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Conversation: A History of a Declining Art
 
 
Author
Stephen Miller.
Publisher Yale  
Format paperback
Product Dimensions 8.25 x 5.45 x 0.9 inches
ISBN 9780300123654
Pages/Publication Date 336/2006
Daedalus Item Code 41131
This item is not available.
Description
Chronicling the art of conversation in Western civilization from its beginnings in ancient Greece to its apex in 18th-century Britain, and its current endangered state in America, essayist Stephen Miller pursues his lifelong interest in conversation by taking a historical and philosophical view of the subject. He explores the conversation about conversation among such great writers as Cicero, Michel de Montaigne, Jonathan Swift, Daniel Defoe, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, and Virginia Woolf, revealing why good conversation matters and why it is in decline. Miller focuses on the world of British coffeehouses and clubs in "The Age of Conversation" and examines how this era ended, then turning his attention to the United States, he traces a prolonged decline in the theory and practice of conversation from Benjamin Franklin through Ernest Hemingway to Dick Cheney. It appears, says Miller, that our technology (iPods, cell phones, and video games) and our insistence on unguarded forthrightness as well as our fear of being judgmental are forces that will continue to diminish the art of conversation.

"Miller's playful, sometimes mischievously imprecise style serves the double purpose of keeping the reader entertained while displaying the very qualities that go onto the making of 'good conversation'."—NYReview of Books

"In the sublime mode of David Hume and Dr. Samuel Johnson, Stephen Miller gives us a celebration and elegy for the art of conversation. His work at once enlightens and saddens me, two effects that fuse into one, for it is clear we can no longer inhabit a conversable world."—Harold Bloom

 
 
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