I am beyond excited about this forthcoming book, Vanity Fair's Proust Questionnaire: 101 Luminaries Ponder Love, Death, Happiness, and the Meaning of Life.
Since July 1993, the back page of Vanity Fair has been devoted to the Proust Questionnaire, in which a noteworthy person answers a series of personal questions. The questionnaire has its origins in a parlor game popularized (though not devised) by Marcel Proust (1871–1922), the French essayist and novelist, who believed that, in answering these questions, an individual reveals his or her true nature.Check it out! It's the original meme! And it's not a bunch of silly questions about your favorite color or your dog's middle name. This is serious business. These are questions that will reveal your true nature, for goodness sake, which is why I think we should all get busy answering the questions right away. I know, I know. Another meme, right? But this one is the real deal, used long before teenagers started making up Facebook memes on the Internetz. And, since it will reveal your true nature, allegedly, it may save you many years and many thousands of dollars in therapy (or, alternatively, could compel you to seek therapy, I guess).
For inspiration, you can find the interviews conducted between 2005 and 2009 on VF's website. Among my favorites are Jasper Johns, Julie Andrews, and (ha!) Marcel Proust's own answers to the questionnaire.
If you do answer these questions, please let me know! I'd love to put together a post with links to all of our questionnaire answers.
The Proust Questionnaire is after the jump, if you dare!
1. What is your idea of perfect happiness?
2. What is your greatest fear?
3. What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
4. What is the trait you most deplore in others?
5. Which living person do you most admire?
6. What is your greatest extravagance?
7. What is your current state of mind?
8. What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
9. On what occasion do you lie?
10. What do you most dislike about your appearance?
11. Which living person do you most despise?
12. What is the quality you most like in a man?
13. What is the quality you most like in a woman?
14. Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
15. What or who is the greatest love of your life?
16. When and where were you happiest?
17. Which talent would you most like to have?
18. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
19. What do you consider your greatest achievement?
20. If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
21. Where would you most like to live?
22. What is your most treasured possession?
23. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
24. What is your favorite occupation?
25. What is your most marked characteristic?
26. What do you most value in your friends?
27. Who are your favorite writers?
28. Who is your hero of fiction?
29. Which historical figure do you most identify with?
30. Who are your heroes in real life?
31. What are your favorite names?
32. What is it that you most dislike?
33. What is your greatest regret?
34. How would you like to die?
35. What is your motto?