Caroline Weber, specialist of eighteenth-century French literature, culture, and history, offers a brilliant look at the glittering world of fin-de-siècle Paris through the first in-depth study of the three women Proust used to create his supreme fictional character, the Duchesse de Guermantes. These alluring women were the superstars of Parisian high society who transformed themselves, and were transformed by those around them, into living legends: paragons of elegance, nobility, and style. All well but unhappily married, these women sought freedom and fulfillment by reinventing themselves, between the 1870s and 1890s, as icons. At their fabled salons, they inspired the creativity of several generations of writers, visual artists, composers, designers, and journalists. Against a rich historical backdrop, Weber takes us into these women’s daily lives of masked balls, hunts, dinners, court visits, and 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.
The lecture, which will be held in the historic Stable, will be followed by a tea and book signing. The doors will open at 10:15 a.m.
Caroline Weber is associate professor of French at Barnard College, Columbia University; she has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania and Yale University. Her publications include Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution, which was featured during the Mount’s 2008 lecture series; Terror and Its Discontents, a well-received and widely taught book on the Reign of Terror; an edited volume of Yale French Studies; and numerous academic articles. She has written for The New York Times, The New York Times Book Review, Financial Times, London Review of Books, The Wall Street Journal, and New York Magazine.
Refund requests will only be honored if made more than one week prior to lecture date.
Lecture Series books can be purchased in advance from The Mount’s Bookstore! Mount members receive a 10% discount. Everyone receives a 15% discount if all 9 books are purchased together. If you would like to order your book(s) ahead of the lecture, e-mail our Bookstore Manager Patricia at email@example.com.
We would like to thank Blantyre, a Relais & Chateau property, for their generous donation and support of this season’s Summer Lecture Series at The Mount.
The Mount is a Massachusetts Cultural Council UP designated organization welcoming participants of all disabilities. Please contact The Mount at 413-551-5100 or by email,mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org, to discuss accommodations needed to participate fully in this event. Caregivers are admitted free-of-charge.