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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.

...the only true book, a writer does not have to invent it, in the current sense of the term, since it already exists in each one of us, but merely to translate it. The duty and task of a writer are those of a translator
the memories that we have of one another, even when we are in love, are not the same
the real discovery from a voyage consists not in seeking new lands but seeing with new eyes
the truth is the most cunning of enemies. It launches its attacks upon the points of our heart at which we were not expecting them, and have prepared no defence
we are all obliged to keep some of our little eccentricities in order to tolerate reality
when a person reads it is an exercise in self-examination. A writer\'s work amounts only to providing the reader with a means of seeing within himself what he might not otherwise be able to discern
when we are ill we realise that we do not exist alone but chained to a different domain, from which we are separated by an abyss, which doesn\'t know us and by which it is impossible to make ourselves understood: our body
you can\'t learn the truth about a man\'s intentions by asking him