I’m not a great fan of Christopher Hitchen, whose rabid antipathy towards religion in all its forms reveals him to be scrabbling for personal recognition despite being grey and amorphous, which were he to read this, would enrage him. The ‘Proust Questionnaire’ which he devised with colleagues at ‘Vanity Fair’ is engaging enough for a general reader to amuse himself with. I’ve omitted the more fatuous questions like “what is my favourite colour/bird?” Who cares if I happen to like duck-egg blue or vultures? Hitchen’s own responses are here. Mine, much less clever, less ironic, more monosyllabic, for amusement only, are appended. Those who know me well can draw their own conclusions.
What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Being without intellectual stimulus of any kind. Also, the prospect of no sex for the rest of my life
Where would you like to live? Wherever those who love me live. Alternatively, a log cabin in Montana or a beach in Fiji. Perhaps both.
What is your idea of earthly happiness? Feeling close to God, and satisfied with my day’s work.
To what faults do you feel most indulgent? Impatience. Especially my own
Who are your favorite heroes of fiction? Sherlock Holmes, Mr Micawber, Sydney Carton, Ivan Denisovich, Winston Smith
Who are your favorite characters in history? Galileo, Newton, Kierkegaard, Einstein
Who are your favorite heroines in real life? Mary Magdalene, Gladys Aylward, the Missionaries of Charity.
Who are your favorite heroines of fiction? Emma Bovary, Anna Karenina, Moll Flanders – why are they all whores?
Your favorite painter? Titian, Botticelli, Frederick Sandys, Klimt.
Your favorite musician? William Byrd, Gabriel Faure, Antonio Vivaldi, Claudio Monteverdi
The quality you most admire in a man? Fortitude
The quality you most admire in a woman? Serenity
Your favorite virtue? Patience
Your least favorite virtue, or nominee for the most overrated one? Self-control. Causes high blood pressure
Your proudest achievement? I don’t know. Most achievements are little more than wood, hay and stubble.
Your favorite occupation? Travel
Who would you have liked to be? Leonardo (da Vinci, not the other one)
Your most marked characteristic? Ask those who know me
What do you most value in your friends? Loyalty
What is your principal defect? Pessimism
What to your mind would be the greatest of misfortunes? Being in the wrong place at the wrong time
What would you like to be? A writer
What word or expression do you most overuse? ‘Of course’
Who are your favorite poets? Keats, Byron, Goethe, Schiller
What are your favorite names? Leo, Gabriel, Charis
What is it you most dislike? Pomposity, self-importance, especially in politics
Which historical figures do you most despise? Goebbels, Napoleon, Caiaphas
Which contemporary figures do you most despise? Osama bin Laden
Which events in military history do you most admire? Spartans at Thermopylae
Which natural gift would you most like to possess? Empathy
How would you like to die? Ready
What do you most dislike about your appearance? My nose
What is your motto? Nil desperandum
You can do it yourself if you like. The original, considerably more self-indulgent version is here. The image is Sandys’ “Mary Magdalene” for obvious reasons.