Playtime with Proust

April 12, 2014

Quizzes have long been a source of social entertainment, from parlour games in the times of Marcel Proust and Oscar Wilde to present day airport lounge diversions in the pages of Cosmo. One, long-standing in popularity, has come to be known as the Proust Questionnaire and is determined to honestly reveal the character traits and interests of its participant. Though the questionnaire takes the name of Marcel Proust, he was an enthusiastic and witty test-taker rather than the actual creator.

The Proust Questionnaire has come to be used in modern times by a number of talk show hosts, famously by James Lipton of Inside the Actors Studio who asks each guest to complete an adapted version at the end of his or her interview. CBC Radio’s The Next Chapter also poses a few of the questions to its guest Writers.

Since 1993, the last page of each issue of Vanity Fair magazine has been devoted to The Proust Questionnaire featuring a different celebrity’s responses each time. The best of these pages were collected into a book by VF editor Graydon Carter. Great reading entertainment! You can also link to the magazine’s Proust page here and read a few samples.

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So are you intrigued enough now to want to answer your own Proust Questionnaire? Here it is!

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
What is your greatest fear?
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Which living person do you most admire?
What is your greatest extravagance?
What is your current state of mind?
What do you consider the most overrated virtue?
On what occasion do you lie?
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
Which living person do you most despise?
What is the quality you most like in a man?
What is the quality you most like in a woman?
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
When and where were you happiest?
Which talent would you most like to have?
If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
If you were to die and come back as a person or a thing, what would it be?
Where would you most like to live?
What is your most treasured possession?
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery?
What is your favorite occupation?
What is your most marked characteristic?
What do you most value in your friends?
Who are your favorite writers?
Who is your hero of fiction?
Which historical figure do you most identify with?
Who are your heroes in real life?
What are your favorite names?
What is it that you most dislike?
What is your greatest regret?
How would you like to die?
What is your motto?

The September Issues

August 23, 2011

The days may be sunny and warm but in the next few weeks a chill will settle in the evenings and thoughts will lead to sweater weather again. An end of summer ritual for many is spending time with the September issues. Traditionally, the September issues of fashion magazines, appearing in mid-August, have the greatest sales and the most significant heft of the year.  The record breaking edition was September 2007’s American Vogue magazine at some 840 pages, weighing in at over 5 pounds. Advertisers have been a bit harder to come by in recent years but Vogue’s 758 pages this year is still impressive. Understandably, the cover model is an important decision for these issues. September 2011 will see the following:

Vogue (US edition) – Kate Moss

In Style – Beyonce

Elle (US)– Gwyneth Paltrow

Harper’s Bazaar – Lea Michele

Vanity Fair – Jennifer Lopez

For entertaining insight into the behind the scenes development of not only a magazine, but one of these iconic issues, view The September Issue. This documentary follows Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of American Vogue, during the entire process. View the trailer here and then plan to hoist a big September issue onto your lap and snuggle up to watch the DVD on a cool late summer evening.

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