Remembrance: Marcel Proust #30

Remembrance: Marcel Proust

Moments from
“Remembrance of Things Past”


“But genius, and even great talent,
springs less from seeds of intellect
and social refinement superior to those of other people
than from the faculty of transforming and transposing them.
To heat a liquid with an electric lamp
requires not the strongest lamp possible,
but one of which the current can cease to illuminate,
can be diverted so as to give heat instead of light.
To mount the skies it is not necessary
to have the most powerful of motors,
one must have a motor which,
instead of continuing to run
along the earth’s surface,
intersecting with a vertical line
the horizontal line which it began by following,
is capable of converting its speed into lifting power.
Similarly, the men who produce works of genius
are not those who live in the most delicate atmosphere,
whose conversation is the most brilliant
or their culture the most extensive,
but those who have had the power,
ceasing suddenly to live only for themselves,
to transform their personality into a sort of mirror,
in such a way that their life,
however mediocre it may be socially
and even, in a sense, intellectually,
is reflected by it,
genius consisting in reflecting power
and not in the intrinsic quality of the scene reflected.”

― Marcel Proust, Within a Budding Grove, Part 2

Marcel_Proust_(Père_Lachaise) side by side hotel - grave