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May 7, 2012

L'esprit de l'escalier →‎ What's French for 'Mind-numbing extraneous architectural detail'?

L'esprit de l'escalier →‎ What's French for 'Mind-numbing extraneous architectural detail'?

L'esprit de l'escalier or L'esprit d'escalier (literally, staircase wit) is a French term used in English that describes the predicament of thinking of the right comeback too late.

Origin

Avoir l'esprit d'escalier


Garanti sans trucage

This name for the phenomenon comes from French encyclopedist and philosopher Denis Diderot's description of such a situation in his Paradoxe sur le comédien.[1] During a dinner at the home of statesman Jacques Necker, a remark was made to Diderot which left him speechless at the time, because, he explains, "l’homme sensible, comme moi, tout entier à ce qu’on lui objecte, perd la tête et ne se retrouve qu’au bas de l’escalier" ("a sensitive man, such as myself, overwhelmed by the argument levelled against him, becomes confused and can only think clearly again [when he reaches] the bottom of the stairs").

[[posterous-content:pid___0]]

l'esprit d'escalier

Another (possibly) tough question… Tell us your favourite photos on Flickr, and why you like them. First, a favourite from your photostream?

l'esprit de l'escalier

In this case, “the bottom of the stairs” refers to the architecture of the kind of [[hôtel particulier]] or mansion to which Diderot had been invited. In such houses, the reception rooms were located on the ''étage noble'', the [[piano nobile|noble story]], one floor above the ground floor,<ref>{{cite web|url=http://en.mimi.hu/architecture/piano_nobile.html |title=* Piano nobile - (Architecture): Definition |publisher=En.mimi.hu |date= |accessdate=2011-10-27}}</ref> so that to have reached the bottom of the stairs means to have definitively left the gathering in question.

What's the french expression for 'extraneous architectural information which supersedes a definition in its mind-numbing detail'

 

Diderot's fellow-philosophe Jean-Jacques Rousseau also recognised his own affliction with l’esprit de l’escalier. In his autobiographical book Confessions he blamed such social blunders and missed opportunities for turning him into a misanthrope, and reassured himself that he was better at "conversations by mail".[citation needed]

American English speakers sometimes also call this "elevator wit". [2]

Other languages

The German loan translation Treppenwitz (when used in an English language context[3]) express the same idea as l'esprit de l'escalier. However, Treppenwitz in contemporary German has a different meaning: It refers to events or facts that seem to contradict their own background or context. The frequently used phrase "Treppenwitz der Weltgeschichte" ("staircase joke of world history") derives from the title of a book of that name by W. Lewis Hertslet[4] and means "a paradox of history".[5][6]

References

  1. ^ Paradoxe sur le comédien, 1773, remanié en 1778; Diderot II, Classiques Larousse 1934, p. 56
  2. ^ "Merriam-Webster Online". Merriam-webster.com. Retrieved 2011-10-27.
  3. ^ "Treppenwitz - encyclopedia article about Treppenwitz". Encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com. Retrieved 2011-10-27.
  4. ^ "''Der Treppenwitz der Weltgeschichte. Geschichtliche Irrtümer, Entstellungen und Erfindungen'', William Lewis Hertslet, Winfried Hoffman". Books.google.com. 2006-06-23.

 

 

m (Origin: add wl to piano nobile)
m (Origin: what's the french expression for 'extraneous architectural information which supersedes a definition in its mind-numbing detail')

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== Origin ==
 
== Origin ==
 
<!--French ''sensible'' translates to English "sensitive", NOT "sensible" (it is a false cognate). Please refrain from changing the English version to "sensible". See discussion page.-->
 
<!--French ''sensible'' translates to English "sensitive", NOT "sensible" (it is a false cognate). Please refrain from changing the English version to "sensible". See discussion page.-->
This name for the phenomenon comes from French encyclopedist and philosopher [[Denis Diderot]]'s description of such a situation in his ''Paradoxe sur le comédien''.<ref name="Dider">Paradoxe sur le comédien, 1773, remanié en 1778; Diderot II, Classiques Larousse 1934, p. 56</ref> During a dinner at the home of statesman [[Jacques Necker]], a remark was made to Diderot which left him speechless at the time, because, he explains, "''l’homme sensible, comme moi, tout entier à ce qu’on lui objecte, perd la tête et ne se retrouve qu’au bas de l’escalier''" ("a sensitive man, such as myself, overwhelmed by the argument levelled against him, becomes confused and can only think clearly again [when he reaches] the bottom of the stairs"). In this case, “the bottom of the stairs” refers to the architecture of the kind of [[hôtel particulier]] or mansion to which Diderot had been invited. In such houses, the reception rooms were located on the ''étage noble'', the [[piano nobile|noble story]], one floor above the ground floor,<ref>{{cite web|url=http://en.mimi.hu/architecture/piano_nobile.html |title=* Piano nobile - (Architecture): Definition |publisher=En.mimi.hu |date= |accessdate=2011-10-27}}</ref> so that to have reached the bottom of the stairs means to have definitively left the gathering in question.
+
This name for the phenomenon comes from French encyclopedist and philosopher [[Denis Diderot]]'s description of such a situation in his ''Paradoxe sur le comédien''.<ref name="Dider">Paradoxe sur le comédien, 1773, remanié en 1778; Diderot II, Classiques Larousse 1934, p. 56</ref> During a dinner at the home of statesman [[Jacques Necker]], a remark was made to Diderot which left him speechless at the time, because, he explains, "''l’homme sensible, comme moi, tout entier à ce qu’on lui objecte, perd la tête et ne se retrouve qu’au bas de l’escalier''" ("a sensitive man, such as myself, overwhelmed by the argument levelled against him, becomes confused and can only think clearly again [when he reaches] the bottom of the stairs").
   
 
Diderot's fellow-''philosophe'' [[Jean-Jacques Rousseau]] also recognised his own affliction with ''l’esprit de l’escalier''. In his autobiographical book ''[[Confessions (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)|Confessions]]'' he blamed such social blunders and missed opportunities for turning him into a [[misanthrope]], and reassured himself that he was better at "conversations by mail".{{citation needed|date=October 2011}}
 
Diderot's fellow-''philosophe'' [[Jean-Jacques Rousseau]] also recognised his own affliction with ''l’esprit de l’escalier''. In his autobiographical book ''[[Confessions (Jean-Jacques Rousseau)|Confessions]]'' he blamed such social blunders and missed opportunities for turning him into a [[misanthrope]], and reassured himself that he was better at "conversations by mail".{{citation needed|date=October 2011}}

 

L'esprit de l'escalier →‎ What's French for 'Mind-numbing extraneous architectural detail'? L'esprit de l'escalier or L'esprit d'escalier (literally, staircase wit ) is a French term used in English that describes the predicament of thinking of the right comeback too late. Origin Avoir l'esprit d'es ... » See Ya at » What Gets Me Hot