In the tradition of Bringing up Bebe and French Toast, Cathy Yandell's The French Art of Living Well is a delightful look at French culture, from literature to cuisine to humor and more, showing how the French have captured that magic elixir known as joie de vivre.
What is joie de vivre, and why is it a fundamentally French concept?
In search of those ineffable qualities that make up the joy of living, this lively book takes readers on a voyage to France through forays into literature, history, and culture. How does art contribute to daily life? Why is cuisine such a central part of French existence? Why are the French more physical than many other cultures? How do French attitudes toward time speak volumes about their sense of pleasure and celebration? And finally, to what extent is this zest for life exportable? These and other questions give way to a dynamic sketch of French life today.
Peppered with anecdotes and humor, this book uncovers some of the secrets of the celebrated French art of living well. Drawing from her years of living in France as a student, professor, and mother, Yandell crafts an honest and profound appraisal of French culture and how la joie de vivre can be developed in anyone’s life.
About the Author
Cathy Yandell is a professor at Carleton College, teaching courses in French Renaissance literature and culture, contemporary cultural and political issues in France, and the French language. Having published articles on writers from Louise Labé to Montaigne, she has also authored, edited, and co-edited several books including Carpe Corpus: Time and Gender in Early Modern France, Vieillir à la Renaissance, and Memory and Community in Sixteenth-Century France. In 2019, she was knighted by the French government into the Order of Academic Palms. When not buried in books, she loves dance, yoga, and flying trapeze. The French Art of Living Well is her first book for a general audience.
“The book is not a typical memoir of an American in Paris...A largely witty and often highbrow look at the French exuberance for life.” –Kirkus Reviews
“Yandell’s personal accounts offer fun glimpses into French life, and her commentary on national character and culture is well observed. Francophiles, take note." —Publishers Weekly
"A wonderful celebration of and guide to the many joys of life in contemporary France...Yandell provides first time visitors as well as dedicated Francophiles with a host of ideas for ways to deepen their understanding of this rich, complex and diverse culture." -Janet Hulstrand, author of Demystifying the French
“[An] erudite book sprinkled with amusing and informative personal anecdotes...Yandell manages to capture the uncapturable by showing the multitude of ways the French find joy in a culture where even the simplest things are celebrated.” -Harriet Welty Rochefort, bestselling author of French Toast and Joie de Vivre
"This book is a delight, a high-spirited portrait of a culture that does indeed embody joy and possibility...Yandell knows France, having lived, studied, and taught there over the course of several decades...lives up to the joie de vivre of its subtitle." --Susan Cahill, author of Sacred Paris and The Streets of Paris