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Posted 12/14/2014 8:35am by Eugene Wyatt.

Beauty is not like a ne plus ultra of what we suppose beautiful, an abstract type of the beauty before our eyes; on the contrary, it is something novel and, until life puts it before our eyes, unimaginable.

Marcel Proust on Art and Literature translated by Sylvia Townsend Warner 1957, p. 45 (from Contre Sainte-Beuve).

La beauté n’est pas comme un superlatif de ce que nous imaginons, comme un type abstrait que nous avons devant les yeux, mais au contraire un type nouveau, impossible à imaginer que la réalité nous présente.

Contre Sainte-Beuve Marcel Proust 1908 p. 70.

Beauty is not a superlative that we imagine, like an abstract concept before our eyes, but on the contrary something new, impossible to imagine, until reality presents us with it.

My translation.