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 will uncover 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.
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.