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T h e  P r o u s t  Q u e s t i o n n a i r e  A r c h i v e

a tapestry of memories and thoughts and emotions


...and my mind struggled in an unsuccessful attempt to discover where I was,
everything would be moving round me through the darkness: things, places, years.

Marcel Proust, Swann's Way

2514 participants submitted answers
Fill out the Proust Questionnaire

The young Marcel Proust was asked to fill out questionnaires at two social events: one when he was 13, another when he was 20. Proust did not invent this party game; he was simply the most extraordinary person to respond to them. At the birthday party of Antoinette Felix-Faure, the 13-year-old Marcel was asked to answer fifteen questions in the birthday book. Seven years after the first questionnaire, Proust was asked, at another social event, to fill out another; the questions are much the same, but the answers somewhat different, indicative of his traits at 20.

In the back pages of Vanity Fair (and in fact in a number of other periodicals in different countries) each month, readers can find The Proust Questionnaire, a closely related set of questions posed to famous subjects about their lives, thoughts, values and experience. This page offers you the opportunity to answer the same questions Proust answered and to make your answers known to the world (they will be posted on this Web site) and, just like Marcel Proust's answers, to preserve them for posterity (your answers will be archived at the Internet Archive and a copy will be kept at the New Library of Alexandria in Egypt; allow for a delay of twelve to eighteen months before your answers will appear in the archives). Fill out the questionnaire multiple times to document how your attitudes and opinions changed (this is intended to be a long term project). You don't need to answer all the questions. Upload an image to be displayed with your answers if you wish. The answers given by each participant will appear on separate Web pages which you will be able to link to from your blog or Web site (URL of your answers: http://hoelder1in.org/Proust/<your name>_<timestamp>.html). Use the commenting function at the bottom of each page to get in touch with other participants.

Read the answers submitted by other participants, or proceed to answer the questions:

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Questionnaire Proust filled out at age 13:

What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
Proust: To be separated from Mama
Your answer:
Where would you like to live?
Proust: In the country of the Ideal, or, rather, of my ideal
Your answer:
What is your idea of earthly happiness?
Proust: To live in contact with those I love, with the beauties of nature, with a quantity of books and music, and to have, within easy distance, a French theater
Your answer:
To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
Proust: To a life deprived of the works of genius
Your answer:
Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
Proust: Those of romance and poetry, those who are the expression of an ideal rather than an imitation of the real
Your answer:
Who are your favorite characters in history?
Proust: A mixture of Socrates, Pericles, Mahomet, Pliny the Younger and Augustin Thierry
Your answer:
Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
Proust: A woman of genius leading an ordinary life
Your answer:
Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
Proust: Those who are more than women without ceasing to be womanly; everything that is tender, poetic, pure and in every way beautiful
Your answer:
Your favorite painter?
Proust: Meissonier
Your answer:
Your favorite musician?
Proust: Mozart
Your answer:
The quality you most admire in a man?
Proust: Intelligence, moral sense
Your answer:
The quality you most admire in a woman?
Proust: Gentleness, naturalness, intelligence
Your answer:
Your favorite virtue?
Proust: All virtues that are not limited to a sect: the universal virtues
Your answer:
Your favorite occupation?
Proust: Reading, dreaming, and writing verse
Your answer:
Who would you have liked to be?
Proust: Since the question does not arise, I prefer not to answer it. All the same, I should very much have liked to be Pliny the Younger.
Your answer:

Questionnaire Proust filled out at age 20:

Questions which are identical or nearly identical to questions from the previous questionnaire were omitted.
Your most marked characteristic?
Proust: A craving to be loved, or, to be more precise, to be caressed and spoiled rather than to be admired
Your answer:
What do you most value in your friends?
Proust: Tenderness - provided they possess a physical charm which makes their tenderness worth having
Your answer:
What is your principle defect?
Proust: Lack of understanding; weakness of will
Your answer:
What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
Proust: Never to have known my mother or my grandmother
Your answer:
What would you like to be?
Proust: Myself - as those whom I admire would like me to be
Your answer:
What is your favorite color?
Proust: Beauty lies not in colors but in their harmony
Your answer:
What is your favorite flower?
Proust: Hers - but apart from that, all
Your answer:
What is your favorite bird?
Proust: The swallow
Your answer:
Who are your favorite prose writers?
Proust: At the moment, Anatole France and Pierre Loti
Your answer:
Who are your favorite poets?
Proust: Baudelaire and Alfred de Vigny
Your answer:
Who are your heroes in real life?
Proust: Monsieur Darlu, Monsieur Boutroux (professors)
Your answer:
Who are your favorite heroines of history?
Proust: Cleopatra
Your answer:
What are your favorite names?
Proust: I only have one at a time
Your answer:
What is it you most dislike?
Proust: My own worst qualities
Your answer:
What historical figures do you most despise?
Proust: I am not sufficiently educated to say
Your answer:
What event in military history do you most admire?
Proust: My own enlistment as a volunteer!
Your answer:
What natural gift would you most like to possess?
Proust: Will power and irresistible charm
Your answer:
How would you like to die?
Proust: A better man than I am, and much beloved
Your answer:
What is your present state of mind?
Proust: Annoyance at having to think about myself in order to answer these questions
Your answer:
What is your motto?
Proust: I prefer not to say, for fear it might bring me bad luck.
Your answer:

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