November 14, 2017

Raise a glass and a madeleine to Proust! Join Hollie Harder, Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Brandeis University and leader of the Boston Athenæum’s Proust Reading Group, as she discusses Proust and his leading lady Albertine Simonet. Although never identified as an Amazon in Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, Albertine, over the course of the novel, takes on traits of a modern-day version of this female equestrian from the Classical world. We will take a close look at how Albertine’s manner and appearance as a young girl on the Balbec beach and as a Fortuny-draped captive in the narrator’s Parisian apartment evoke her implicit Amazon character.


Hollie Harder is Professor of French and Francophone Studies at Brandeis University in Waltham, MA. She teaches all levels of French language, literature, and culture, and is the Director of Language Programs (in French, Spanish, and Italian). She has published on Marcel Proust and Emile Zola and leads two Proust discussion groups at the Boston Athenæeum. She is currently working on an article on Gérard de Nerval’s depiction of women and time in “Sylvie,” and on a longer project focusing on Albertine as a Greek Amazon figure who represents hybridity, ambiguity, and alterity in Proust’s novel.

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Categories: Literature & Poetry