Epiphany (feeling)

sudden understanding of the essence or meaning of something

An epiphany is an illuminating realisation or discovery, often resulting in a personal feeling of elation, awe, or wonder.


  • This triviality made him think of collecting many such moments together in a book of epiphanies.  By epiphany—a sudden spiritual manifestation, whether in the vulgarity of speech or gesture, or in a memorable phrase of the mind itself.  He believed that it was for the man of letters to record these epiphanies with extreme care, seeing that they themselves are the most delicate and evanescent of moments.
  • One day in winter, as I came home, my mother, seeing that I was cold, offered me some tea, a thing I did not ordinarily take.  I declined at first, and then, for no particular reason, changed my mind.  She sent out for one of those short, plump little cakes called 'petites madeleines,' which look as though they had been moulded in the fluted scallop of a pilgrim's shell.  And soon, mechanically, weary after a dull day with the prospect of a depressing morrow, I raised to my lips a spoonful of the tea in which I had soaked a morsel of the cake.  No sooner had the warm liquid, and the crumbs with it, touched my palate, a shudder ran through my whole body, and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary changes that were taking place.  An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, but individual, detached, with no suggestion of its origin.  And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory—this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me, it was myself.  I had ceased now to feel mediocre, accidental, mortal.  Whence could it have come to me, this all-powerful joy?  I was conscious that it was connected with the taste of tea and cake, but that it infinitely transcended those savours, could not, indeed, be of the same nature as theirs.  Whence did it come?  What did it signify?  How could I seize upon and define it?
  • To have breakthroughs, you must have confidence in nonsense, okay?  That's why only weird guys tend to have the breakthroughs: a sensible person won't have a breakthrough 'cause he writes it off real quickly as nonsense and, therefore, he doesn't ever do something that's nonsense.
  • "I cannot live with myself any longer."  This was the thought that kept repeating itself in my mind.  Then suddenly I became aware of what a peculiar thought it was.  "Am I one or two?  If I cannot live with myself, there must be two of me: the 'I' and the 'self' that 'I' cannot live with."  "Maybe," I thought, "only one of them is real."
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