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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.

...le seul livre vrai, un grand écrivain n\'a pas dans le sens courant à l\'inventer puisq’il existe déjà en chacun de nous, mais à le traduire. Le devoir et la tâche d\'un écrivain sont ceux d\'un traducteur - Marcel Proust
ce n\'est pas en la lui demandant qu\'on apprend la vérité sur l\'intention qu\'un homme a - Marcel Proust
chaque lecteur est, quand il lit, le propre lecteur de soi-même. L\'ouvrage de l\'écrivain n\'est qu\'une espèce d\'instrument optique qu\'il offre au lecteur afin de lui permettre de discerner ce que, sans ce livre, il n\'eût peut-être pas vu en soi-même - Marcel Proust
c\'est dans la maladie que nous nous rendons compte que nous ne vivons pas seuls, mais enchaînés à un être d\'un règne différent, dont des abîmes nous séparent, qui ne nous connaît pas et duquel il est impossible de nous faire comprendre: notre corps - Marcel Proust
la réalité est le plus habile des ennemis. Elle prononce ses attaques sur les points de notre cœur où nous ne les attendions pas, et où nous n’avions pas préparé de défense - Marcel Proust
la véritable découverte du voyage ne consiste pas à trouver de nouveaux territoires mais d\'avoir un nouveau regard - Marcel Proust
les souvenirs que nous avons les uns des autres, même dans l\'amour, ne sont pas les mêmes - Marcel Proust
nous sommes tous obligés, pour rendre la réalité supportable, d\'entretenir en nous quelques petites folies - Marcel Proust