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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.

...o único livro verdadeiro, um escritor não precisa de inventá-lo no sentido comum, porque já existe em cada um de nós, apenas tem que traduzi-lo. O dever e o trabalho de um escritor são o dever e o trabalho de um tradutor
a realidade é o mais hábil dos inimigos. Dirige os seus ataques ao ponto do nosso coração onde não os esperávamos, e onde não tinhamos preparado a defesa
a verdade sobre as intenções de um homem não se descobre perguntando
a verdadeira descoberta de uma viagem consiste não em encontrar novos territórios, mas em vê-los com novos olhos
as recordações que temos uns dos outros, mesmo no amor, nunca coincidem
estamos todos obrigados, para suportar a realidade, a cultivar algumas das nossas pequenas loucuras
na doença é que descobrimos que não vivemos sozinhos, mas sim encadeados a um ser de um reino diferente, de que nos separam abismos, que não nos conhece e pelo qual é impossível fazer-nos compreender: o nosso corpo
todo o leitor, quando lê, lê-se a si próprio. A obra do escritor é apenas uma espécie de instrumento óptico que se oferece ao leitor para lhe permitir discernir aquilo que, sem o livro, talvez nunca teria visto