June 12, 2015 New Biography Reconsiders Marquis de Lafayette's Legacy

Press Contact: Guy Lamolinara (202) 707-9217
Public Contact: Center for the Book (202) 707-5221

In 1776, when he was just 19, Gilbert du Motier—better known as the Marquis de Lafayette—embarked on what he believed was his destiny when he crossed the Atlantic to join George Washington in the American Revolution.

According to a new biography of Lafayette, his legacy is often forgotten beyond the classroom. In “The Marquis: Lafayette Reconsidered” (Knopf, 2014), author Laura Auricchio provides a comprehensive study of Lafayette’s roles in both the American and French revolutions. Auricchio will discuss and sign her book, which was researched in the Library’s Manuscript Division, on Wednesday, June 17, at noon in the Montpelier Room, sixth floor of the Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E. This Books & Beyond program is co-sponsored by the Center for the Book and the Manuscript Division. It is free and open to the public; no tickets are required.

Although Lafayette’s participation in the American Revolution is well-documented, less so is his less-than-triumphant return to France. There, his heroism in America is often viewed as one of his misbegotten undertakings. Auricchio explores why Lafayette continues to be denigrated in his homeland.

Laura Auricchio is a specialist in 18th-century French history and art who received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from Columbia University. She is dean of the School of Undergraduate Studies at the New School for Public Engagement in New York.

Auricchio did some of her research in the Manuscript Division using microfilm of the Marie Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de Lafayette Papers. In 1995, the Library finalized an agreement with the Count de Chambrun to microfilm the Lafayette archives at his 15th-century chateau, La Grange. Between July 1995 and February 1996, small groups of Library staff traveled to France and worked at La Grange to oversee the microfilming of the papers.

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PR 15-108
ISSN 0731-3527