In "Lies, Damned Lies, and Medical Science" (Atlantic Monthly, October 2010), David H. Freedman takes jabs at what he describes as the scientific fallacy behind most medical research.


There is no double meaning, second degree and third interpretative level to be found in this post. Nothing metapoetic, cutting-edge, smart, hype, or poetic. No trope, no refined aesthetics, no beauty. But meaning yes, humanity yes, community yes. And a call to Arcade as a social network to spread a simple idea.


« Pourquoi donc y a-t-il des fleurs ? » Pourquoi ? Pour rien. Parce que. La beauté des fleurs est là, c’est tout. Pour rien. Et sûrement pas pour nous. Mais voilà : nous y sommes sensibles, et cela, ce n’est pas rien.


One of the pleasures of teaching is the ability to linger at length with students on questions such as this: « Pourquoi donc y a-t-il des fleurs ? » [Why on earth are there flowers? Philippe Jaccottet. Cahier de verdure, 1990 : 106].


Je l’aperçois de loin: une femme aux cheveux noirs, de dos, qui porte dans ses bras une petite fille d’à peine deux ans. Elle la balance plus qu’elle ne la berce, un coup à gauche, un coup à droite, mécaniquement. La main qui soutient les genoux de la fillette est ouverte: geste furtif, que je ne remarque que rétrospectivement: elle fait l’aumône.


Who wants more reality? Not the culture we live in, if we are to believe the current trends that made "Avatar" a  hit and finances' fictitious dream-making our burden.


A recent talk by my colleague Joshua Landy on "Still Life in a Narrative Age: Charlie Kaufman's Adaptation," and the comments on my most recent blog "Against Narrative" made me cruelly aware of a divide between on the one hand the perception of what Josh and myself see as the creeping dominance of narrative models to think about life, but also, by extension, to experience it.


Babies are usually the stuff of private life, clichés, and endearing memories that we check out as we set foot on campus grounds. Yet babies are the greatest--and arguably the cutest--hermeneutic subjects.


A new trend in the arts is to use human and animal organic tissues (mixed or grown together) instead of paint, clay or other traditional media as the primary material for art. The artificiality in art is literal, and yet subverted, the artificial becoming natural, being grown out of the natural world, and - more disturbingling - creating a new "natural" or at least living world.


Are we all so “bovarisés” that we cannot understand our lives without reconstructing the smallest “episode” into a short story?


Cecile Alduy's picture
Cecile Alduy
« Je ne puis tenir registre de ma vie par mes actions: fortune les met trop bas; je le tiens par mes fantasies. » Montaigne, Essais, III, 9, 945 A prescient definition of blogging, no? Cécile Alduy, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of French Studies at Stanford University. A former student from the Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris, she teaches French literature and film, with an emphasis on gender and ethnic studies.  Her research interests include Renaissance literature and culture, the history of the body, poetry, cognitive theory, and more generally how we make sense of the world.