Friday, February 25, 2011

What Proust says about les grands nerveux

Marcel Proust on les grands nerveux:
 Feel comfortable to be called a neurotic. You belong to the splendid, pitiable family that is the salt of the earth. Everything we think of as great has come to us from neurotics. They and they alone are the ones who have founded religions and created great works of art. The world will never realize how much it is indebted to them, particularly how much they have suffered in order to present it with their gifts. We appreciate good music, fine paintings, a thousand exquisite things, without knowing what they cost those who created them in terms of insomnia, tears, fitful laughter, nettle rash, asthma, epilepsy, and worse still, a fear of dying.

—From The Guermantes Way, translated by Mark Treharne, p. 299.

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