A special event celebrating the life and work of Germaine Brée, the internationally renowned authority on 20th-century French literature and founder of La Maison Française of New York University, will take place on Tuesday, October 16, at 7 p.m., at La Maison Française, 16 Washington Mews (at University Place). The event is free and open to the public. For further information, call 212.998.8750, or visit www.nyu.edu/maisonfrancaise.
Participants in the celebration include Tom Bishop, Gould Professor of French Literature and director of the Center for French Culture and Civilization at NYU; Georges Borchardt, literary agent and president, Georges Borchardt, Inc.; Mary Ann Caws, CUNY Graduate Center; Tom Conley, Harvard; Lawrence Kritzman, Dartmouth; and David Noakes, former director of La Maison Française.
Brée was at NYU for only seven years, from 1953 to 1960; but in that short time she chaired the French department (the first female chair at the university), wrote a biography of Camus, and founded Maison Française in the red brick building on Washington Mews which had once been a carriage house. Known as the Dean of French Letters in the U.S., Brée wrote studies of Marcel Proust and André Gide, as well as Camus. Her other books include Twentieth Century French Literature, Camus and Sartre: Crisis and Commitment, and Women Writers in France. She died in 2001 at the age of 93, after a long teaching career which included positions at the University of Wisconsin, Wake Forest University, Princeton University, and Williams College, as well as NYU.