Back by popular demand! 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 associate professor of French at Barnard College, Columbia University. She holds degrees from Harvard and Yale, and has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania, Princeton, and Yale. Weber has also been published in the New York Times, the Washington Post, Vogue, the Financial Times, and the Wall Street Journal.
6:30 p.m. Join us for a pre-event tour of works in the DMA’s collection from fin-de-siècle France. Tour sign-up will begin promptly at 6:15 p.m. Tour space is strictly limited to 30 people and is first come, first served.