While vacationing in France, linguist Geoff Nunberg visited a museum exhibit showcasing an early edition of the Grand Larousse dictionary. He considers the cultural significance of this text, and what it says about how the French view language.
Director Stephen Frears directed the adaptation of the play, Les Liaisons Dangereuses, about a contest of sexual conquest and infidelity. Film critic Stephen Schiff praises how it handles eroticism. Despite some casting missteps, he believes it's "a brilliant tarentella" of a movie.
Book critic John Leonard says the historian's newest work, called Citizen, is intellectually reprehensible, ignoring both past and present scholarship to craft a familiar and tired narrative of French democracy. Yet the writing is lovely, and propelled Leonard to the end of the book, kicking and screaming.
Two of the band's members, Sterfane Mellino and Mathieu Canavese join Fresh Air to talk about the history of their group, and their new album, Mlah. The liner notes are entirely in French -- the band says the decision helps preserve their national identity abroad.
Author Allen Kurzweil. Kurzweil's new book, "A Case of Curiosities," is a comic novel about the life of a 18th Century watchmaker living in France in the days before the Revolution. (It's published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich). (Interview by Marty Moss-Coane)
John Leonard reviews "The Emperor's Last Island," by Julia Blackburn, a history of Napoleon with frequent digressions about why that narrative is relevant to the author's life. Leonard says it's a compelling read because Blackburn herself is compelling.