Caroline Weber received her Ph.D. in French literature from Yale University (1998) and her BA in Literature from Harvard University (summa cum laude, 1991). Before coming to Barnard/Columbia, she taught for seven years at the University of Pennsylvania. A specialist in eighteenth-century French literature and culture, with particular emphasis on the Enlightenment and the French Revolution, she is the author of Terror and its Discontents: Suspect Words and the French Revolution (University of Minnesota Press, 2003), and of Fragments of Revolution (Yale University Press, 2001), an edited volume of essays on revolutionary culture. More recently, she published Queen of Fashion: What Marie-Antoinette Wore to the French Revolution (Henry Holt, 2006/Picador, 2007). A study of the political impact of Marie-Atnoinette’s controversial clothing choices, Queen of Fashion made the LA Times best-seller list and was selected as a Notable Book of the Year by The New York Times and a Best Book of the Year by Washington Post Book World and Borders Books and Music. Queen of Fashion has already been published in multiple paperback print runs and appeared in several European and Latin American translations; it is currently being translated for a Chinese edition.
Professor Weber’s academic articles include essays on eighteenth-century authors such as Rousseau, Voltaire, Diderot, Sade, Charrière, and La Chaussée, and on contemporary thinkers like Lacan and Lyotard. She also publishes widely in the mainstream press, most notably in Vogue, The New York Times, T: The New York Times Style Magazine, The Financial Times, The Wall Street Journal, Town & Country, Bookforum, and Washington Post Book World. She is a regular contributor to The New York Times Book Review.
Professor Weber’s current research interests include the drame bourgeois; the tradition of Frenchwomen’s salons; and literary phenomena such as the hoax and the roman à clef, which highlight the vexed relationship between fiction and the “real.” Her teaching interests include eighteenth-century novels and drama (specifically in France and Germany); 20th and 21st century literary theory; psychoanalysis; the history and semiotics of costume; and the politics of the avant-garde.
Books and Edited Volumes:
Terror and Its Discontents: Suspect Words in Revolutionary France. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2003.
Fragments of Revolution. A special issue of Yale French Studies 101. Co-edited with Howard Lay (Spring 2002).
Queen of Fashion: What Marie-Antoinette Wore to the Revolution. New York: Henry Holt, 2006/Picador, 2007.
The Last Salonnière [in progress]
“Marie-Antoinette, reine de la mode.” La Règle du jeu. Ed. Bernard-Henri Lévy. Vol.49, mai 2009.
“La Terreur vestimentaire.” Penser la Terreur. Ed. Bruno Chaouat. Presses Universitaires de Dijon, 2009.
“A Beautiful Idea.” Vogue. March 2009.
“The Brains of the Outfit: In Sarajevo with Bernard-Henri Lévy.” T: The New York Times Style Magazine. Fall 2008.
“The Devil Sells Prada.” The New York Times Book Review. August 26, 2007.
“Queen of the Zeitgeist.” The New York Times. October 21, 2006.
“French Fashion.” Columbia Dictionary of Twentieth-Century French Thought. Ed. Lawrence D. Kritzman. New York: Columbia University Press, 2005.
“On the Hardness of Virtue, or Fetishizing Disinterest inBeaumarchais’ Les Deux amis.” MLN 119.4 (September 2004): 800-818.
“Rewriting Rousseau: Isabelle de Charrière’s Domestic Dystopia.” Gender and Utopianism in the Eighteenth Century. Ed. Nicole Pohl & Brenda Tooley. New York & London:Routledge, 2004. 335-351.
“Dreams of Stone: Femininity in the Eighteenth-Century Sculptural Imagination.” Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture 33 (Spring 2004): 1-29.
“Voltaire’s Zaïre: Fantasies of Infidelity, Ideologies of Faith.” South Central Review 20.4 (Winter 2003): 11-32.
“Fashion.” French Popular Culture: An Introduction. Ed. Hugh Dauncey. London: Hodder Arnold, 2003. 193-205.
“The Sins of the Father: Colonialism and Family History in Diderot’s Le Fils naturel.” PMLA 18.3 (May 2003): 488-501.
“The Sexist Sublime in Sade and Lyotard.” Philosophy and Literature 26.2 (October 2002): 397-404.
“Freedom’s Missed Moment.” Fragments of Revolution. A special issue of Yale French Studies 101. Ed. Caroline Weber & Howard G. Lay (Spring 2002): 9-31
“The Giver Giveth, and the Giver Taketh Away.” Lacanian Ink 16 (Spring/Summer 2000): 54-63.
“Overcoming Excess: Jouissance and Justice in Nivelle de la Chaussée’s École des mères.” MLN 14.4 (Fall 1999): 719-742.
“Madame de Mistival’s Differend: Animality and Alterity in Sade’s Philosophie dans le boudoir.” Utah Foreign Language Review 1997 (Spring 1997): 49-61.