which that material object will give us) which we do not suspect. ~ Marcel Proust.

Always try to keep a patch of sky above your life. ~ Marcel Proust.

Sadists of Mlle Vinteuil’s sort are creatures so purely sentimental, so naturally virtuous, that even sensual pleasure appears to them as something bad, the prerogative of the wicked. ~ Marcel Proust.


Everything we think of as great has come to us from neurotics. It is they and they alone who found religions and create great works of art. ~ Marcel Proust.

The world will never realize how much it owes to neurotics and what they have suffered in order to bestow their gifts on it. ~ Marcel Proust.

But should a sensation from the distant past-like those musical instruments that record and preserve the sound and style of the various artists who played them-enable our memory to make us hear that name with the particular tone it then had for our ears. ~ Marcel Proust.

In most women’s lives, everything, even the greatest sorrow, comes down to a question of ‘I haven’t got a thing to wear’. ~ Marcel Proust.

For, medicine being a compendium of the successive and contradictory mistakes of medical practitioners, when we summon the wisest of them to our aid, the chances are that we may be relying on a scientific truth the error of which will be recognized in a few years’ time. ~ Marcel Proust.


For the possession of what we love is an even greater joy than love itself. ~ Marcel Proust.

Ah, in those earliest days of love how naturally the kisses spring into life! ~ Marcel Proust.

Great Marcel Proust Quotes

With women who do not love us, as with the ‘dear departed,’ the knowledge that there is no hope left does not prevent us from continuing to wait. ~ Marcel Proust.

This malady which Swann’s love had become had so proliferated, was so closely interwoven with all his habits, with all his actions, with his thoughts, his health, his sleep, his life, even with what he hoped for after his death, was so utterly inseparable from him. ~ Marcel Proust.

A woman whom we love seldom satisfies all our needs, and we deceive her with a woman we do not love. ~ Marcel Proust.

Love, ever unsatisfied, lives always in the moment that is about to come. ~ Marcel Proust.

Among all the modes by which love is brought into being, among all the agents which disseminate that blessed bane, there are few so efficacious as this gust of feverish agitation that sweeps over us from time to time. ~ Marcel Proust.

For, just as in the beginning it is formed by desire, so afterwards love is kept in existence only by painful anxiety. ~ Marcel Proust.

Because happiness alone is good for the body; whereas sorrow develops the strength of the mind. ~ Marcel Proust.

To such beings, such fugitive beings, their own nature and our anxiety fasten wings. And even when they are with us the look in their eyes seems to warn us that they are about to take flight. ~ Marcel Proust.

We think and name in one world, we live and feel in another. ~ Marcel Proust.

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

What barrier is so insurmountable as silence? ~ Marcel Proust.

Powerful Marcel Proust Quotes

There are perhaps no days of our childhood we lived so fully as those we believe we left without having lived them, those we spent with a favorite book. ~ Marcel Proust.

If we are to make reality endurable, we must all nourish a fantasy or two. ~ Marcel Proust.

With intelligent people, three-quarters of the things they suffer from come from their intelligence. ~ Marcel Proust.

Happiness is good for the body, but it is grief which develops the strengths of the mind. ~ Marcel Proust.

The reader’s recognition in himself of what the book says is the proof of the book’s truth. ~ Marcel Proust.

We may talk for a lifetime without doing more than indefinitely repeat the vacuity of a minute. ~ Marcel Proust.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes. ~ Marcel Proust.

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. ~ Marcel Proust.

No sooner does an approaching hour become the present for us than it sheds all its charms. ~ Marcel Proust.


To be an artist is to fail, as no other dare to fail… failure is his world and the shrink from it desertion. ~ Marcel Proust.

People do not die for us immediately, but remain bathed in a sort of aura of life which bears no relation to true immortality but through which they continue to occupy our thoughts in the same way as when they were alive. ~ Marcel Proust.

In reality, every reader is, while reading, the reader of his own self. ~ Marcel Proust.

Ultimate Marcel Proust Quotes

Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were. ~ Marcel Proust.

We don’t receive wisdom; we must discover it for ourselves after a journey that no one can take for us or spare us. ~ Marcel Proust.

Lovers would find it as hard to count the kisses exchanged in an hour as to count the flowers in a meadow in May. ~ Marcel Proust.

We exist only by virtue of what we possess, we possess only what is really present to us, and many of our memories, our moods, our ideas sail away on a voyage of their own until they are lost to sight! ~ Marcel Proust.

We are healed of a suffering only by experiencing it to the full. ~ Marcel Proust.

There is no more ridiculous custom than the one that makes you express sympathy once and for all on a given day to a person whose sorrow will endure as long as his life. ~ Marcel Proust.

Time, which changes people, does not alter the image we have of them. ~ Marcel Proust.

Everything great in the world is done by neurotics; they alone founded our religions and created our masterpieces. ~ Marcel Proust.

The bonds between ourselves and another person exists only in our minds. ~ Marcel Proust.

Memory as it grows fainter loosens them, and notwithstanding the illusion by which we want to be duped and which, out of love, friendship, politeness, deference, duty, we dupe other people, we exist alone. ~ Marcel Proust.

Man is the creature who cannot escape from himself, who knows other people only in himself, and when he asserts the contrary, he is lying. ~ Marcel Proust.

We don’t receive wisdom we must discover it for ourselves. ~ Marcel Proust.

It is our noticing them that puts things in a room, our growing used to them that takes them away again and clears a space for us. ~ Marcel Proust.


Everything that seems imperishable tends to extinguishment. ~ Marcel Proust.

I felt that I did not really remember her except through the pain, and I longed for the nails that riveted her to my consciousness to be driven yet deeper. ~ Marcel Proust.

Let us leave pretty women to men with no imagination. ~ Marcel Proust.

We remember the truth because it has a name, is rooted in the past, but a makeshift lie is quickly forgotten. ~ Marcel Proust.

The being that I shall be after death has no more reason to remember the man I have been since my birth than the latter to remember what I was before it. ~ Marcel Proust.

The laborious process of causation which sooner or later will bring about every possible effect, including, consequently, those which one believed to be least possible, naturally slow at times, is rendered slower still by our desire. ~ Marcel Proust.

Illness is the doctor to whom we pay most heed; to kindness, to knowledge, we make promise only; pain we obey. ~ Marcel Proust.

It is always thus, impelled by a state of mind which is destined not to last, we make our irrevocable decisions. ~ Marcel Proust.

People don’t know when they are happy. They’re never so unhappy as they think they are. ~ Marcel Proust.

Like many intellectuals, he was incapable of saying a simple thing in a simple way. ~ Marcel Proust.

Desire makes everything blossom; possession makes everything wither and fade. ~ Marcel Proust.

Only through art can we emerge from ourselves and know what another person sees. ~ Marcel Proust.

Hard people are weak people whom nobody wants, and the strong, caring little whether they are wanted or not, have alone that meekness which the common herd mistake for weakness. ~ Marcel Proust.

We once dreamt of possessing the heart of our beloved; later, the feeling that we already possess a woman’s heart could be all we need so that we fall in love. ~ Marcel Proust.

He told himself that to form an exact judgement on someone’s character often all you have to do is take the opposite standpoint to the reputation others have created for them ~ Marcel Proust.

Not wanting to think about it was to think about it still, to suffer still. ~ Marcel Proust.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. ~ Marcel Proust.

One cannot change, that is to say become a different person, while continuing to acquiesce to the feelings of the person one has ceased to be. ~ Marcel Proust.

So these were the 105 top Marcel Proust quotes and sayings.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Marc Anthony quotes and Mao Zedong quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar