New Release Books by Caroline Weber

Caroline Weber is the author of Proust's Duchess (2018), Queen of Fashion (2008), Killer Heels (2014), Terror and Its Discontents (2003) and , Vertical Integration and Production Inefficiency in the Presence of a Gross Receipts Tax (2021).

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Proust's Duchess

release date: May 22, 2018
Proust's Duchess
From the author of the acclaimed Queen of Fashion--a brilliant look at the glittering world of turn-of-the-century Paris through the first in-depth study of the three women Proust used to create his supreme fictional character, the Duchesse de Guermantes. Geneviève Halévy Bizet Straus; Laure de Sade, Comtesse de Adhéaume de Chevigné; and Élisabeth de Riquet de Caraman-Chimay, the Comtesse Greffulhe--these were the three superstars of fin-de-siècle Parisian high society who, as Caroline Weber says, "transformed themselves, and were transformed by those around them, into living legends: paragons of elegance, nobility, and style." All well but unhappily married, these women sought freedom and fulfillment by reinventing themselves, between the 1870s and 1890s, as icons. At their fabled salons, they inspired the creativity of several generations of writers, visual artists, composers, designers, and journalists. Against a rich historical backdrop, Weber takes the reader into these women's daily lives of masked balls, hunts, dinners, court visits, nights at the opera or theater. But we see as well the loneliness, rigid social rules, and loveless, arranged marriages that constricted these women's lives. Proust, as a twenty-year-old law student in 1892, would worship them from afar, and later meet them and create his celebrated composite character for The Remembrance of Things Past.

Queen of Fashion

release date: Jan 01, 2008
Queen of Fashion
In this sparkling new vision of the notorious French queen, dynamic young historian Caroline Weber offers a moving reinterpretation of one of history’s most controversial figures. Marie Antoinette has always been recognised as a style icon, but none of her biographers has paid sustained attention to her clothes. Drawing on new research to illuminate each phase of the queen’s tumultuous life, Weber surveys the ‘Revolution in Dress’ undertaken by a fourteen-year-old girl accustomed to Austria’s more relaxed style, who rebelled against the organ-crushing whalebone corsets and vast hoop skirts of Versailles. She used striking, often extreme costumes to boost her public profile, particularly her trademark pouf hairstyles recreating scenes from military victories. Over time, she began to alienate her subjects with her love of excess, and there was much concern at court when she donned ‘unqueenly’ attire – the saucy chemise she adopted as the unofficial uniform of her country retreat. The strategy devised to secure her triumphs would ultimately be the cause of her undoing. She approached the guillotine in a plain utilitarian dress, her hair brutally shorn. This stylish, witty and original biography received rapturous reviews on publication in hardback and is now available in B-format paperback.Caroline Weber is a professor at Columbia University, where she specialises in 18th-century French literature and history.

Killer Heels

release date: Jan 01, 2014
Killer Heels
This gorgeous book explores the fashion world's most coveted and iconic object--the high-heeled shoe. Killer Heels explores the rich cultural history of the high heel and its relation to power, fantasy, sexuality, and identity. More than 160 spectacular contemporary and historical shoe designs--from sixteenth-century Venetian platforms to twenty-first-century Christian Louboutins--play with the cultural and artistic possibilities of the high heel, use innovative or unexpected materials, and push the limits of functionality and beauty. Complementing the shoes are stills, sketches, and artist statements for six films specially commissioned for the exhibition from Ghada Amer and Reza Farkhondeh, Zach Gold, Steven Klein, Nick Knight, Marilyn Minter, and Rashaad Newsome that explore a range of provocative themes and demonstrate the power of the high heel in the collective imagination. In addition, several of the designers included in the exhibition (including Brian Atwood, Zaha Hadid, Pierre Hardy, and Christian Louboutin), along with Elizabeth Semmelhack, Senior Curator of the Bata Shoe Museum, contribute thoughts on topics such as their inspiration and design process, and the cultural significance of high heels. This collection of killer heels is filled with stunning photos and fashion lore. This book accompanies a traveling exhibition: Brooklyn Museum September 10, 2014-February 15, 2015 Albuquerque Museum May 30-August 9, 2015 Palm Springs Art Museum, California September 4, 2015-January 3, 2016 Currier Museum of Art, Manchester, New Hampshire February 5-May 15, 2016

Terror and Its Discontents

release date: Jan 01, 2003
Terror and Its Discontents
Camille Desmoulins, a journalist writing under the Montagnard regime of 1793-94, remarked that France's government had replaced "the language of democracy" with "the cold poison of fear, which paralyzed thought in the bottom of people's souls, and prevented it from pouring forth at the tribunal, or in writing." How this happened, how the Reign of Terror reached even into the realms of thought and language, is the subject of Caroline Weber's book, a revealing look into the paradoxical embargo on free expression that underpinned the Robespierrists' self-proclaimed "despotism of liberty" during the French Revolution. Weber examines Jean-Jacques Rousseau's and the Robespierrists' articulation of a series of initiatives designed to curtail and control the dissemination of alternative political and philosophical messages in the republic. Here Weber underscores the internal contradictions and limitations of an enterprise that promised universal freedom while oppressing particularism, and that railed against the very language that it was compelled to adopt as a principal political tool. The book then focuses on two eloquent contemporary critics of this phenomenon, Desmoulins and the Marquis de Sade, the infamous libertine author. Weber demonstrates how Desmoulins reconfigured the Montagnard regime's rhetoric to conjure up a political system based on tolerance, not terror, and how Sade deftly parodied the Robespierrists' brutality and hypocrisy, proposing a republic based on the ruthless elimination of dissident voices and on the unabashed celebration of despotism and bloodshed. A balanced account of how the "discourse of totality" actually restricted particular freedoms in the wake of theFrench Revolution, this book provides a highly original--and timely--exposition of the political uses of rhetoric and of the links between language and power.

Vertical Integration and Production Inefficiency in the Presence of a Gross Receipts Tax

release date: Jan 01, 2021
Vertical Integration and Production Inefficiency in the Presence of a Gross Receipts Tax
We quantify the effects of a gross receipts tax (GRT) on vertical integration for the first time. We use data from the Washington state recreational cannabis industry, which has numerous advantages including a clean natural experiment: a 25% GRT imposed on cannabis firms was subsequently replaced by an excise tax at retail. We find the short-run elasticity of vertical integration with respect to the intermediate good net- of-tax rate is -0.15 and the long-run elasticity is more than twice as large. We find these incentives lead to large output losses - production increases by 23 percent when the GRT is eliminated.
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