Montaigne considered conversation as the “most fruitful and natural exercise for our minds.” Conversation became indeed a favorite exercise in French salons, most notably around Madame de Rambouillet (17th century), Madame du Deffand (18th century), and Madame de Staël (19th century). This natural penchant for causeries not only permeated the whole society, it also impregnated other forms of representation. Magritte’s “Art of conversation” where stone letter blocks spell out a capital “RÊVE,” is reminiscent of a political utopia conversation embodies. In this course, students will both examine and practice the French art of conversation. Tuesday classes will be devoted to the study of conversation as an object of cultural and philological inquiry, while Friday classes will allow students to strengthen their own conversational skills in French, on a variety of topics, through role plays, dialogues, acting exercises, discussions, debates and presentations. Intermediate-high. Conducted in French.
Corequisite: Students must attend at least two Language Series events (Mondays, 7:00pm – 8:00pm)