Elaine Sciolino on La Seduction

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

France is seductive in its elegance, its beauty, its sensual pleasures, and its joie de vivre. Elaine Sciolino, the longtime Paris bureau chief of the New York Times, explains that seduction is not just a game to the French: it is the key to understanding that country. In La Seduction, Sciolino demystifies the French way of life through a personal narrative that carries us from the neighborhood shops of Paris to the halls of government to the agricultural heartland.


Elaine Sciolino

Comments [5]

jrm from new york

how does the central theme of seduction relate to the other part of the french character expressed in "defendu, interdit, and obligatoire"? how does this wonderfulness, this pursuit of pleasure, relate to french behavior in the vel d'hiv, the cruelty toward the algerians, the persecution of dreyfus, vichy and the totally unnecessary complicity with the germans? do they have a sense of guilt, or is it not important in the pursuit of pleasure? no wonder we are disgusted by the french narcissism and opportunism--at the same time as we slavishly seek their approval of our mode of dress or our way of speaking french. an enigma.

Jul. 12 2011 08:36 AM

How about Carla Bruni Sarkozy? She gets around!

I thought Monica L was beautiful!!!

One of our assistants in Paris changed a book publishing date because it wasn't convenient for her!

Jun. 15 2011 04:23 PM
Suzanne B from Flanders, NJ

I too am a French woman living in the USA for +15 years, living in New Jersey and working in NYC. I completely disagree on the caricature Ms Elaine Sciolino makes of French people. Who does she talk about? the parisians living in the 16th arondissement of Paris? because the French I know and I am part of them don't spend their time "seducing" each other, being sexually harassed and having fun all the time. The large majority of French are hard working people for a misery ( would you work for $1,500 a month! I insist a month!) and really Leonard your comment: "how can industry work in France if people spend their time on other things?" is simply an insult to 99% of French people who have other things to do! As usual in books. radio or TV, "la joie de vivre" is pointed out. Believe me la joie de vivre in France is dead and burried a long time ago and people are struggling more than having fun!

Jun. 15 2011 02:41 PM
Ree from Manhattan

Merci, Leonard and Elaine Sciolino. Born in Brooklyn, I've always felt part European. I would add a word to describe seduction in this fundamental difference between the French emphasis on process vs. ours on end result: playfulness. It's charm and diplomacy, and it's also about simply playing with their fellow humans, and doing it with grace and style. I've experienced it in all my trips to Paris, at hotel desks, libraries and offices. Although more reserved (sometimes downright chilly), when I take the time to engage people, I often sense their simple enjoyment of the moment. Isn't that what 'joie de vivre' is all about?' Thanks for a good show today; I'll definitely buy her book!

Jun. 15 2011 01:58 PM
Isabelle K from Manhattan

Being a French woman living in NYC for the past 12 years, I've enjoyed very much listening to Mrs Sciolino's comments on her sense of what are the main differences between the American and the French way of understanding seduction and romance. I absolutely relate to all of it; and not only do I agree with her views, but I also, as a woman, do appreciate the American way better : )

Jun. 15 2011 01:32 PM

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