Geneviève Straus: A Parisian Life


Geneviève Straus: a Parisian Life is the first biography in English of Geneviève Straus (1849-1926), a Parisian salon hostess and political activist. Joyce Block Lazarus explores myths surrounding Straus and offers an account of her life and accomplishments. Making use of historical materials, including previously unpublished letters, Lazarus shows that Straus was a female intellectual during an era when women were non-citizens.
Scholars have well documented the Dreyfus Affair (1894-1906), but have overlooked archival documents which spotlight Straus’s role as a political activist in the affair. In Geneviève Straus: a Parisian Life, Lazarus highlights Straus’s thirty-four-year friendship with Marcel Proust and examines her influence on Proust’s novel, In Search of Lost Time, finding echoes of Straus and her family in his masterpiece.

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Joyce Block Lazarus, Professor Emerita of Modern Languages, has published Strangers and Sojourners: Jewish Identity in Contemporary Francophone Fiction (1999), In the Shadow of Vichy: the Finaly Affair (2008) and Hiding in Plain Sight: Eluding the Nazis in Occupied France (2012).
"Joyce Block Lazarus pose l’hypothèse que, contre l’idée que les salons étaient un lieu de pouvoir pour les hommes et non pour les femmes, celui de Straus, tout du moins, permit à celle-ci d’exercer un pouvoir réel sur des générations d’intellectuels." - Pauline Moret-Jankus, French Studies, 72.4, Oct. 2018.
List of Illustrations


Part 1

1 “He Who Laughs on Friday . . .”

2 Under Siege

3 Belated Glory

Part 2

4 134, Boulevard Haussmann

5 “Death to the Traitor!”

6 Tea and a Madeleine


Part 3

7 The End of a World

8 Endings and Beginnings


Undergraduate and graduate students of nineteenth and twentieth century French history, culture and literature, as well as a general, educated readership.