Humor can cross cultural barriers, even when unintended. In a new book, Francophiles David and Jill Grossvogel highlight some of the snippets they have collected during annual visits to France of the differences between the French and American cultures. Although these accounts exaggerate those differences, the caricatures reveal truths about how the two cultures perceive each other and the often-humorous exchanges that can result.
"French Snippets: How the French and the Americans Regularly Manage to Misunderstand Each Other" features exchanges between the Grossvogels on one of their trips to France, snippets of conversation with French natives, and David's interactions with his friend Fabrice, a conservative, well-educated Parisian who believes he knows American culture. Topics range from airport customs to the Eiffel Tower, children, café culture, pastimes and politics. A discussion on scarves devolves into to a debate about American politics, a request at the butcher shop reveals a visitor's foreign origins, and shopkeeper remains fixated on fevers instead of selling watch batteries. With gentle humor and affection, the Grossvogels provide a snapshot into French thinking.
Author David Grossvogel, the Goldwin Smith professor emeritus at Cornell University, has written books and articles on French culture and literature, as well as the French novels "Le Journal de Charles Swann" and "Le Mariage New Yorkais." Jill Grossvogel, a graphic artist, has a doctorate in French literature from Cornell University and wrote two volumes of the "catalogue raisonne" on the painter Claude Emile Schuffencker and curated his exhibits in the United States and Europe. Jill took many of the photographs in this book.
For additional information, please visit http://www.frenchsnippets.com.
French Snippets: How the French and the Americans Regularly Manage to Misunderstand Each Other
Jill and David Grossvogel
Dog Ear Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-4575-1441-8 256 pages $19.50 US
Available at Ingram, Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and fine bookstores everywhere.