How many of you received a nomination or has been invited to answer to ridiculous list of questions? Since we had no social network but only the pages of a school diary, we have been overwhelmed by memes, of every kind and about any thinkable topic.
The historical background
Now, imagine it is 1885. School diaries weren’t still a fashionable trend, but writing was quite spread around. Personal diaries and memoires as well. Imagine that you’re French and you’re going to be a famous writer with one of the biggest novel existing in the literature. Though, you are still a teenager and you have a girl friend that likes to collect thoughts and feelings in a booklet. She’s used to ask questions to her friend and you are not excluded. That is how the Marcel Proust’s questionnaire has born.
Original editions and further adaptations
The Proust Questionnaire comes originally in 2 versions. The one collected by Antoinette Faure, known as the Confessions album, and another redited by Marcel Proust himself, called the Confidences album. Since then, a number of artists submitted their own answers to the same list of questions. The original list of question can be found here.
Most recently, several TV shows have been inspired by this questionnaire, which became part of the outline. Furthermore, Vanity Fair has published a book which contains the answers – from 101 among artists, musicians, actors, journalists, and so on – to the questionnaire, which has been extended with several new questions. Also, the magazine website hosts an interactive version of their questionnaire.
I’ve been really amazed by the questionnaire and its questions frankness as much as I’ve been surprised by the sincerity and the simplicity of Proust’s answers. The first thought that I had was about the questionnaire itself: all of those memes, all of those questions on our school diaries, were not a twentieth century habit, but it is a tradition that we carry since a long time. Second, I imagined myself at the Proust’s place and, hence, I answered the questions that his friend Antoinette listed for him, pretending to be interviewed by a close friend – which actually don’t usually ask this kind of question too often.
Your favorite virtue.
Your favorite qualities in a man.
The resolution. As men, we’re called to be firm, to fulfill responsibilities and to carry the weight of important decisions.
Your favorite qualities in a woman.
The delicacy, made to hone the pointy shaper of men.
Your chief characteristic.
Sense of humour, which is never missing, especially in hard times.
What you appreciate the most in your friends.
The fact that they exist and that I couldn’t live one more minute without them.
Your main fault.
I didn’t tell her everything.
Your favourite occupation.
The one that I have now.
Your idea of happiness.
Sitting on a swing, on a beach or in a garden, in front of the sea or on the peak of a mountain, hugged to the woman who loves me, drinking an ice cold beer or a warm tea. In silence.
Your idea of misery.
If not yourself, who would you be?
My complete opposite: a hyperactive good looking woman.
Where would you like to live?
Here in Amsterdam.
Your favourite colour and flower.
Your favorite prose authors.
Michael Connelly, Jim Grant.
Your favorite poets.
Not a specific one.
Your favorite heroes in fiction.
Batman, Hieronymous ‘Harry’ Bosch, Jack Reacher.
Your favorite heroines in fiction.
Katnis Everdeen, Luisa Rey.
Your favorite painters and composers.
Hieronymous Bosch, Keith Haring. Ludovico Einaudi.
Your heroes in real life.
Martin Luther King III, Oskar Schindler, who fights and who fought dying against mafias.
Your favorite heroines in real life.
Aung San Suu Kyi.
What characters in history do you most dislike.
Repetition of the same mistakes.
Your heroines in World history.
Juanne D’arc, Amelia Earhart.
Your favorite food and drink.
Pasta alla mugnaia, red wine (Montepulciano d’Abruzzo and Amarone Valpolicella).
Your favorite names.
Serena, Stefano, Marco, Elena, Francesco, Vittoria, Diana.
What I hate the most.
People that make sound while they’re chewing.
World history characters I hate the most.
Those who killed the most.
The military event I admire the most.
The reform I admire the most.
Any reform that improves civil rights.
The natural talent I’d like to be gifted with.
How I wish to die.
What is your present state of mind.
For what fault have you most toleration?
Your favorite motto.
Don’t worry, be happy.