Marcel Proust the Master of Questions

The following questions were made famous by Marcel Proust in the 1890s. I have decided to attempt them myself – here are my answers.

Your favourite virtue?

Honesty and especially intellectual honesty.

Your favourite qualities in a man?

Intelligence, sensitivity, kindness and loyalty – all the traits which make for a great friend.

Your favourite qualities in a woman?

As above, plus tomboyishness with underlying femininity.

Your chief characteristic?


The characteristics you appreciate most in friends?

Loyalty, honesty, kindness and supportiveness in times of trouble. A good sense of humour helps as well.

Your main fault?

Expecting too much of myself and of others

Your favourite occupation?


Your idea of happiness?

Being rid of depression. If not, then feeling as though I were able to achieve all my goals – and more importantly, knowing what that is

Your idea of misery?

Being stuck forever with people who are never on your wavelength

If not yourself who would you like to be?

A millionaire recluse

Your ideal place to live?

I’m happy in the UK but it would be nice to live in a different part of it. Ideally in a house large enough to accommodate a small but comfortable library and office. I’m working on it!

Your favourite colour and flower?

Colour – green especially emerald green. Or black. I also like turquoise and blue. Flowers don’t like me I’m afraid, as I get hayfever but orchids are nice.

Your favourite prose authors?

There’s too many to name individually but some are George Orwell, Douglas Adams, John Wyndham. Oscar Wilde, Bertrand Russell, Franz Kafka, Christopher Hitchens, Neil Gaiman, Alan Moore and Stephen King…

Your favourite poets?

Again, far too many to mention. Off the top of my head – Sylvia Plath, Philip Larkin, Ted Hughes, Wilfred Owen, TS Eliot, William Blake, Siegfried Sassoon, Thomas Hardy…

Your favourite heroes in fiction?

Mr Toad (Wind in the Willows), Charlie Gordon (Flowers for Algernon)

Your favourite heroines in fiction?

Offred (the Handmaid’s Tale)

Your favourite heroes / heroines in real life?

Anyone who helps others and tries to make their lives better and not worse.

Your favourite painters?

Magritte, Leonardo (for the drawings), Bosch, Breughel, Goya, Velasquez…

Your favourite composers?

JS Bach is my absolute favourite but I like lots.

Your favourite food and drink?

Earl Grey tea. Chocolate.

Your favourite names?

Alex, Beatrice, Imogen, Tara…

Things you hate the most?

Where do we start? Dishonesty especially intellectual dishonesty, cruelty, bullying, war-mongering, vacuity, fundamentalism, smug-self indulgent postmodernism, cliques, people with no moral compass…

Historical figures you despise?

I’ll pick pre-20th Century ones to give a more interesting answer than just ‘Hitler’ ‘Stalin’ etc. Okay… Torquemada, Henry VIII, James I, all despots, nutty fundamentalists and purveyors of douchebaggery.

The military event you most admire?


The reform you most admire?

In the UK? The creation of the NHS.

The natural talent you would most want to possess?

Genius-level intellect

Your present state of mind?


How you wish to die?

Peacefully, in my sleep.

The fault for which have you most tolerance?

Self-indulgent melancholy

Your favourite motto?

If it’s important to you then it’s important


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