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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.

...den enda sanna boken behöver författaren inte hitta på i ordets traditionella betydelse, för den existerar redan inom var och en av oss; han behöver bara översätta den. Författarens plikt och uppgift är desamma som översättarens
då vi är sjuka inser vi att vi inte bara existerar, utan att vi är bundna till något annat, från vilket vi skiljs via en avgrund, som inte känner till oss och genom vilken det är omöjligt att göra oss förstådda: vår kropp
de minnen vi har av varandra, även då vi är förälskade, är inte desamma
när en människa läser, läser hon i sig själv. Författarens verk är bara ett optiskt instrument som erbjuds läsaren för att hon ska kunna förnimma vad hon annars aldrig skulle se i sig själv.
verkligheten är den skickligaste av fienderna. Den uttalar sina attacker vid punkter av vårt hjärta där vi minst väntade, och där vi inte hade förberett något försvar