imomus (imomus) wrote,

The Proust Questionnaire

On the occasion of my return from America to Europe, I decided, just for fun, but as sincerely as possible, to answer the Questionnaire Marcel Proust administered to himself at the age of 13.

1. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
PROUST (aged 13): To be separated from Mama.
MOMUS: To lose any sense of one's own value, and the world's.

2. Where would you like to live?
PROUST (aged 13): In the country of the Ideal, or, rather, of my ideal.
MOMUS: Tokyo.

3. What is your idea of earthly happiness?
PROUST (aged 13): 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.
MOMUS: Having my back scratched. Possibly in a house designed for me by Atelier Bow Wow, but it's not crucial.

4. To what faults do you feel most indulgent?
PROUST (aged 13): To a life deprived of the works of genius.
MOMUS: Sartorial eccentricity, sexual perversity, popinjay pretension and the generous side of exoticization.

5. Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
PROUST (aged 13): Those of romance and poetry, those who are the expression of an ideal rather than an imitation of the real.
MOMUS: Sherlock Holmes, Tintin, Don Quixote, Tristram Shandy, Mr Palomar, Marco Polo.

6. Who are your favorite characters in history?
PROUST (aged 13): A mixture of Socrates, Pericles, Mahomet, Pliny the Younger and Augustin Thierry.
MOMUS: Siddhartha Gotama, Sei Shonagon and Epicurus.

7. Who are your favorite heroines in real life?
PROUST (aged 13): A woman of genius leading an ordinary life.
MOMUS: Japanese art and design students.

8. Who are your favorite heroines of fiction?
PROUST (aged 13): Those who are more than women without ceasing to be womanly; everything that is tender, poetic, pure and in every way beautiful.
MOMUS: The Bilitis of Pierre Louÿs and the Juliette of Shakespeare.

9. Your favorite painter?
PROUST (aged 13): Meissonier.
MOMUS: Paul Klee.

10. Your favorite musician?
PROUST (aged 13): Mozart.
MOMUS: John Cage.

11. The quality you most admire in a man?
PROUST (aged 13): Intelligence, moral sense.
MOMUS: Compassionate thoughtfulness.

12. The quality you most admire in a woman?
PROUST (aged 13): Gentleness, naturalness, intelligence.
MOMUS: Refined playfulness.

13. Your favorite virtue?
PROUST (aged 13): All virtues that are not limited to a sect: the universal virtues.
MOMUS: Remaining interested in things. I mean the right things, not sweepstakes sudoku.

14. Your favorite occupation?
PROUST (aged 13): Reading, dreaming, and writing verse.
MOMUS: Bathing in a Japanese hot spring.

15. Who would you have liked to be?
PROUST (aged 13): 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.
MOMUS: If I'm allowed to be a god, then Amaterasu, the Japanese sun goddess. If I have to be a man, Li Po. But I can think of few lives better than the one I've had as Momus.

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