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French lessons : a memoir

Author: Alice Yaeger Kaplan
Publisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1993.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
"Brilliantly uniting the personal and the critical, French Lessons is a powerful autobiographical experiment. It tells the story of an American woman escaping into the French language and of a scholar and teacher coming to grips with her history of learning. Kaplan begins with a distinctly American quest for an imaginary France of the intelligence. But soon her infatuation with all things French comes up against the  Read more...
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Genre/Form: Biographies
Biography
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Kaplan, Alice Yaeger.
French lessons.
Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 1993
(OCoLC)624394204
Named Person: Alice Yaeger Kaplan; Alice Yaeger Kaplan; Alice Kaplan
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Alice Yaeger Kaplan
ISBN: 0226424189 9780226424187
OCLC Number: 27725434
Description: 221 pages ; 21 cm
Contents: Part One. Before I Knew French --
Part Two. Getting It --
Part Three. Getting It Right --
Part Four. Revisions. First Words --
The Last Summer at Wildhurst Road --
Loss --
Leaving --
Boarding School in Switzerland --
Spring Break in France --
Coming Home --
Andre --
Micheline --
Celine --
In Search of the French "R" --
Tenses --
Guy, de Man, and Me --
The Trouble with Edna --
The Interview --
Returning Home.
Responsibility: Alice Kaplan.
More information:

Abstract:

Kpalan recounts a childhood in which disturbing reminders of the old world--her grandmother's lapses into Yiddish and Hebrew; photos from the Nuremberg trials--prepared her for the exile, and with it  Read more...

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"This original, artful, engaging book belongs to an evolving genre of postmodern intellectual autobiography. Telling her story about a girl from the midwest who learned to speak perfect French, a Read more...

 
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    schema:description ""Brilliantly uniting the personal and the critical, French Lessons is a powerful autobiographical experiment. It tells the story of an American woman escaping into the French language and of a scholar and teacher coming to grips with her history of learning. Kaplan begins with a distinctly American quest for an imaginary France of the intelligence. But soon her infatuation with all things French comes up against the dark, unimagined recesses of French political and cultural life. The daughter of a Jewish lawyer who prosecuted Nazi war criminals at Nuremburg, Kaplan grew up in the 1960s in the Midwest. After her father's death when she was seven, French became her way of "leaving home" and finding herself in another language and culture. In spare, midwestern prose, by turns intimate and wry, Kaplan describes how, as a student in a Swiss boarding school and later in a junior year abroad in Bordeaux, she passionately sought the French "r," attentively honed her accent, and learned the idioms of her French lover. When, as a graduate student, her passion for French culture turned to the elegance and sophistication of its intellectual life, she found herself drawn to the language and style of the novelist Louis-Ferdinand Celine. At the same time she was repulsed by his anti-Semitism. At Yale in the late 70s, during the heyday of deconstruction she chose to transgress its apolitical purity and work on a subject "that made history impossible to ignore:" French fascist intellectuals. Kaplan's discussion of the "de Man affair" -- the discovery that her brilliant and charismatic Yale professor had written compromising articles for the pro-Nazi Belgian press--and her personal account of the paradoxes of deconstruction are among the most compelling available on this subject. French Lessons belongs in the company of Sartre's Words and the memoirs of Nathalie Sarraute, Annie Ernaux, and Eva Hoffman. No book so engrossingly conveys both the excitement of learning and the moral dilemmas of the intellectual life"--Publisher description."@en ;
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