l ments de culture g n rale
Avec les oraux de culture générale, on peut souvent parler d'un " second concours " dans bien des Écoles. La distribution des coefficients montre que rien n'est joué à l'issue de l'écrit : tout est encore possible. Et l'oral se travaille : le seul exemple des entretiens individuels des concours des Écoles de commerce le révèle aisément. Être soi-même est le produit d'un art. L'ouvrage présente ici une approche méthodique complète de cet exercice dans ce qu'il comporte d'essentiel. Mais l'oral est aussi culturel avec la " colle " classique de culture générale en Prépa commerciale à l'oral d'HEC et en Prépa littéraire aux ENS. Au fil de plus de quinze thèmes fondamentaux, l'ouvrage organise des exposés de culture générale en suivant à chaque fois un " plan-mouvement " et en inscrivant leurs contenus dans le contexte de l'histoire des idées et des sociétés, là où les idées prennent corps. Par notre approche, nous avons mis en oeuvre la nécessaire interdisciplinarité sans laquelle il n'y a pas de culture générale. Déclinés plus longuement, certains exposés intègrent la démarche de la dissertation, utile aux candidats à l'entrée en Année préparatoire à Sciences Po. et aux IEP, ainsi qu'aux concours administratifs. Contribution pluraliste au débat des idées comme à notre mémoire culturelle, les Éléments de culture générale aideront plus largement le public du premier cycle universitaire en Lettres, Philosophie et Sciences humaines, ainsi que tous les lecteurs soucieux de réflexion critique.
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The Right to be Lazy and Other Studies
A Greek poet of Cicero's time, Antiparos, thus sang of the invention of the water-mill (for grinding grain), which was to free the slave women and bring back the Golden Age: "Spare the arm which turns the mill, O, millers, and sleep peacefully. Let the cock warn you in vain that day is breaking. Demeter has imposed upon the nymphs the labor of the slaves, and behold them leaping merrily over the wheel, and behold the axle tree, shaken, turning with its spokes and making the heavy rolling stone revolve. Let us live the life of our fathers, and let us rejoice in idleness over the gifts that the goddess grants us." Alas!, the leisure which the pagan poet announced has not come. The blind, perverse and murderous passion for work transforms the liberating machine into an instrument for the enslavement of free men. Its productiveness impoverishes them. A good workingwoman makes with her needles only five meshes a minute, while certain circular knitting machines make 30,000 in the same time. Every minute of the machine is thus equivalent to a hundred hours of the workingwomen's labor, or again, every minute of the machine's labor, gives the workingwomen ten days of rest. What is true for the knitting industry is more or less true for all industries reconstructed by modern machinery. But what do we see? In proportion as the machine is improved and performs man's work with an ever increasing rapidity and exactness, the laborer, instead of prolonging his former rest times, redoubles his ardor, as if he wished to rival the machine. O, absurd and murderous competition! That the competition of man and the machine might have free course, the proletarians have abolished wise laws which limited the labor of the artisans of the ancient guilds; they have suppressed the holidays. Because the producers of that time worked but five days out of seven, are we to believe the stories told by lying economists, that they lived on nothing but air and fresh water? Not so, they had leisure to taste the joys of earth, to make love and to frolic, to banquet joyously in honor of the jovial god of idleness. Gloomy England, immersed in protestantism, was then called "Merrie England." Rabelais, Quevedo, Cervantes, and the unknown authors of the romances make our mouths water with their pictures of those monumental feasts with which the men of that time regaled themselves between two battles and two devastations, in which everything "went by the barrel". Jordaens and the Flemish School have told the story of these feasts in their delightful pictures. Where, O, where, are the sublime gargantuan stomachs of those days; where are the sublime brains encircling all human thought? We have indeed grown puny and degenerate. Embalmed beef, potatoes, doctored wine and Prussian schnaps, judiciously combined with compulsory labor have weakened our bodies and narrowed our minds. And the times when man cramps his stomach and the machine enlarges its output are the very times when the economists preach to us the Malthusian theory, the religion of abstinence and the dogma of work. Really it would be better to pluck out such tongues and throw them to the dogs.
Advanced English Grammar
Depraetere and Langford, with 40 years of teaching experience between them, present a grammar pitched precisely at advanced learners of English who need to understand how the English language really works without getting lost in the specifics. Most linguistically-oriented grammars of English can be intimidating and complex. On the other hand, the more basic practical grammars also available are often not advanced enough. This book pulls from linguistic theory all the relevant notions that will enable the language student to fully grasp English grammar. After introducing form and function, the authors cover verbs, nouns, aspect and tense, modality and discourse. Readers are led through the underlying principles of language use, with the book presupposing only a basic grasp of linguistic terminology. It does not get bogged down in huge amounts of detail and focuses on the crucial issues. Full of exercises and with attention paid to moving the reader through their course, this is the desk reference grammar of choice for both native and non-native English speakers.
The Parrot s Theorem
Mr. Ruche, a Parisian bookseller, receives a bequest from a long lost friend in the Amazon of a vast library of math books, which propels him into a great exploration of the story of mathematics. Meanwhile Max, whose family lives with Mr. Ruche, takes in a voluble parrot who will discuss math with anyone. When Mr. Ruche learns of his friend's mysterious death in a Brazilian rainforest, he decides that with the parrot's help he will use these books to teach Max and his brother and sister the mysteries of Euclid's Elements, Pythagoras's Theorem and the countless other mathematical wonders. But soon it becomes clear that Mr. Ruche has inherited the library for reasons other than enlightenment, and before he knows it the household is racing to prevent the parrot and vital, new theorems from falling into the wrong hands. An immediate bestseller when first published in France, The Parrot's Theorem charmingly combines a straightforward history of mathematics and a first-rate murder mystery.
Lipsky, a Rolling Stone writer and an award-winning novelist, chronicles daily life at the U.S. Military Academy during the most tumultuous period in its history. In 1998, West Point made David Lipsky an unprecedented offer: stay at the Academy as long as you like, go wherever you wish, talk to whomever you want, to discover why some of America's most promising young people sacrifice so much to become cadets. Lipsky followed one cadet class into mess halls, barracks, classrooms, bars, and training exercises, from arrival through graduation. By telling their stories, he also examines the Academy as a reflection of our society: Are its principles of equality, patriotism, and honor quaint anachronisms or is it still, as Theodore Roosevelt called it, the most "absolutely American" institution? During arguably the most eventful four years in West Point's history, Lipsky witnesses the arrival of TVs and phones in dorm rooms, the end of hazing, and innumerable other shifts in policy and practice known collectively as The Changes. He uncovers previously unreported scandals and poignantly evokes the aftermath of September 11, when cadets must prepare to become officers in wartime. Absolutely American spotlights a remarkable ensemble of characters: a former Eagle Scout who struggles with every facet of the program, from classwork to marching; a foul-mouthed party animal who hates the military and came to West Point to play football; a farm-raised kid who seems to be the perfect soldier, despite his affection for the early work of Georgia O’Keeffe; and an exquisitely turned-out female cadet who aspires to "a career in hair and nails" after the Army. These cadets and their classmates are transformed in fascinating, sometimes astonishing, ways by one of America's most mythologized and least understood challenges. Many of them thrive under the rigorous regimen; others battle endlessly just to survive it. A few give up the fight altogether. Lipsky's extensive experience covering college students for Rolling Stone helped him gain an exceptional degree of trust and candor from both cadets and administrators. They offer frank insights on drug use, cheating, romance, loyalty, duty, patriotism, and the Army's tortuous search for meaning as new threats loom.
François Rabelais holds a unique place in the history of world literature, and no more so than for his extraordinary satirical entertainment Gargantua and Pantagruel. Here the first of these volumes is presented in a new and lively translation. Pantagruel recounts the life a popular giant. From his portentous birth and colorful childhood, to his visit to Paris and his travels through Utopia, and not withstanding his enormous appetite, Pantagruel’s history is told with a breathtaking degree of gaiety and wit. Ingeniously coining new expressions, and with an unashamed obsession with bodily functions, Rabelais blends prose and poetry, the sacred and profound, to offer a heady satire of the religious society of his day. The result is a bawdy and brilliant celebration of life.