Harrock n roll
Posted: 10 Jun 2020 13:40
Browsing through some old copies of the Tintin Journal the other day I came across a questionnaire that Hergé had answered. This was based on the 'Proust Questionnaire', which was a set of questions devised by the French writer Marcel Proust and had its origins in a Victorian parlour game.
Pierre Assouline's book, Hergé, The Man Who Created Tintin mentions this questionnaire, citing it as an example of Hergé's habit of revisionism. Personally, I think this is little unfair. Hergé was someone meticulous and perfectionist, it was just in his nature to get things right. He may not have always first time but he strove to correct things, and we can see that same trait in his work throughout his life.
Hergé's questionnaire was originally published in 1970 (I believe, although I have no other source about its origin other than Pierre Assouline's book). I have taken the below from a Tintin Journal from 1976 (which also has the debut of Picaros) and I think it was also further improved by Hergé at the time! It's quite revealing and fun.
The translation is my own!
What is, for you, the height of misery?
HERGÉ: Being sick, poor and alone.
Where would you like to live?
HERGÉ: In Rome or London, which doesn't stop me from being happy in Brussels.
Your ideal of earthly happiness?
HERGÉ: Living in peace with myself and with others.
For which faults do you have the most leniency?
HERGÉ: Speling mistakes * .
(* note, Hergé uses 'Hortaugraffes', which is a miss-spelling of the word 'spelling', in French 'orthographe').
Who are the heroes of the novel that you prefer?
HERGÉ: Angelo, in "The Horseman on the Roof", by Giono, Fabrice del Dongo, in "The Charterhouse of Parma", by Stendhal. Not forgetting Athos, in "The Three Musketeers", by Dumas.
Who are your favourite historical figures?
HERGÉ: Marcus Aurelius, maybe ...
Your favourite heroines in real life
HERGÉ: All the anonymous women who dedicate their lives to relieving the miseries of others.
Your heroines in fiction?
HERGÉ: Melanie, in "Gone with the Wind", and Sanseverina, in "The Charterhouse of Parma".
Your favourite painter?
HERGÉ: Old: Botticelli. Current: Miró.
Your favourite musician?
HERGÉ: Erik Satie.
What is your favourite quality in humans?
What is your favourite quality in women?
HERGÉ: Kindness, combined with beauty.
Your favourite virtue?
HERGÉ: Loyalty (once again).
Your favourite occupation?
HERGÉ: Holidays in the sun.
Who would you have liked to be?
The main trait of your character?
HERGÉ: Curiosity and perfectionism.
The historical character you most despise ?
HERGÉ: ... Even with the worst, I wonder if I could have done better in their place!
The reform that you admire the most?
HERGÉ: That of the institutions.
Your main fault?
HERGÉ: I Believe I have them all!
The talent you would like to have?
HERGÉ: That of musical creation.
Your dream of happiness?
HERGÉ: A woman, friends, paintings, music ... and cats.
What would be your greatest misfortune?
HERGÉ: Losing my sight.
What would you like to be?
HERGÉ: I want nothing but to be myself.
How would you like to die?
HERGÉ: Peacefully .. and healthy!
Your present state of your mind?
HERGÉ: Relieved to be almost at the end of this questionnaire.
Which colour do you prefer?
HERGÉ: Do your best.
The flower you love?
HERGÉ: The rose.
The bird you prefer?
HERGÉ: The robin.
Your favourite prose writers?
HERGÉ: Balzac, Stendhal, Dickens, Proust (except his questionnaire!).
Your favourite poets?
HERGÉ: Villon, Verlaine.
Your heroes in real life?
HERGÉ: The "real" explorers: H. Tazieff. P.E. Victor, etc.
Your favourite names?
HERGÉ: Gloria, Patricia.
Your heroines in history?
HERGÉ: Elizabeth I of England.
What do you hate above all?