J’ai l’esprit de l’escalier.

J’ai l’esprit de l’escalier.

zhay less-SPREE duh less-kah-leeYAY.

I have a “stairway mind”.

One of my favorite phrases, because it describes me!

People who don’t think well on their feet, need to think things over before reacting, have a knack for coming up with just the right answer just a little too late–those are people who can say about themselves, J’ai l’esprit de l’escalier.

The contemporary American poet Galway Kinnell wrote a book–his thoughts on poetry, gleaned from interviews  collected and re-edited–which he entitled Walking Down the Stairs, making specific reference to this phrase. When the interview is over, when you’re walking down the stairs toward the exit, he said, that’s when you think of that brilliant answer you wish you had made. He called it “the one chance I’m likely ever to have to go back and try again.”

Et vous–vous avez l’esprit de l’escalier?

ay voo…voo zah-vay less-pree duh less-kah-leeYAY?

How about you? Do you have a “stairway mind”?

2 responses to “J’ai l’esprit de l’escalier.

  1. “L’esprit de l’escalier” is a quotation from Denis Diderot, famously cited by Jean-Jacques Rousseau in Les Confessions.

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