A Mosaicist

  … Proust had never been able to finish any work of fiction because he lacked the story and point of view. He had at last found his structure, one that was to prove ideal for his narrative skills and manner of composition. Proust never composed in a linear manner or according to an outline. He always worked like a mosaicist, taking a particular scene, anecdote, impression, image, and crafting it to completion. In his notebooks, there are many notes to himself about such bits: “To be placed somewhere,” or a memo to give a remark or trait to a certain character. Sometimes he listed more than one character or episode as a possible source for a quotation. The story’s circular form suited his needs perfectly. As he composed and orchestrated the rich Proustian music, the structure would expand while keeping its basic shape and relation among the parts. 

–William C. Carter, Marcel Proust: A Life, 481

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