Geneviève Halévy

Deceased Person

1849 – 1926

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Who was Geneviève Halévy?

Geneviève Halévy, later Geneviève Bizet and Geneviève Straus, was a French salonnière. She inspired Marcel Proust as a model for the Duchesse de Guermantes and Odette de Crécy in À la recherche du temps perdu.

Geneviève Halévy was the daughter of the composer Jacques-Fromental Halévy, and his spouse, née Léonie Rodrigues-Henriques, both Jewish. Geneviève Halévy's youth was sad: she lost her father when she was 13 years old, her elder sister when she was 15 years old, and her mother suffered from periods of mental instability. She married in 1869 Georges Bizet, pupil of her father, and gave birth in 1871 to their son Jacques, who became a school friend of Marcel Proust. Bizet died suddenly of a heart attack, in 1875. Geneviève moved to live with her uncle, Léon Halévy, and opened a salon for her cousin Ludovic Halévy, where she helped him in receiving the cream of the artistic society of the time. This was known as Ludovic's Thursdays.

After a few years, she opened her own salon where distinguished society, such as Baron and Baronness Alphonse de Rothschild, Comtesse Potocka, Duchesse de Richelieu, Comtesse de Chevigné, née de Sade, etc. could meet with writers and intellectuals such as Guy de Maupassant, Henri Meilhac, Georges de Porto-Riche, Paul Bourget, Paul Hervieu, Joseph Reinach, and of course her cousin Ludovic.

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Born
Feb 26, 1849
Paris
Also known as
  • Geneviève Bizet
  • Geneviève Straus
Parents
Spouses
Children
Nationality
  • France
Died
1926

Submitted
on July 23, 2013

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