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.
At the end of the nineteenth century, when Proust was still in his teens, he answered a questionnaire in an English-language confession album belonging to his friend Antoinette, daughter of future French President Félix Faure, entitled "An Album to Record Thoughts, Feelings, etc." At that time, it was a fad among English families to answer such a list of questions that revealed the tastes and aspirations of the taker.
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. It was auctioned on May 27, 2003 for the sum of €102,000.
The following are my responses to The Proust Questionnaire; the questions are based on those featured in the monthly Vanity Fair Magazine to which notable celebrities respond.
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
To be at the beach at about 5:00 in the afternoon at the end of a gloriously beautiful day. It's what I call my Nate Fisher mood.
What is your greatest fear?
Debility in old age.
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Which living person do you most admire?
The Justice Department will not allow me to answer that question.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Two traits are tied for first place: intolerance and exploitiveness.
What is your favorite journey?
From Washington, D.C. to Atlantic City.
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
Goodness. I don't even know what that means. Republicans think President W. Bush was good. So what does it mean to be good?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
"According to Freud . . . "
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
When and where were you happiest?
On the beach in Atlantic City at about 5:00 in the afternoon at the end of a gloriously beautiful day. Also, sitting on a park bench with my friend Craig and talking about nothing.
Which talent would you most like to have?
To play the piano -- well.
What is your current state of mind?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
My book, Significant Moments.
What is your most treasured possession?
I don't value earthly possessions. So I would have to say my mind.
Where would you like to live?
What is your favorite occupation?
Listening to music.
What is your most marked characteristic?
What do you most value in your friends?
I don't have any friends. But if I did, I would value tolerance.
How would you like to die.
If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
I like my life. I'd like to do it all over again.
What is your motto?
If you feel you've gotten screwed, make a fuss.