Quotes from Proust XIV: A classic Proust sentence (179 words)

 

Whatever the image may be—from the prospect of eating trout at sunset, which makes a sedentary man decide to take the train, to the desire to be able to astonish the proud lady at a cash desk one evening by stopping outside her door in a magnificent  carriage, which makes an unscrupulous man decide to commit murder or to long for the deaths of rich relatives, according to whether he is  brave or lazy, whether he follows his ideas through or remains fondling the first link in the chain—the act which is destined to enable us to attain it, whether the act be travel, marriage, crime or whatever, modifies us so profoundly that not merely do we cease to attach any importance to the reason which made us perform it, but the image conceived by the man who was then not a traveller, or a husband, or a criminal, or a recluse (who has set himself to work with the idea of fame and simultaneously lost all desire for fame), may perhaps never recur to this mind.

The core sentence: “Whatever the image may be, the act which is destined to enable us to attain it modifies us so profoundly that not merely do we cease to attach any importance to the reason which made us perform it, but the image conceived by the man may perhaps never recur to this mind.”

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