BOOK LAUNCH : Courtesan and Countess
THURSDAY 8 SEPTEMBER 2016
The Lost and Found Memoirs of the French Consul’s Wife By Jana Verhoeven, Allan Willey and Jeanne Allen
Alliance Francaise de Melbourne
51 Grey Street,
VIC 3182, St Kilda
Céleste de Chabrillan, former courtesan and widow of the first French Consul to Melbourne, became the most prolific female stage writer in nineteenth-century France. Forever haunted by her scandalous past, Céleste fought to hold her place in an artistic world dominated by men.
Courtesan and Countess tells the story not only of her struggle as a creative artist to survive and earn a living, but also of her fascinating life at the centre of the bohemian circles of Paris, surrounded by friends such as Alexandre Dumas père, Georges Bizet and Prince Napoléon. Courtesan and Countess paints a portrait of a remarkable woman and of the turbulent world of Paris during the Belle Epoque.
Lost for more than eighty years until discovered by the authors in the attic of a French country manor, these are the unpublished and final set of memoirs from Céleste de Chabrillan.
Presentation by Myriam Boisbouvier-Wylie (Honorary Consul General of France in Victoria), Colin Nettelbeck (Emeritus Professor of the University of Melbourne), Jana Verhoeven, Alan Willey and Jeanne Allen
Jana Verhoeven (lead author) is a researcher and teacher of French literature and history at the University of Melbourne. Her most recent publication is Jovial Bigotry: Max O'Rell and the Transnational Debate over Manners and Morals in 19th Century France, Britain and the United States. Jana has also published a number of articles on nineteenth century French cultural history, including Les deux noms and Petit journal de la fin de ma vie: Céleste de Chabrillan's mémoires inédits.
Alan Willey read Modern Languages at Oxford and taught French at Wesley College Melbourne for over thirty years. He has been researching Céleste de Chabrillan's life since 1998.
Jeanne Allen studied French language and literature at the University of Melbourne and wrote her Master of Arts thesis on a selection of the Australian works of Céleste de Chabrillan. In 1998, she co-translated and annotated Céleste's second set of memoirs, The French Consul's Wife. Jeanne is currently an Associate Professor in Education.
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