I did not want to borrow Gilberte's copy of La Fille auz Yeux d'Or as she was reading it herself. But she lent me to read in bed, on that last evening of my stay with her, a book which produced on me a strong but mixed impression, which did not, however, prove to be lasting. It was a volume of the unpublished Journal of the Goncourts. And when, before putting out my candle, I read the passage which I am about to transcribe, my lack of talent for literature, of which I had had a presentiment long ago on the Guermantes way and which had been confirmed during the stay of which this was the last evening - one of those evenings before a departure when we emerge from the torpor of habits about to be broken and attempt to judge ourselves - struck me as something less to be regretted, since literature, if I was to trust the evidence of this book, had no very profound truths to reveal: and at the same time it seemed to me sad that literature was not what I had thought it to be. At the same time, the state of ill-health which was soon to shut me up in a sanatorium seemed to me also less to be regretted, if the beautiful things of which books speak were not more beautiful than what I had seen myself. And yet, by an odd contradiction, now that they were being spoken of in this book I had a desire to see them.
Marcel Proust, Time Regained, p. 728
As I've shared previously I'm notoriously guilty of writing all over my books (and I always tell my students than unless they write all over theirs then they don't really own them). Next to this paragraph I had scrawled, "This entire paragraph is absurd." Proust is trying to express that Marcel still has profound doubts about his abilities as a writer, and about the validity of literature as well. However, you can only stretch the truth so far before it simply takes on the light of grand farce. If Marcel was someone undeniably different than Proust himself then statements such as "my lack of talent for literature" and that literature "had no very profound truths to reveal" would have more power. Here they just read as if Proust is trying to hard, or is simply trying to be ironic and sinking at the audience.
Proust mentions that he would soon be shut up in a sanatorium in an attempt to recapture his health. It's difficult to read Remembrance of Things Past, and especially the latter portion, and not be constantly reminded of the death sentence that hung over Proust, but also his refusal to surrender, rest up, and try to stretch out his life. Rather, the work had to be finished, and sacrifices had to be made, and those would include his own life.