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diversity and culture


Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


“My motto is diversity.” The words are from Jean de La Fontaine's “Eel Pie.” What other genius could be more French than the fable-writer? Yet, at the risk of displeasing the partisans of France's famed “cultural diversity,” there are quite a few who think that our country cares only for its own diversity – that it lovingly cultivates its range of wines, cheeses, perfumes, and other libertine refinements but very grudgingly eases ajar its door and Republican institutions to the diversity of the rest of the world. As a European citizen of Bulgarian descent, French nationality, and American adoption, I am responsive to such criticism. However, after several decades spent in France, I should like to emphasize three facets of my experience which to me illustrate France's contribution to Europe's specificity. To begin with, Europe is now a political entity where at least as many languages are spoken as there are member countries. This linguistic pluralism is the founding element of a cultural diversity that needs to be preserved and respected in order to preserve and respect the various national characters. At the same time, these characters need to be exchanged, mingled, and cross-fertilized. Saint Bernard, back in the twelfth century, saw the European as a “subject of love,” after blending the Song of Songs with his adventures as a Crusader, and the physical self-analysis inseparable ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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