Institute of Advanced Studies (IAS)


IAS Book Launch 'The letters of the Duchesse d’Elbeuf: Hostile witness to the French Revolution'

28 November 2023, 5:00 pm–7:00 pm

Letters of the duchess d’Elbeuf

With Colin Jones (Queen Mary University of London), Simon Macdonald (UCL) and Alex Fairfax-Cholmeley (Exeter).

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to

All | UCL staff | UCL students






Institute of Advanced Studies


IAS Forum
G17, ground floor, South Wing
UCL, Gower Street, London
United Kingdom

The recently-discovered letters of the wealthy counter-revolutionary aristocrat, Innocente-Catherine de Rougé, dowager Duchesse d’Elbeuf (1707–94), offer a vivid and exciting new eye-witness perspective on the French Revolution and the Terror. Hostile witness to everything about the Revolution, the duchess’s letters, dating from 1788 to early 1794, to an unknown friend offer an unparalleled real-time narrative by an aristocratic woman struggling to understand radical change. Though tempted by emigration to the Low Countries, the duchess was unusual among her contemporary fellow-aristocrats in remaining in France down to her death in 1794, based in her homes in Picardy and at the heart of Paris. The letters constitute a remarkable example of female life-writing in the Age of Revolutions from a unique perspective. The volume includes a lengthy introduction and extensive scholarly apparatus.

Prof Colin Jones (Emeritus Professor of History, School of History, Queen Mary University of London)
Dr Simon Macdonald (Associate Lecturer in Modern European History, Dept of History, UCL)
Dr Alex Fairfax-Cholmeley (Senior Lecturer in European History, Dept of History, Exeter)

Discussant: Dr Sanja Perovic (Reader in Eighteenth-Century French Studies, Dept of Languages, Literatures and Cultures, King's College London)

Chair: Prof Catriona Seth (Marshal Foch Professor of French Literature, Faculty of Medieval and Modern Languages, Oxford)

This event is co-sponsored by the IAS, the Department of History, and the Centre for French and Francophone Research.