Geneviève Straus: A Parisian Life
by Joyce Block Lazarus
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 Making use of historical materials, including previously unpublished letters, Lazarus shows that Straus was a female intellectual during an era when women were non-citizens.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.