Talking Cure: An Essay on the Civilizing Power of Conversation
An invigorating exploration of the pleasures and social benefits of conversation
Talking Cure is a timely and enticing excursion into the art of good conversation. Paula Marantz Cohen reveals how conversation connects us in ways that social media never can and explains why simply talking to each other freely and without guile may be the cure to what ails our troubled society.
Drawing on her lifelong immersion in literature and culture and her decades of experience as a teacher and critic, Cohen argues that we learn to converse in our families and then carry that knowledge into a broader world where we encounter diverse opinions and sensibilities. She discusses the role of food in encouraging conversation, the challenges of writing dialogue in fiction, the pros and cons of Zoom, the relationship of conversation to vaudeville acts, and the educational value of a good college seminar where students learn to talk about ideas. Cohen looks at some of the famous groups of writers and artists in history whose conversation fed their creativity, and details some of the habits that can result in bad conversation.
Blending the immediacy of a beautifully crafted memoir with the conviviality of an intimate gathering with friends, Talking Cure makes a persuasive case for the civilizing value of conversation and is essential reading for anyone interested in the chatter that fuels culture.
About the Author
Paula Marantz Cohen is Distinguished Professor of English and Dean of the Pennoni Honors College at Drexel University. Her books include Of Human Kindness: What Shakespeare Teaches Us about Empathy; Alfred Hitchcock: The Legacy of Victorianism; Silent Film and the Triumph of the American Myth; and the bestselling novel Jane Austen in Boca.