Sponsored by The Grolier Club
Free and Open to the Public on Zoom: Dec 7, 6:00pm Eastern time
The French 19th-century writer Fanny Reybaud has been relegated to the dustbin of literary history, even in her homeland, but not necessarily due to lack of talent. Her works included short stories, poems and 30 novels, which were translated into English, Spanish, and even Arabic during her lifetime. Her popularity rivaled that of her contemporary, George Sand. Grolier member Barbara Basbanes Richter will lecture on detective work about Reybaud. The lecture pieces together the author’s successes and failures, both personal and professional; other authors who exploited the lack of clear and consistent plagiarism laws in 19th-century France by claiming her work as their own; and hypotheses as to why Reybaud’s books faded from favor. This presentation will also explore Reybaud’s crowning literary achievement, Mademoiselle de Malepeire, recently translated into English by Barbara Basbanes Richter for the first time in over 160 years. Set on the eve of the French Revolution, it is a story told through the voices of various men who know, love, and hate a misunderstood woman who reads forbidden books in secret and then acts upon her primal impulses. Readers, however, will recognize an author examining female identity and independence in a slim, well-executed, and highly readable volume. Barbara Basbanes Richter founded DIYBook, an affordable and easy-to-use book writing program, and In Ink Ghostwriting, helping politicians, pundits, scientists, CEOs, professional athletes, and others get their stories into print. Her work has appeared in The Wall Street Journal, New York Daily News, Fine Books & Collections, and The Sewanee Review, among other outlets.