Your browser does not support this video. Michel Maffesoli, Au creux des apparences. Jacques Lacan, Ecrits II. Edition originale posthume. Pierre Bourdieu, Ce que parler veut dire. Friedrich Engels, Socialisme utopique et socialisme scientifique.
Dos bruni, papier jauni. Papier jauni.
Noise and Sound Reconciled: How London Clubs Shaped Conversation into a Social Art
Jean Baudrillard, La Transparence du Mal. Dos et plats salis. Edition originale. Tout y passe. Puis, Gina Pane… Seul Journiac survivait mais personne ne voulait en entendre parler!
Labaume pour le remercier. Installation, objet, art politique… Il y avait vraiment de quoi faire! On le sait malade, certes.
Entre la mystique et la morale
Fanny Lambert Vincent Labaume est artiste, critique, performeur, auteur et enseignant. Commissariat de Vincent Labaume et Damien Sausset. Your browser does not support this audio. Elle ne ferme pas non plus les yeux. Most of the time, French conduct books were simply translated into English. In fact, conversation in England first tried to follow rules dictated by a series of French treatises. Thus, the degree of politeness of an individual really seemed to be measurable through his ability not in any way to upset his interlocutor.
To converse was to perform ; a performance in which each one, in turn, played the actor and the spectator, the orator and the listener. First of all, each speaker was supposed to wait for his turn, never interrupting anyone, but, above all, showing his ability to listen. For instance, in Sensus Communis , An Essay on the Freedom of Wit and Humour, in a Letter to a Friend , the Earl of Shaftesbury expressed his will to avoid conflicts and to harmonize the relationships between individuals, by insisting on the equalizing function of conversation.
Nevertheless, from the beginning of the eighteenth century, a criticism against the French model of conversation began to develop in England. There, the ideal of conversation degenerated into a desire to shine. Language — by extension, conversation — was a crucial pillar of sociability, the commerce of words constituting the link which was inherent to any civil and domestic society. If conversation made of society its favourite playground, the club providing one of the best examples, it was because eighteenth-century sociability enabled conversation to be a legitimate end in itself.
Lord Shaftesbury was probably the one who best expressed the social function of conversation: in his Sensus communis , he explicitly endowed conversation with the task of performing that feeling of sociability or that sense of community. As a consequence, it seems obvious that conversation found an ideal space in the club: an institution corresponding to a model of miniature society, to a community whose sense of belonging made conversation possible.
The well-being that it generated reinforced social harmony, thus harmony among the members of the same club. The Spectator tried to provide the best advice to his readers, describing, in several articles, the qualities requested to be a true gentleman. Indeed, the visual media reflected the increasing fashion for conversation and for associating in clubs and societies from the beginning of the eighteenth century.
These two examples offer a glimpse at the potential excessive conviviality of club life and contrast with the smooth representation of polite conversation that generally prevailed in conversation pieces.
From scenes of excessive drinking or bawdiness, of tension or dissidence transpired noisy atmospheres very likely filled with agitated verbal exchanges rather than the refined sound of polite conversations. In France, women were considered indispensable to the refinement of manners, to politeness and sociability. As cultivated and distinguished individuals, with a refined conversation and elegant manners, they gathered a skillful blend of the most renowned persons, either aristocrats, politicians, writers or artists. How could the Englishman, often reputed as taciturn and little inclined to society, make of the club a unique social space devoted to conversation and sociability?
While a lot of foreign travellers denounced the brusqueness of his manners and his lack of politeness, the English gentleman was also often characterized as introverted and taciturn. The English language, because of its use of monosyllables, was also said to be deprived of all refinement. But thanks to a musical metaphor, Addison endeavoured to prove the contrary:.
As first of all by its abounding in Monosyllables, which gives us an Opportunity of delivering our Thoughts in few Sounds. This indeed takes off from the Elegance of our Tongue, but at the same time expresses our Ideas in the readiest manner, and consequently answers the first Design of Speech better than the Multitude of Syllables, which make the Words of other Languages more Tunable and Sonorous. The Sounds of our English Words are commonly like those of String Musick, short and transient, which rise and perish upon a single Touch; those of other Languages are like the Notes of Wind Instruments, sweet and swelling, and lengthen'd out into variety of Modulation.
I think my self very happy in my Country, as the Language of it is wonderfully adapted to a Man who is sparing of his Words, and an Enemy to Loquacity. Once the ice was broken and the environment tamed, Englishmen could adhere to a real spirit of community and enjoy free conversation.
French-English Dictionary (35,273 Entries)
These individuals were:. There must, in the first place, be knowledge, there must be materials ; in the second place, there must be a command of words ; in the third place, there must be imagination, to place things in such views as they are commonly seen in ; and in the fourth place, there must be presence of mind, and a resolution that is not to be overcome by failures […].
Numerous contemporaries and friends praised his immense knowledge: not an in-depth knowledge in each particular domain but rather a wide and rich range of knowledge. Above all, it was this wise and moderate use of knowledge that was expected in the conversation of a gentleman. But the only weakness that Boswell and other contemporaries conceded to Johnson was certainly his lack of flexibility. This fault became his strength, as it enabled Johnson to lead his conversations like real combats.
What he preferred in conversation was, above all, the confrontation of ideas, a duel between sharpened minds. In , when his friend Joshua Reynolds suggested organizing regular meetings with a few other authors, scholars and statesmen, so as to dine and converse together, Johnson immediately accepted.
It seemed entirely natural for him to create such an institution, in which his conversation would flourish freely. Conversation was for Johnson a dispute, a conflict and the weapons he used were those of the intellect. To converse among equals was then considered as a true pleasure. The moments spent at The Club were most certainly, for Johnson, the happiest moments in his life. By making conversation more natural and less formal, as opposed to what was practiced in France and also in England in the first half of the eighteenth century, Samuel Johnson succeeded in transforming it into a social art in which pleasure and intellectual improvement were inseparable.
This helped to render The Club a central space for conviviality, discussion and exchange. The Club sheltered the rich and diverse discussions between the most renowned writers and artists of the time. Rather than a superficial exchange of idle remarks, conversation was considered more as an intellectual fight among equals. In this context, conversation earned its reputation for excellence. Far from the formatted and artificial conversation of the coffee-house wits , conversation in the clubs of the second half of the century was more and more characterized by its freedom and authenticity.
If the tensions inherent in club sociability could at first be identified as obstacles to polite and convivial exchange, this analysis has shown that such paradoxes could be reconciled and had a beneficial effect on club conversation itself: they helped to shape it into a really unique social experience. Gentlemen could show considerable flexibility in their adherence to polite standards depending on the familiarity they shared with their companions.
They did not have fixed identities but were constantly refashioned by their relationships with others. This element adds to my conviction that the influence of London clubs on conversation, on politeness and on society in general was pivotal. The masculinisms of men, and the feminalistics of the women, if the first prevail they make conversation too rough, and austere, if the latter, too soft and weak. From the very beginning, their purpose was to promote literary conversation as one of the main pleasures of social life.
Johnson could be considered as the one who cultivated the art of conversation at its best and who rendered it more lively and flexible. English conversation thus became closer to the notion of debate, essential to the foundation of conviviality, but also to the democratic tradition of the country. A Poem , London, Richard Balwin, , p. Bond, 5 vols. John Butt, 11 vols. Latham and W.
Matthews, 11 vols.
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