6:00 PM–7:30 PM Maison Française East Gallery, Buell Hall
Caroline Weber, in conversation with Maurice Samuels and Elisabeth Ladenson
To watch the video, please click here
Geneviève Halévy Bizet Straus; Laure de Sade, Comtesse Adhéaume de Chevigné; and Élisabeth de Riquet de Caraman-Chimay, the Comtesse Greffulhe—these were the three superstars of fin-de-siècle Parisian high society. Tracing these women’s trajectories through the masked balls, shooting parties, moated castles, and glittering salons of the French nobility, Caroline Weber paints a vivid portrait of a rarefied, exclusive milieu that the outbreak of the First World War would soon destroy forever. She shows how Proust, an outsider to this world, sought as a young man to curry favor with its three most glamorous doyennes, and how they shaped his fantasy of patrician elegance and grace. Some decades later, in his novel In Search of Lost Time, this fantasy would find its ultimate expression in the composite character of the supremely elegant Duchesse de Guermantes.
Caroline Weber is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at Barnard College. Her previous book, Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution, was selected by both The New York Times and The Washington Post as a Notable Book of the Year. Maurice Samuels is Betty Jane Anlyan Professor of French & Chair of the French Department at Yale University. Elisabeth Ladenson is Professor of French at Columbia.
This event is presented with support from the Knapp Family Foundation and the Paul LeClerc Centennial Fund.