Marcel Proust
Other names:
Job / Known for: Novelist and critic
Left traces: In Search of Lost Time
Date: 1871-07-10
Location: FR Auteuil, Paris, France
Date: 1922-11-18 (aged 51)
Resting place: FR
Death Cause: Pneumonia
Parent(s): Adrien Proust and Jeanne Weil Proust
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The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes
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Marcel Proust was a French novelist, literary critic, and essayist who wrote the monumental novel In Search of Lost Time, which was published in seven volumes between 1913 and 1927. He is considered by critics and writers to be one of the most influential authors of the 20th century. Proust was born in Paris in 1871, into a wealthy and cultured family. He suffered from asthma since childhood, which made him a sickly and sensitive boy. He was educated at the prestigious Lycée Condorcet, where he showed a talent for writing and literature. He became friends with some of the leading figures of the French cultural scene, such as Anatole France, André Gide, and Robert de Montesquiou. Proust began his literary career as a journalist and critic, writing for various magazines and newspapers. He also published some short stories and essays, but he was not satisfied with his work. He felt that he had not yet found his true voice and style. He was inspired by the works of John Ruskin, an English art critic and social thinker, whom he translated into French. He also developed a fascination with memory and its relation to art and literature. He believed that memory could reveal the hidden meaning and beauty of life, beyond the superficial appearances of reality. In 1909, Proust began working on his magnum opus, In Search of Lost Time, a novel that would occupy him for the rest of his life. The novel is a semi-autobiographical account of the narrator's experiences from childhood to adulthood, as he recalls them through involuntary memories triggered by various sensations. The novel explores themes such as love, art, society, time, and identity, in a complex and innovative style that combines realism, symbolism, and stream of consciousness. The novel is also famous for its detailed and vivid descriptions of places, characters, and events, based on Proust's own observations and impressions. Proust wrote In Search of Lost Time in his cork-lined bedroom in his apartment in Paris, where he isolated himself from the outside world. He suffered from various illnesses and insomnia, which worsened his health condition. He also faced difficulties in finding publishers for his novel, which was considered too long and unconventional by many. He had to pay for the publication of the first volume himself, in 1913. The novel received mixed reviews at first, but gradually gained recognition and admiration from critics and readers. Proust died in 1922, before completing the last volume of his novel, which was published posthumously by his brother Robert. He was buried at the Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris, where many other famous writers are also interred. Proust's legacy is immense and enduring. His novel is widely regarded as one of the greatest works of literature ever written, and has influenced many other writers and artists across different genres and media. His novel has been translated into many languages and adapted into films, plays, operas, ballets, comics, and video games. His name has become synonymous with a profound and poetic exploration of memory and human existence.
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