Confession Album…

Proust’s Questionnaire
A century before today’s popular personality quizzes, Victorian “confession albums” served essentially the same role, presenting a series of simple questions designed to reveal the respondent’s sensibility and aspirations. In the 1880s, teenage Marcel Proust was given one such questionnaire by his friend Antoinette, the daughter of France’s then-president, which he promptly answered. The original manuscript, titled “by Marcel Proust himself,” lay dormant for decades, until it was discovered in 1924, two years after the writer’s death. Half a century later, French television host Bernard Pivot resurrected the questionnaire as a backbone for his literary interviews. In 1993, Vanity Fair transplanted the tradition to the last page of the magazine, which began featuring various public figure’s answers to the Proust Questionnaire – Maria Popova

 

      1. What is your idea of perfect happiness? Sharing confidences with a friend or stranger over wine
      2. What is the trait you most deplore in others? Arrogance and cruelty
      3. What is your greatest extravagance? Silk clothing and art materials
      4. What is your favorite journey? To a place where people I love are
      5. What do you dislike most about your appearance? Sun damage
      6. What or who is the greatest love of your life? My family including my three amazing children
      7. When and where were you happiest? Dancing with friends, staying up till dawn, making love outdoors
      8. What talent would you most like to have? Singing
      9. What is your current state of mind? Wishing I had more time to fulfill my dreams!
      10. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I would get more done!
      11. What do you consider your greatest achievement? Switching careers mid-life and not ever being afraid to try new things 
      12. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Loneliness when you are in a crowd of people 
      13. What is your favorite occupation? Painting, especially when I am putting the finishing touches to something that has worked out really well
      14. What is your most marked characteristic? Compassion
      15. What do you most value in your friends? The time that they give me
      16. Who are your favorite writers? Donna Tartt – I reread The Secret History once a year, Anne Tyler – the stories she tells, Tove Jansson –  her stories and art
      17. Who is your favorite fictional hero? Moomin/Moomintroll
      18. Who are your heroes in real life? Those who fight injustice against children and animals
      19. What is it that you most dislike? Having cold feet
      20. How would you like to die? In bed in my old old old age
      21. What is your motto? Never too late!