Le Questionnaire de Proust

When we were at the beach several weeks ago, Mom showed up with this book and asked us all to read it and fill out the blank sections in the back. Lacey filled hers out and posted her answers here, so that you could see it. I told her I would do mine as well.

First, though, let me give you a little bit of background. Marcel Proust was a french writer and critic at the turn of the 20th century (1871-1922). His most famous piece of work is A la Recherche du Temps Perdu, which is a very long autobiographical novel that he spent years writing, and I dont think he ever technically finished it. He died before he had it completely finished. I read the majority of it several years back, and I found it fairly dense. I was, however, reading it in french instead of english, so you can cut me some slack.

Anyway, Proust is arguably one of the greatest European literary names of the 20th century, so most people take notice when they see his name on something.

That’s where the questionnaire comes in.

During the time period when he was growing up, apparently it was a common past-time to pass around various questionnaires in order to gain a deeper insight into friends and family. People collected huge volumes of these questionnaires, and many of them were later published. The first questionnaire of a so-called "famous" person that was found was of Marcel Proust. He filled out 2 of these (or at least 2 of his have been found)…one at age 13 and one at age 20. Since then, the questionnaire has become very popular, and the format is used in interviews all over the world. Vanity Fair actually uses this questionnaire to interview celebrities in the back of every issue, as do other European magazines.

I think the draw of this questionnaire is the fact that it asks questions that youwouldn’t normally get around to asking someone. It’s not often that I have conversations about my favorite virtue or fictional heroine. It is interesting what you can find out about someone just by their answers on the Proust Questionnaire. Here’s mine.

  1. Your Chief Characteristic: Compassionate, merciful

  2. Your Favorite Qualities in a Man: Emotional strength, wisdom, godliness, gentleness, leadership

  3. Your Favorite Qualities in a Woman: A gentle and quiet spirit, honesty, modesty,

  4. Your Favorite Qualities in Friends: loyal, honest, encouraging, wise

  5. Your Biggest Flaw: Pride

  6. Your Favorite Occupation: wife

  7. Your Idea of Happiness: a healthy, happy, and Christ-centered marriage

  8. Your Idea of Misery: emotional isolation

  9. If not yourself, who would you be? Ruth or Dorcas

  10. Where would you like to live: Anywhere that God leads us

  11. Your favourite color and flower:  Red, and tulips

  12. Your favorite prose authors: John Steinbeck, Kurt Vonnegut, Francine Rivers, Jerry Bridges, John Piper, Mike Mason

  13. Your Favorite Poets: Charles Bukowski, Margaret Atwood, John Donne, Louise Gluck, Billy Collins

  14. Your Favorite heroes in fiction: Michael Hosea from Redeeming Love, by Francine Rivers

  15. Your Favorite Heroines in Fiction: Hadassah from The Mark of the Lion Series, by Francine Rivers

  16. Your Favorite Composers : Horatius Bonar, John Donne,

  17. Your Favorite Painters: Lacey Madden and Marguerite Travis

  18. Your Favorite Heros in Real Life: my dad, the apostle Paul

  19. Your Favorite heroine in history: Ruth

  20. Your favorite names: Jane Brooke, Noah Reed, Stephanie Allen

  21. Your Pet Aversion: Inconsistency

  22. What characters in history do you most dislike? Hitler

  23. The military deed you admire most: Soldiers who bravely take on a mission knowing that it will most likely end in death.

  24. The reform that you appreciate: The Protestant Reformation

  25. What gift from nature would you like to have: Singing or eloquent speech

  26. How would you like to die?  with the knowledge that those I loved knew it without a doubt

  27. What is your present state of mind? Studious

  28. For what fault have you most toleration? procrastination

  29. Your Favorite Motto: Never doubt in the dark what you knew to be true in the light.

Now it’s your turn. Tag.

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2 thoughts on “Le Questionnaire de Proust

  1. Love reading it again… Ahem, were you going to link me to the word "here" in the first paragraph? I’d be loving that if you did. But you don’t have to. Only if you want to. I’m not saying that I’d be offended if you didnt, but if you did then I would think that was really great. But if you don’t I’ll still think it’s great, don’t think that. Because I do. I think it’s a great great post. I was just thinking that if you had time or something you could link my name at the top. Not that I’m trying to use your blog for my own benefit, because I’m not. I wouldn’t want you to think that because it’s the farthest thing from true. I don’t want people to think that you always give me a link because you don’t. Only sometimes. Anyway… whatever. Do it if you want. I’m not making you. I don’t even care. Just forget it. Or don’t. It’d be cool if you didn’t forget. Maybe just if you had a minute. Okay. Bye.

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