Monday, 10 March 2014

Causerie - Literary Chat

A typewriter sitting on a suitcase on a beach in the sun
Because bloggers (generally) write on the beach using typewriters
(photo by Karen Cox)


Noun. Plural pronounced same. Early 19th century.
[French, from causer to talk.]

Informal (especially literary) talk; a chatty article.

Bloggers (and blog readers) thrive on informality, on causerie, on an openness and chattiness that (I posit) has been part of what's made blogs such a powerful and popular medium today. However, such informality doesn't equate to constant frivolity - although I've tried to cultivate an informal tone in Lexicolatry, it's covered such subjects as death, prejudice, mental illness and sexism (with bums and boobs thrown in to balance it out). Nor does informality demerit a medium's literary credentials. Take a line from Sally Prue's excellent blog The Word Den in which she writes about the word greige:

"Well, let's face it, greige is boring. Merely typing the word is enough to make several of my brain cells drop dead from simple ennui."

On reading causerie, my mind immediately went to Sally's style - informal, chatty, literary, but pulling no punches in either the vocabulary used or topics discussed (do try and squeeze the word ennui into a conversation today). And, yes, if you do feel the need to jump to greige's defence in the face of Sally's brutal verbal onslaught, you can do so by leaving a comment on her page - the chatty interaction of blogs no doubt being another factor in their popularity.

Do you like to engage in a dash of causerie of an evening?

Do you enjoy the causeries of the blogosphere?

Do please leave an informal, chatty, but oh-so-literary comment in the box below.


  1. Ed, thank you so very much. I'm hugely flattered and ridiculously pleased. As far as I know getting drunk on words, as Dorothy L Sayers puts it (that's my stab at a literary bit) shares with music the distinction of being an unpunished rapture.
    Mind you, if your post reaches the greige-appreciation society then perhaps I'll be proved wrong.

    1. I was very careful to simply quote your greige-bashing comment without endorsement, Sally - the greigists (as they're called around these parts) are infamously troublesome when upset.

      And you're very welcome, of course; I immediately thought of you and your writing style when reading about the word 'causerie'.

  2. "Yes", she uttered emphatically as she looked out at the periwinkle of the sky, "informal literary chat is rather entertaining." She held up her elegant porcelain tea cup and examined the tiny roses embracing the rim, before taking a sip of her sweet Earl Grey tea. "I also find pleasure in leaving comments on blogs" she said and turned on her portable computer.

    1. Brilliant! Yes! That's exactly the calibre of causeristic comment we want here at Lexicolatry!

      Thank you Evi.

    2. I, too, would like to also agree with Evi as well.

      Chatting literally is like sunshine on a damp leaf, like a waft of something pleasantly surprising in a dark shed, like a floppy nodule of dribbling.......viscosity after a particularly ennui.......Inuit......

      Pants! I thought that was going somewhere special.

    3. It's like the first kick of euphoria after some sips of good red wine; like sitting by the fireplace and letting the warmth of the coppery flames radiate through your body and soul; like the hearty laughter of mirth induced by Clueless's comments on the electronic journal where words are most cherished (Lexicolatry).

  3. To join Evi and Clueless...
    Literary conversations are the oxygen of the mind and soul - ever deepening with the setting sun...warming and simmering as the last embers of the fading fire. They are the warmth in the soul as one returns to their own abode, their own solitary mind, enriched for the momentary connections of minds.
    Not to mention, the best literary conversations are partnered with scrumptious delights - at least in my world they are!

    1. Like wine and canapés, Kara?

      (did you know that canapé is French for sofa, because a canapé is like a little edible sofa onto which tiny delectable delights have been stacked?)

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