Past Event

Proust's Duchess: How Three Celebrated Women Captured the Imagination of Fin de Siecle Paris

May 10, 2018
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Event time is displayed in your time zone.
Buell Hall, 515 W. 116 St., New York, NY 10027 East Gallery
Caroline Weber, in conversation with Maurice Samuels and Elisabeth Ladenson Genevieve Halevy Bizet Straus; Laure de Sade, Comtesse Adheaume de Chevigne; and Elisabeth de Riquet de Caraman-Chimay, the Comtesse Greffulhe, these were the three superstars of fin de siecle Parisian high society who, as Caroline Weber says, transformed themselves, and were transformed by those around them, into living legends: paragons of elegance, nobility, and style. Against a rich historical backdrop, Weber takes the reader into these women's daily lives in their fabled salons and in masked balls, hunts, dinners, court visits, nights at the opera or theater. But we see as well the loneliness, rigid social rules, and loveless, arranged marriages that constricted these women's lives. Proust, as a twenty-year-old law student in 1892, would worship them from afar, and later meet them and create his celebrated composite character for The Remembrance of Things Past. Caroline Weber is Associate Professor of French 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 and 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.