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Marcel Proust Biography


(1871-1922) French writer. Marcel Proust was a novelist, essayist, and critic. He was also a prolific letter writer. The work for which he is usually most often remembered is "À la recherche du temps perdu," which has been translated as "In Search of Lost Time" or "Remembrance of Things Past." Proust has also been called the founder of the modern novel, looked upon as a major influence on modernist style. Read more about Marcel Proust.

Marcel Proust Birth & Literary Development:

Valentin-Louis-Georges-Eugene-Marcel Proust was born on July 10, 1871, in Auteuil, just outside of Paris. His father was Achille Adrien Proust, a prominent doctor. His mother was Jeanne Clemence Weil, who was from a wealthy Alsatian Jewish family.

Proust attended Lycee Condorcet from 1882 to 1889. He nearly died at the age of nine from a severe asthma attack. He studied law at Sorbonne, at the Ecole des Sciences Politiques; and then began writing for the Symbolist magazines.
Proust's first novel was "Jean Santeuil" (1895), but he abandoned the work. In 1896, "Portraits de Peintres" and "Les Plaisirs et les Jours" appeared. He began writing his massive seven-part "À la recherche du temps perdu" in 1909, and he finished the final part just before he died. Based on this gigantic work, Graham Green called Proust "greatest novelist of the 20th century."

Marcel Proust Death:

Marcel Proust died of pneumonia on November 18, 1922. He was buried in the Père Lachaise cemetery in Paris.

Marcel Proust Quotes:

"It seems that the taste for books grows with intelligence, a little below it but on the same stem, as every passion is accomplished by a predilection for that which surrounds its object, which has an affinity for it, which in its absence still speaks of it. So, the great writers, during those hours when they are not in direct communication with their thought, delight in the society of books.
"Besides, is it not chiefly for them that they have been written; do they not disclose to them a thousand beauties, which remain hidden to the masses?" -- Reading in Bed

Marcel Proust Works:

  • "Portraits de femmes"
  • "Les plaisirs et les jours" -- 1896
  • "À la recherche du temps perdu" (translated as "In Search of Lost Time" or "Remembrance of Things Past")
    • "Du côté de chez Swann" (translated as "Swann's Way" or "The Way by Swann's") -- 1913
    • "À l'ombre des jeunes filles en fleur" (translated as "Within a Budding Grove" or "In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower") -- 1918
    • "Le côté de Guermantes" (translated as "The Guermantes Way") --1920
    • "Sodome et Gomorrhe" (translated as "Cities of the Plain" or "Sodom and Gomorrah") -- 1922
    • "La prisonnière" (translated as "The Captive" or "The Prisoner") -- 1923
    • "Albertine disparue" (translated as "The Sweet Cheat Gone" or "The Fugitive") -- 1925
    • "Le temps retrouvé" (translated as "The Past Recaptured" or "Finding Time Again") -- 1927
  • "Pastiches et mélanges" -- 1919
  • "Contre Sainte-Beuve" -- 1954
  • "Jean Santeuil" -- 1954

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