Paris Bride…whatever happened to Marie?

Book cover of A Paris Bride

In 1905, in Paris, a young woman called Marie Wheeler married, or thought she had married, Johannes Schad, a clerk from Basel.

Marie and Johannes lived together in suburban London until one day, in 1924, they went to the High Court in the Strand and the marriage ended - or rather was declared never to have been.

The stated reason for what happened in the High Court was, and is, hard to credit.

Marie then returned to Paris, with no more known of her.  And that is all the official records reveal. 

Almost 100 years on, evidence from Paris reveals quite another version of events….

London gives one account of this 19-year long marriage and Paris gives another. Which is true?

In ‘Paris Bride. A Modernist Life,’ John Schad, Professor of Modern Literature at Lancaster University and the grandson of Johannes, explores of the lost life of Marie, of whom little is known beyond a few legal papers, a number of letters, some photographs, the diaries of a friend, and her obituary.

With so little else known of Marie’s life, this book seeks to read her back into existence by drawing on a host of contemporaneous modernist texts, each one being uncannily connected with Marie through some coincidence of time, place, or theme.

‘Paris Bride’ investigates a remarkable weave of lives, loves, and places.   

Professor Schad’s previous books include Victorians in Theory (Manchester, 1999), Queer Fish: Christian Unreason from Darwin to Derrida (Sussex, 2004), a memoir, Someone Called Derrida (Sussex, 2007), a novel The Late Walter Benjamin (Continuum, 2012), and (with Fred Dalmasso) Derrida | Benjamin. Two Plays (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020).

He has also had two retrospectives published – Hostage of the Word, 1993-2013 (2013) and John Schad in Conversation (2015). He has read his work on BBC Radio 3’s ‘The Verb’ and at various literary festivals, and his plays have been performed at The Oxford Playhouse, Duke’s Theatre Lancaster, Watford Palace Theatre, HowTheLight GetsIn (Hay-on-Wye) and the Sheldonian Theatre Oxford.

‘Paris Bride’ is available in both print copy and as a free pdf at It will be launched officially at a Litfest 2020 event (The Rise of the Memoir) on March 19 at The Storey in Lancaster

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