Friday, January 9, 2009

Proust in his first book wrote about

Apparently, personality surveys have been a fixture in western social circles for longer than I thought. I'd stumbled across one in Eric Fromm's Marx's Concept of Man, but I'd pegged that as a one-off. I'd thought they'd blossomed with the birth of online journals, myspace and the like. Not so, as this webpage illustrates. I've decided to take a crack at the Proust questionnaires.
  • What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
    Failure. More accurately, the crippling fear of failure.
  • Where would you like to live?
    The Midwest. A city.
  • What is your idea of earthly happiness?
    Surrounded by books, free to read and think and the like.
  • To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
  • Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
    Daniel Waterhouse, Odysseus, John Proctor, Creon.
  • Who are your favorite characters in history?
    Cicero, Cromwell, Lincoln, Grant, FDR.
  • Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
    Barbara Jordan, Rachel Maddow
  • Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
    Antigone, Cassandra, the Furies.
  • Your favorite painter?
  • Your favorite musician?
    I'll answer the classical one. Fuare
  • The quality you most admire in a man?
  • The quality you most admire in a woman?
  • Your favorite virtue?
  • Your favorite occupation?
  • Who would you have liked to be?
    Charles Stuart's lawyer - John Cooke
That was asked to Proust at 13. This was given to Proust at 20.
  • Your most marked characteristic?
  • The quality you most like in a man?
    Quality again? Loyalty.
  • The quality you most like in a woman?
      Proust's answer was too good; "frankness in friendship."
  • What do you most value in your friends?
    Their honesty
  • What is your principle defect?
    Arrogance coupled with fear.
  • What is your favorite occupation?
    Anything involving an alcoholic drink and a stack of books.
  • What is your dream of happiness?
    To love and to be loved.
  • What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes?
    To have been raised by different parents.
  • What would you like to be?
    Smarter and less fearful
  • In what country would you like to live?
    A Midwest that's proud of itself.
  • What is your favorite color?
  • What is your favorite flower?
    The peony. (Proust's answers for this and the above were unbearably fin de siecle).
  • What is your favorite bird?
    The Corbie.
  • Who are your favorite prose writers?
    George Orwell, W.E.B. Dubois and Neal Stephenson.
  • Who are your favoite poets?
    Hugh MacDiarmid, John Donne, Petrarch.
  • Who is your favorite hero of fiction?
    MacBeth, Odysseus, Daniel Waterhouse (I didn't look at my other answer for this)
  • Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
    Antigone, Cassandra.
  • Who are your favorite composers?
    Fuare, Wagner, Britten, Hayden
  • Who are your favorite painters?
    Hopper, Holbien.
  • Who are your heroes in real life?
    The Longhenries.
  • Who are your favorite heroines of history?
    Elenore Roosevelt, Admiral Hopper, Rachel Maddow
  • What is it you most dislike?
    Preying on fear
  • What historical figures do you most despise?
    The Stuart Kings, Jefferson Davis, the Demagogues of the 30's-40's
  • What event in military history do you most admire?
    The Anglo-Irish War (how to fight an insurgency) and the Malayan Emergency (how to defeat one)
  • What reform do you most admire?
    The 1965 Civil Rights Act
  • What natural gift would you most like to possess?
  • How would you like to die?
    Old age, extremely advanced. Or hypothermia.
  • What is your present state of mind?
    Sickness. An irritation at being pretentious enough to do this survey.
  • To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
  • What is your motto?
      Dum Spiro, Spero.

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