Friday, September 03, 2004

Hi Sad Goat...This is Helen from beautiful downtown Barnwell....

I was listening to Richardson's Roundup this afternoon...well...The Roundup (enjoy your new pursuit, Mr. Richardson). They kept mentioning 'The Proust Questionaire'. So, I looked it up. Evidently, Marcel Proust (July 1871 - November 1922) was asked to fill out a questionaire at two points of his life...once when he was 13 and attending the birthday party of Antoinette Felix-Faure (which went as follows):


What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
- To be separated from Mama

Where would you like to live?
- In the country of the Ideal, or, rather, of my ideal

What is your idea of earthly happiness?
- 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

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
- To a life deprived of the works of genius

Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
- Those of romance and poetry, those who are the expression of an ideal rather than an imitation of the real

Who are your favorite characters in history?
- A mixture of Socrates, Pericles, Mahomet, Pliny the Younger and Augustin Thierry

Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
- A woman of genius leading an ordinary life

Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
- Those who are more than women without ceasing to be womanly; everything that is tender, poetic, pure and in every way beautiful

Your favorite painter?
- Meissonier

Your favorite musician?
- Mozart

The quality you most admire in a man?
- Intelligence, moral sense

The quality you most admire in a woman?
- Gentleness, naturalness, intelligence

Your favorite virtue?
- All virtues that are not limited to a sect: the universal virtues

Your favorite occupation?
- Reading, dreaming, and writing verse

Who would you have liked to be?
- 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.


"A woman of genius leading an ordinary life"
Shit damn...he would have ~loved~ me....hehehehehe

Seriously, though....did ~all~ educated thirteen year olds of that era answer questions like that? I mean...hell. Okay, I'm sure not ~all~ of them did, but I'm 31 and have answered dozens of questionaires in my lifetime. I'm not fantastically educated or anything...but I have a difficult time when asked what my favourite food is. years later, our hero is at another social event and asked to fill out a similar questionaire:


Your most marked characteristic?
- A craving to be loved, or, to be more precise, to be caressed and spoiled rather than to be admired

The quality you most like in a man?
- Feminine charm

The quality you most like in a woman?
- A man's virtues, and frankness in friendship

What do you most value in your friends?
- Tenderness - provided they possess a physical charm which makes their tenderness worth having

What is your principle defect?
- Lack of understanding; weakness of will

What is your favorite occupation?
- Loving

What is your dream of happiness?
- Not, I fear, a very elevated one. I really haven't the courage to say what it is, and if I did I should probably destroy it by the mere fact of putting it into words.

What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
- Never to have known my mother or my grandmother

What would you like to be?
- Myself - as those whom I admire would like me to be

In what country would you like to live?
- One where certain things that I want would be realized - and where feelings of tenderness would always be reciprocated.

What is your favorite color?
- Beauty lies not in colors but in thier harmony

What is your favorite flower?
- Hers - but apart from that, all

What is your favorite bird?
- The swallow

Who are your favorite prose writers?
- At the moment, Anatole France and Pierre Loti

Who are your favoite poets?
- Baudelaire and Alfred de Vigny

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
- Hamlet

Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
- Phedre (crossed out) Berenice

Who are your favorite composers?
- Beethoven, Wagner, Shuhmann

Who are your favorite painters?
- Leonardo da Vinci, Rembrandt

Who are your heroes in real life?
- Monsieur Darlu, Monsieur Boutroux (professors)

Who are your favorite heroines of history?
- Cleopatra

What are your favorite names?
- I only have one at a time

What is it you most dislike?
- My own worst qualities

What historical figures do you most despise?
- I am not sufficiently educated to say

What event in military history do you most admire?
- My own enlistment as a volunteer!

What reform do you most admire?
- (no response)

What natural gift would you most like to possess?
- Will power and irresistible charm

How would you like to die?
- A better man than I am, and much beloved

What is your present state of mind?
- Annoyance at having to think about myself in order to answer these questions

To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
- Those that I understand

What is your motto?
- I prefer not to say, for fear it might bring me bad luck.


I think I ought to start reading Proust...

(though...he did like Wagner...hmm)

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