Proust Questionaire

The Proust Questionnaire is a questionnaire about one’s personality. Its name and modern popularity as a form of interview is owed to the responses given by the French writer Marcel Proust. Proust answered the questionnaire several times in his life, always with enthusiasm. The original manuscript of his answers of 1890, at the time of his volunteer internship or some little time afterwards, titled “by Marcel Proust himself,” was found in 1924. 

Your favorite virtue:  

Your chief characteristic:
Studiousness and an obsessive sense of responsibility

Your main fault:
Inveterate irascibility

Your favourite occupation:
Wandering bookstore, libraries, repositories, anyplace with shelves of (preferably) unfamiliar books

Your idea of happiness
World enough and time to read what I want to read and still walk the beach from Florida to California (in segments)

Your idea of misery:
Not being able to choose the next book

If not yourself, who would you be:
No one else--I have never wanted to be anyone else--not because others aren't better, but because I don't know they aren't worse

Where would you like to live:
Williamsburg, Va.  The stacks of the LoC, Florida

Your favourite colour and flower.
Caribbean blue--the color of the water on a clear day in Key West.

Orchid (phalaenopsis and dendrobium in particular, but any will do)

Your favorite prose authors:
James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, Lewis Carroll

Your favorite poets:
Guillaume Apollinaire, Robert Herrick, John Donne, Charles Baudelaire, Basho, Issa, Saigyo, Li Po. Tu Fu, Wang-an Shih, Ou Yang Hsui, Su Tung Po, T. S. Eliot, Wallace Stevens, Kay Ryan

Your favorite heroes in fiction:
Tom Sawyer, Jim Hawkins, Huckleberry Finn, Atticus Finch, Leopold Bloom, Tom Jones

Your favorite heroines in fiction:
Alice, Clarissa Dalloway, Molly Bloom, 

Least favorite heroines in fiction:
Isabel Archer--a woman who got herself bound up in her own trials through pride and remained too prideful to get out of them by listening to others.  I know, that's not what I'm supposed to think--but she's the most frustratingly self-involved self-important character in all of lliterature.  Also can't say much for Cio-Cio San which leads to 

Least favorite male characters in fiction:

Hands down, the males who accompany these two females--the utterly appalling Gilbert Osmund and the equally reproachable and awful Lieutenant Pinkerton.

Your favorite painters and composers:
Debussy, Ravel, Mendelssohn, Peter Gabriel, Philip Glass, Steve Reich, Terry Riley, John Adams, Giacomo Puccini, Mozart, Bach, Vivaldi (Not in any particular order, it seems to shift, except that Debussy is always at the top of the list)

Your heroes/heroines in real life:
Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta, St. Therese of Lisieux, St. John of the Cross, St. Teresa of Avila, Albert Einstein, 

What characters in history do you most dislike:
Anyone claiming a "mandate from the people," Anyone claiming to act in "the name of the people," anyone who killed anyone in the name of religion and/or the people

Your favorite food and drink:
Anything Mexican, Venezuelan, or Caribbean; limeade, green tea

Your favorite names:

What I hate the most:
Self-serving claims by most politicians, critiques of the constitution by those who have not read it,  second guessing experts in any field--from tatting to evolution by those who have neither studied nor done

World history characters I hate the most:
I try not to hate--I should have said that up above--but those who I would avoid and not like to see championed or brought forth again: See characters in history above.  Specifics: Mao, Pol Pot, Saddam Hussein, Josef Stalin, Adolf Hitler, and I'm not too keen on Winston Churchill or the man who sent the Ship of Fools back to Germany

The military event I admire the most:
I tend not to admire military events, but if I had to choose one, it would be the battle of Themopylae

The reform I admire the most: 
Samuel Johnson/Noah Webster and Orthography 

The natural talent I’d like to be gifted with:
Ability to fix household things without compounding the problem, musical composition

How I wish to die:
in my sleep

What is your present state of mind:

For what fault have you most toleration:
anxiety and depression (if those are faults)

Your favorite motto:
One of two:  "It's a poor sort of memory that works only backwards,"  Or, "Here you must run as fast as you can to stay in the same place, twice as fast if you wish to get anywhere."

Originally at A Guy's Moleskine Notebook


  1. What a great idea! But you don't like WSC? I am reading Manchester's biography now and while I find him a lot different from how I always imagined, I still respect him very much.

  2. Dear Connie,

    I don't know. I hold against Churchill Coventry. It was said to be necessary, and of course, I am in no position to second guess--and yet I suppose that is what I do when I say that surely there must have been another way--it is in this failure of imagination that I find the greatest fault. And my judgment is perhaps too harsh--I will grant that--but it is bone-deep and hard to settle out otherwise.




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