Marcel Proust quote about others from Swann's Way - it is only with the passions of others that we are ever really familiar, and what we come to find out about our own can be no more than what other people have shewn us.
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it is only with the passions of others that we are ever really familiar, and what we come to find out about our own can be no more than what other people have shewn us.
 Marcel Proust, Swann's Way (1913). copy citation

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Author Marcel Proust
Source Swann's Way
Topic others self
Date 1913
Language English
Reference
Note Translated by C. K. Scott Moncrieff
Weblink http://www.gutenberg.org/files/7178/7178-h/7178-h.htm

Context

“And since this other, this irrepressible, dominant, despotic Legrandin, if he lacked our Legrandin's charming vocabulary, shewed an infinitely greater promptness in expressing himself, by means of what are called 'reflexes,' it followed that, when Legrandin the talker attempted to silence him, he would already have spoken, and it would be useless for our friend to deplore the bad impression which the revelations of his alter ego must have caused, since he could do no more now than endeavour to mitigate them.
This was not to say that M. Legrandin was anything but sincere when he inveighed against snobs. He could not (from his own knowledge, at least) be aware that he was one also, since it is only with the passions of others that we are ever really familiar, and what we come to find out about our own can be no more than what other people have shewn us. Upon ourselves they react but indirectly, through our imagination, which substitutes for our actual, primary motives other, secondary motives, less stark and therefore more decent. Never had Legrandin's snobbishness impelled him to make a habit of visiting a duchess as such.” source
Original quote

Meaning and analysis

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