“The sea refreshes our imagination because it does not make us think of human life; yet it rejoices the soul, because, like the soul, it is an infinite and impotent striving, a strength that is ceaselessly broken by falls, an eternal and exquisite lament. The sea thus enchants us like music, which, unlike language, never bears the traces of things, never tells us anything about human beings, but imitates the stirrings of the soul. Sweeping up with the waves of those movements, plunging back with them, the heart thus forgets its own failures and finds solace in an intimate harmony between its own sadness and the sea’s sadness, which merges the sea’s destiny with the destinies of all things.”
From “Regrets, Reveries the Color of Time” by French novelist Marcel Proust (born Valentin Louis Georges Eugène Marcel Proust in 1871; he died in 1922), found in The Complete Short Stories of Marcel Proust translated by Joachim Neugroschel. Proust is best known for one of the longest novels ever written, In Search of Lost Time, published between 1913 and 1927. Published in seven volumes, the novel contains 3,031 pages and 1,267,069 words (9,609,000 characters). It will take the average reader (at 300 words per minute), about 45 hours and 27 minutes to read the entire novel, excluding any meal and bathroom breaks, of course.
Proust’s Way: A Field Guide to In Search of Lost Time by Roger Shattuck