Salon Series: The Real Manon Lescaut

Salon Series: The Real Manon Lescaut

With Historian Joan DeJean | in English

Thursday, May 24 at 6:30 p.m.
$10 Members/ $15 Non Members
54 W. Chicago Avenue

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One novel and two operas: much blood, ink and arias have flown about the iconic French heroine with a tragic destiny… But who was the real Manon Lescaut ?

Learn how her father, the Queen’s embroider, stole her dowry to invest in the newborn stock market on rue de Quincampoix; and how the real Manon Lescaut fought patriarchy to own her life and marry the man she loved.

Hear the music, discover the words and listen to the true story of star-crossed lovers and greed as told by author and historian Joan DeJean.

The Salon Series re-creates the atmosphere of Parisian salons held by French women famous for their wit and influence during the Age of Enlightenment. In this case, re-read the story of a precursor to the #MeToo movement rather than an ambiguous femme fatale men made her to be...


Joan DeJean has been Trustee Professor at the University of Pennsylvania since 1988. She previously taught at Yale and at Princeton. She is the author of ten books on French literature, history, and material culture of the 17th and 18th centuries, including How Paris Became Paris, The Age of Comfort, and The Essence of Style. Of her most recent book, The Queen's Embroiderer, Valerie Steele, Director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, says : “A fascinating true story based on formidable detective work in the archives.” 

Joan shares her time between Philadelphia and Paris.