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Reflection: Questionnaire de Marcel Proust

Marcel Proust Questionnaire

I came upon this postcard the other day - a questionnaire that the French writer Marcel Proust answered in the late nineteenth century (twice - first when he was 13 then again at 20) revealing bits of his character, thoughts and dreams. The questions have been used and published many times in various forms, and I always find the interviewee's answers interesting, but I think what is especially intriguing and useful are our very own answers and how they change and evolve over time, with greater understanding and wisdom and experience. When faced with a challenge or personal dilemma, it helps to know who we are and what we believe in.

Some of the questions are just fun little facts, but others really get you thinking... have you tried answering them?

My principal character trait. 
The quality I desire most in a man. 
The quality I desire most in a woman. 
What I value most in my friends. 
My principal character weakness. 
My preferred activity. 
My idea of happiness. 
What would be my greatest misfortune.
What I would like to be.
The country where I would love to live. 
My favorite color. 
My favorite flower. 
My favorite bird. 
My favorite prose authors. 
My favorite poets. 
My favorite fictional heroes. 
My favorite fictional heroines. 
My favorite composers. 
My favorite painters. 
My real life heroes.
My heroines in history. 
My favorite names. 
What I detest more than anything. 
Character traits that I most despise.
Military act I admire the most.
Reform I admire the most.
A natural talent I would like to have.
How I would like to die. 
Current state of mind. 
Faults of which I am most tolerant.
My motto.



  1. I need to Google this and see what his answers were. If you think about it, they are well selected questions to give you a better insight into his life.

    1. Proust actually answered the questions twice, when he was 13 then again at 20. Very insightful, poetic answers... of course. Always enjoyed hearing the answers out of Lipton's Inside the Actor's Studio too.

  2. Whenever I receive my "Vanity Fair " I turn to the last page with the Proust Questionnaire! The best answer ever was by Annette Benning about her greatest achievment :" driving through town with a thirsty five-year old, a pissed -off two and a half year old , and a hungry newborn!" Sums it up nicely!
    I think it is helpful to find answers to some of the questions ....some are easy , some help you to reflect and re-consider.
    But I never read Prousts answers....I hope they are easier than some of his books!

    1. Hahaha! Such a great answer, thank you for sharing it Karen ...makes me want to read all the rest here:

      Am still searching for some of the answers myself.... I keep the questionnaire by my desk. Oh and I added a link to Proust's answers in the post :)

  3. These questions cover just about everything from the simple to the complex. I'm pondering how I would answer some of them. Hope you and the Family are well, Catherine.

  4. It is not easy to pick favorite things! :)

  5. I always liked the fact that they cover various aspects and go from (apparently) the simplest to the most complex aspects of who we are (who Proust was) and what makes us who we are really. I offered illustrator Anna Lisa Loffredo of to answer some of these questions for a post I wanted to write on her boutique's blog and in the end she answered with a drawing - interesting take on it, right?! Wishing you a beautiful day (sun sun sun)!

  6. Wonderful post. I'm sorry I didn't take this questionaire 30 years ago! I'd like to see how my answers have changed. Have a lovely week.

  7. I love stuff like this that causes you to think! Some of these I would not know how to answer! I agree that our answers evolve over the years.

  8. These questions do give one serious thoughts to consider. I plan to write down my answers and it would be interesting to compare to others, although everyone's would of course be different based on experiences, age, locale, etc. this was the first time I had seen these questions.

  9. Such a neat idea! I'd love to start recording answers. Would be a fun kind of thing to do with kids as they grow.


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