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We're meeting on October 26th at 8:00 to discuss [ Une Si Longue Lettre].
We're meeting on November 2nd at 8:00 to discuss [ Une Si Longue Lettre].
The book is described as follows:
The book is described as follows:

Revision as of 14:28, 26 October 2009

We're meeting on November 2nd at 8:00 to discuss Une Si Longue Lettre.

The book is described as follows:

So Long a Letter is a landmark book - a sensation in its own country and an education for outsiders. Mariama Ba, a longtime women's activist, set out to write a book that exposed the double standard between men and women in Africa. The result, So Long a Letter, eventually won the first Noma Award for Publishing in Africa. The book itself takes the form of a long letter written by a widow, Ramatoulaye, to her friend, over the mandatory forty-day mourning period following the death of a husband. Both women had married for love and had happy, productive marriages; both were educated, had work they loved and were intellectually alive. During their lives, both of these women's husbands chose to take a second wife - and each woman then made a different choice. Ramatoulaye decided to stay married, although it meant rarely seeing her husband and knowing that he was squandering money on a young girl, a friend of her own daughter. Ramatoulaye's friend divorced her husband and eventually left the country, settling in the United States. In her letter, Ramatoulaye examines her life and that of other women of Senegal - their upbringing and training and the cultural restrictions placed upon them. It is a devastating attack, made all the more powerful because of the intelligence and maturity of the narrator and the ability of Mariama Ba to honor two very different choices within one framework.

A bit of background on me:

I lived in both France and Quebec for about 10 years. I learned to speak French while living in both places, so the French I'll be teaching is very much how people talk. Also, because I learned French by hearing and speaking it, my French writing skills are craptastic, so I am planning to focus more on conversational French. If someone else is a wiz at writing French, speak up!

If you could write down your name and your level of French below that would be really helpful.

-- Laura


Ma France -- BBC French Language learning series we'll be using

French Lessons -- Greater focus on traditional learning with a heavier emphasis on grammar


  • Mitch I can sorta order food in French.
  • dpc i lived in france for about a year, during which i learned enough french to be a danger to myself.


  • Noah - interested, but probably won't make it on many Wednesdays for a while - I can get around ok in French, but would need a lot of practice to become fluent
  • Billy - i've been out of practice since high school.
  • Jeremy I can have simple conversations. I have one year of college French, plus several years of Spanish and three minus epsilon degrees in Linguistics, which makes me a good faker. I also have motivation: big fan of Franco-Belgian comics, and my wife is a native Francophone.
  • Eve - sorry to miss first class, will try to come next time. My French is second-rate, I read fairly well but would like to understand spoken French faster. 3-4 years in school; French relatives; but I become very rusty in between trips.
  • aestetix - five years of french in middle/high school, been to France several times, etc. Strong understanding of grammatical structure, although I haven't touched it in years and am quite rusty.
  • Chris - Undergrad double major in Linguistics and French Language and Literature, but August 2009 was my first trip to France in 10 years. For the most part, Parisians did not break into English upon hearing me, but I'm rusty. Determined to build back up and not let it slip again!


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