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42 Handpicked Marcel Proust Quotes On Habits, Love, Desire, Misery, Memory, and Little Joys

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In Search of Lost Time Quotes By Proust That I Found Too Hard to Ignore – Collected from Volume One

Previously, I published the ethereal lines from Proust’s Swann’s Way (In Search of Lost Time Vol 1) underlining his understanding of human composition and admirable usage of precise words. Now I bring you quotes by Proust collected from the length of the same volume Swann’s Way (Book 1 of the 6-Volume collection In Search of Lost Time). 

The below Marcel Proust quotes tell us our griefs aren’t unique, that we aren’t the only ones miserable and despondent in love, that our minds and memories play tricks on us all, and that habits anchor us to the known. These collected words also emphasize the everlasting joy that nature brings, prove we all lie to ourselves, highlight the illusion of power, and tenderly sympathize with us for bearing the mundaneness of acceptance. 

Hope you enjoy these words pulled from the depths of Proust’s consciousness.

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43 Observations on Human Beings From Proust (Swann’s Way: In Search of Lost Time Vol 1)

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Sharing Some of the Sunshine that Marcel Proust Spreads Through Swann’s Way, In Search of Lost Time Volume 1

I heard of the French author Marcel Proust for the first time in the compassionate visionary Alain De Botton’s book the School of Life: An Emotional Education. In the chapter The Importance of Sex, Botton talks about Marcel Proust’s lesbian sex scene from his book Swann’s Way. Proust’s Swann’s Way is the volume one of his influential seven-volume collection In Search of Lost Time.

In the scene, the lover Mademoiselle Vinteuil invokes her partner to spit on the photo of her deceased father. This heavily criticized section describes how Vinteuil is just trying on the freedom of sensual pleasures — which may make her appear wicked. The author Proust argues that despite what one might think, Vinteuil is essentially of a moral and sound character.

Proust writes, “Sadists of Mlle Vinteuil’s kind are beings who are so purely sentimental, so naturally virtuous that, for them, even sensual pleasure seems evil, seems the privilege of the wicked. And when they allow themselves to indulge in it for a moment, it’s the wicked whose skin they try, and try to get their accomplice, to enter into, so as to have had the momentary illusion of escaping their scrupulous and gentle soul in the inhuman world of pleasure.”

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Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own — A Meditation on Writing and Life

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Virginia Woolf’s A Room of One’s Own Quotes — Wisdom on Writing and Life

 

Virginia Woolf was once asked to speak about women and fiction.

Woolf wandered the streets of London, sat by the riverside, pored over shelves full of books in the British Museum, went to luncheons, and considered the then state of literature. While working in a constricted space in that London where women weren’t even allowed to walk on turf paths in colleges (only men and students could), Virginia created a masterpiece on why there were limited women writers and even more limited writings by them.

Woolf delivered the lectures in October 1928 at the women’s colleges of Cambridge University. Published in September 1929, A Room of One’s Own is an essay based on those lectures.

Woolf went back to the works of Proust, Shakespeare, Emily Bronte, Jane Austen, Aphra Behn, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Kipling, Keats, and many more known and unknown writers to understand the truth. She read fiction written by women and studied her contemporaries’ books. She contemplated why the writing of men scorned women and if women were writing good fiction.

In the essays, Virginia emphasized — while showing her detailed thought process — “that a woman needs money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.”

In addition to being a seminal work on feminism, A Room of One’s Own is an infinite pool of wisdom on writing and life. In the essay, Virginia Woolf argued passionately and statistically about how cultural, spiritual, and financial restrictions may limit our creative freedom.

Given the essay has so much to read into, I will only delve into the lessons on life and writing that Woolf was so benevolent in sharing with us.

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Best Non-Fiction Books I Read in 2020

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Out of the 48 or so books I read in 2020, 25 percent — that’s only 12 books — were non-fiction. The rest were fiction books and children’s tales.

I started reading non-fiction in 2017 when I started this blog On My Canvas. I always read stories and novels, but nonfiction wasn’t a big thing around me. Not that reading fiction was a trend in my social circle either. I can count the selected few readers amongst my friends, batch mates, and colleagues at my fingertips.

There was one guy in college who loved Shakespeare and read philosophy. There is a poetry lover and creator who is still a great friend. Some of the elites from Vidya Mandir and other high-class Delhi schools could talk about Mark Twain and J.R.R Tolkien but only seldom did I see them with a book. Or maybe I wasn’t noticing books at that time myself. 

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Best Fiction Books I Read in 2020

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I write because I read. I grow because I read. I can never be bored because I read.

Out of the 48 or so books I read in 2020, 75 percent — that is 36 books — were fiction. The rest were non-fiction books, children’s stories, and travel books.

Even though most of my writing is personal growth and travel-focused, I also write short stories and personal essays.

And for any kind of creative writing — travel, short stories, and even self-development — reading fictional books is crucial. Otherwise, how would I know how to describe a scene on the street or a conversation amongst two people sitting in a cafe? How would I keep the articles interesting and give them a story arc? A beginning, a middle, and an end, you know.

Apart from helping me write, fiction short story books and novellas are interesting and entertaining. They teach a lot about the history of the world. Fiction books also unravel the behavior and inner workings of human beings. (Here are 21 books that changed my life.)

So while The Outsider taught me how straightforward life can be, Gora and Anna Karenina showed me a lot about the desires and limitations of human beings while telling the history of India and Russia. I wouldn’t have known so much about the Brahmo Samaj and the Russian high class if not for those two books.

I’m thankful.

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