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Lesson Transcript

Get Your Hands on France's Biggest Treasure!
In this lesson, we’re going to learn about popular French literature. I’m Becky, and you're listening to Season 1, Lesson 7 - Get Your Hands on France's Biggest Treasure!
Literary knowledge is very important in France. The French go to great lengths to protect their literary heritage, with numerous authors achieving literary fame across the world. You probably already know about Marcel Proust or even Victor Hugo. You may also have heard about the well-known Goncourt Prize, which rewards French authors for their best work of prose released during the year. The existence of this prize itself goes to show the heavy cultural influence of literature, or littérature in France.
If you need a little help deciding what to read when you’re in France, you might want to ask for advice in the small bookstores in the Saint Michel neighborhood in Paris, where you can find all the books, in French livres, you want! The staff know their trade well and you’ll never be disappointed with the information they give you. It’s also quite pleasant just to walk in the small boutiques where you can stroll around and smell the scent of the books!
You can also find small stores selling used books, in French livres d’occasion, at very attractive prices. Generally, the goal here is to search out an old book that is no longer in print. When you’ve had your fill with strolling around, you can always go get a drink or something to nibble on in a Parisian café.
And how about historical French novels! By reading a Romanesque story, you can learn a lot about French history, or histoire, at the same time. The author Maurice Druon, for example, got his inspiration for his stories from the history of France. He imagines the dialogues between the characters, giving words to these great men who have been dead for centuries. It may not be the most engaging literary style, but reading these types of books, we can find expressions from old French commonly used at the time.
This style also gives readers insight into old French social traditions, such as how royal families would marry among each other, and how the children, especially the girls, were allowed to gain a duchy with their dowry. They are also filled with the villainy of schemers, who wouldn’t hesitate to use poison on babies!
So listeners, how did you like this lesson? Did you learn anything interesting?
Do you enjoy reading French literature?
Until next time!