Proust Questionnaire- Dr. Magdelyn Helwig


The Proust Questionnaire is a popular form of interview, developed by French writer, Marcel Proust, that is focused on the interviewees personality. It is popularly used by Vanity Fair. A reoccurring segment on The Mirror and the Lamp, our questionnaire will focus on getting to know the WIU English Department’s students and faculty members. 

Dr. Magdelyn Helwig is an Assistant Professor and the Writing Program Director at WIU. She received her PhD in English Language and Literature from the University of Maryland, College Park.

Who are your favorite writers?

Ted Hughes, William Faulkner, Marianne Moore, Elizabeth Bishop, Margaret Atwood, Wallace Stevens, Frank O’Hara, Geraldine Brooks, Eugene O’Neill, Iain Pears, C.J. Sansom, Tennessee Williams, Emily Dickinson, Kurt Vonnegut, T. S. Eliot, Toni Morrison

Who is your favorite hero/heroine of fiction?

Offred (the narrator of The Handmaid’s Tale)

Who are your heroes in real life?

My mom and Eleanor Roosevelt

What is your idea of perfect happiness?

Beach + Book

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Queen Elizabeth I

What is the trait you most loathe in yourself?  


What is the trait you most loathe in others?


What do you enjoy most about WIU?

The fabulous students!

Describe Macomb in one word?


What is your dream occupation?

Rare book archivist

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My mom

Which talent would you most like to have?  

The ability to carry a tune (and thus play an instrument…)

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Completing my Ph.D.

What is your motto?

Nolite te bastardes carborundorum (Don’t let the bastards grind you down)

What is your current state of mind?


If you were to die and come back as a person or thing, what do you think it would be?

A book

If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?

A cat

How would you like to die?

“Oh starry starry night! This is how

I want to die:


into that rushing beast of the night,

sucked up by that great dragon, to split

from my life with no flag,

no belly,

no cry.”

-Anne Sexton