Montaigne considered conversations as the most fruitful and natural exercise for our minds. Conversations became indeed a favorite exercise in French salons, most notably around Madame de Rambouillet (17th century), Madame du Deffand (18th century), and Madame de Stal (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 RVE, is reminiscent of a political utopia conversation embodies. In this course, students will both study 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.