Advance Praise

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“As though guided by the Horatian precept for poetry, this enthusiastic book delights and teaches simultaneously. If you are an amateur of French who wants either to expand your familiarity or to improve your proficiency, this is your livre de chevet — unless you fear being kept awake. A book for students who prefer to find the language embedded in the culture, it is also for venturesome teachers, because it proves the benefits of combining piecemeal appropriation with task-based absorption. The innovative mise en page stitches together dialogue, anecdote, quotation, and vivacious vignette in an invigorating and inspiring collage.”

— Stephen Yenser, Distinguished Research Professor at UCLA,
Author of
The Fire in All Things, winner of the Walt Whitman Award

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“Claire Lerognon and Linda Phillips Ashour’s passionate involvement with and conversation about la langue française help debunk stereotypes about speaking, reading, and writing in a second language. Being responsible for the organization’s language and communication training efforts, I commend their work in The Heart of an Artichoke as an homage to learning and a tool for cultural understanding.”

— Atul Khare, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Operational Support

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“Over several lonely months during the fall–winter of 1968–69, I practiced my French while wandering the streets of Paris, reading signs, advertisements, restaurant menus, historical markers out loud to myself. I was too depressed to realize that I was teaching myself about the intricacies and charms of the French language. Over time, I not only achieved a certain facility with the language, but also found some French copains.

“But I do wish I had encountered interlocutors as engaging as Linda Phillips Ashour and Claire Lerognon, whose passion for French would have greatly sustained me. For, unlike my teachers at the Sorbonne, they appreciate and celebrate that mastering a language — and life — is not about obsessing on perfection, but about savoring the journey as we go and being prepared to ‘learn piecemeal.’”

— Peter Skerry, Professor of Political Science at Boston College,
Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, the University of Virginia