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Marcel Proust (1871 - 1922)  

Proust was born in Auteuil. His father was a famous doctor and epidemiologist and his mother was the daughter of a rich and cultured Jewish family (her father was a banker). She was highly literate and well-read.
By the age of nine Proust had had his first serious asthma attack, and thereafter he was considered by himself, his family and his friends as a sickly child.
Despite his poor health, Proust served a year (1889–90) as an enlisted man in the French army, stationed at Coligny Caserne in Orléans. As a young man Proust was a dilettante and a successful social climber, whose aspirations as a writer were hampered by his lack of application to work. His reputation from this period, as a snob and an aesthete, contributed to his later troubles with getting Swann's Way, the first volume of his huge novel, published in 1913.
Proust was quite close to his mother, despite her wishes that he apply himself to some sort of useful work. In order to appease his father, who insisted that he pursue a career, Proust obtained a volunteer position at the Bibliothèque Mazarine in the summer of 1896. After exerting considerable effort, he obtained a sick leave which was to extend for several years until he was considered to have resigned. He never worked at his job, and he did not move from his parents' apartment until after both were dead.
Proust was a homosexual and, though not completely open about his own sexuality, he was one of the first European writers to treat homosexuality at length.
His life and family circle changed considerably between 1900 and 1905. In February of 1903 Proust's brother Robert married and left the family apartment. His father died in September of the same year. Finally, and most crushingly, Proust's beloved mother died in September of 1905. In addition to the grief that attended his mother's death, Proust's life changed due to a very large inheritance he received. Despite this windfall, his health throughout this period continued to deteriorate.
Proust spent the last three years of his life largely confined to his cork-lined bedroom, sleeping during the day and working at night to complete his novel.
He died in 1922.

...το μόνο πραγματικό βιβλίο ένας συγγραφέας δε χρειάζεται να το εφεύρει με τη συνήθη σημασία της λέξης, διότι ήδη ενυπάρχει στον καθένα από εμάς - πρέπει μόνο να το μεταφράσει. Το καθήκον και η εργασία ενός συγγραφέα είναι εκείνες ενός μεταφραστή
δεν μπορείς να μάθεις την αλήθεια για τις προθέσεις κάποιου με το να τον ρωτήσεις
οι αναμνήσεις που έχουμε ο ένας για τον άλλο, ακόμα κι όταν είμαστε ερωτευμένοι, δεν είναι ίδιες
όταν είμαστε άρρωστοι συνειδητοποιούμε ότι δεν υπάρχουμε μόνοι μας αλλά δεμένοι με έναν άλλο κόσμο, από το οποίο μας χωρίζει μία άβυσσος, ο οποίος δε μας ξέρει και με τον οποίο δεν είναι δυνατόν να γίνουμε κατανοητοί από τους άλλους: το σώμα μας
όταν ένα άτομο το διαβάζει, είναι μια άσκηση αυτοεξέτασης. Το έργο ενός συγγραφέα είναι μόνο για να προσφέρει στον αναγνώστη ένα μέσο ενδοσκόπησης γι’αυτό που αλλιώς δε θα ήταν ικανός να διακρίνει