Caroline Elizabeth Weber

Caroline Elizabeth Weber

Research Interests
Eighteenth Century French literature and cultural history

Caroline Weber received her Ph.D. in French literature from Yale University (1998) and her BA in Literature from Harvard University (summa cum laude, 1991). Before coming to Barnard/Columbia, she taught for seven years at the University of Pennsylvania. A specialist in eighteenth-century French literature and culture, with particular emphasis on the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, she is the author of Terror and its Discontents: Suspect Words and the French Revolution (University of Minnesota Press, 2003), and of Fragments of Revolution (Yale University Press, 2001), an edited volume of essays on revolutionary culture. More recently, she published Queen of Fashion: What Marie-Antoinette Wore to the French Revolution (Henry Holt, 2006/Picador, 2007). A study of the political impact of Marie-Atnoinette’s controversial clothing choices, Queen of Fashion made the LA Times best-seller list and was selected as a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times and a Best Book of the Year by Washington Post Book World and Borders Books and Music. Queen of Fashion has already been published in multiple paperback print runs and appeared in several European and Latin American translations; it is currently being translated for a Chinese edition.

Professor Weber’s academic articles include essays on eighteenth-century authors such as Rousseau, Voltaire, Diderot, Sade, Charrière, and La Chaussée, and on contemporary thinkers like Lacan and Lyotard. She also publishes widely in the mainstream press, most notably in Vogue, The New York Times, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Town & Country, Bookforum, and Washington Post Book World. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times Book Review. 

Professor Weber’s current research interests include the drame bourgeois; the tradition of Frenchwomen’s salons; and literary phenomena such as the hoax and the roman à clef, which highlight the vexed relationship between fiction and the “real.” Her teaching interests include eighteenth-century novels and drama (specifically in France and Germany); 20th and 21st century literary theory; psychoanalysis; the history and semiotics of costume; and the politics of the avant-garde.