Arts & Letters Live: Caroline Weber
French literature professor, fashion historian, and acclaimed author, Dr. Caroline Weber is lauded for her book, Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution, which she discussed at a previous Arts & Letters Live event. Weber’s newest work, Proust’s Duchess: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin de Siecle Paris, returns to French high society.
Three women, Geneviève Halévy Bizet Straus, Laure the Comtesse de Chevigné, and Élisabeth the Comtesse Greffuhle, were the richly but unhappily married paragons of Parisian nobility, elegance, and style. Amid constricting social rules, all three women sought freedom by inspiring creativity in turn-of-the-century salons. One of their many admirers, Marcel Proust, would use these women to create his supreme fictional character, the Duchesse de Guermantes. Through masked balls, court visits, and nights at the opera, Weber escorts her reader into the daily lives of these women who were celebrated as living legends.
Weber is an associate professor of French at Barnard College, Columbia University.