Tea at Trianon Forum
Always be polite. Courtesy is required of you.
Tea with the Queen
Latest topics
» Mary Cassatt
Wed Oct 11, 2017 6:18 am by otto

» Seek advice
Thu Oct 05, 2017 12:37 am by otto

» Do you want a cup of Afternoon tea?
Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:33 pm by otto

» Tea bag vs Loose leaf tea?
Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:27 pm by otto

» Greet teaVS Black tea
Sun Sep 10, 2017 10:22 pm by otto

» Tsar Nicholas I
Thu Aug 03, 2017 11:02 pm by princess garnet

» Emperor Rudolph II
Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:03 pm by princess garnet

»  Tea and Sleep
Fri Apr 28, 2017 4:54 am by janet11

» Faux Pecan Pie
Thu Apr 27, 2017 6:38 am by janet11

Who is online?
In total there is 1 user online :: 0 Registered, 0 Hidden and 1 Guest

None

[ View the whole list ]


Most users ever online was 70 on Mon Jul 27, 2015 8:35 pm
Social bookmarking

Social bookmarking digg  Social bookmarking delicious  Social bookmarking reddit  Social bookmarking stumbleupon  Social bookmarking slashdot  Social bookmarking yahoo  Social bookmarking google  Social bookmarking blogmarks  Social bookmarking live      

Bookmark and share the address of Tea at Trianon Forum on your social bookmarking website

Banner art courtesy of The Graphics Fairy.

Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

View previous topic View next topic Go down

Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  Elena on Thu Oct 20, 2011 3:02 pm

Nesta Webster, IMO.

_________________
Je pardonne à tous mes ennemis le mal qu’ils m’ont fait.
avatar
Elena
Admin

Posts : 1164
Join date : 2011-10-18
Location : East of the Sun, West of the Moon

View user profile http://www.emvidal.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  Duchess Lylia on Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:28 pm

Elena, what is your opinion of the Stefan Zweig biography? I well remember reading the Reader's Digest condensed version of this biography as a 10-year-old and being utterly fascinated (while extremely upset at the gory details of the Revolution).
avatar
Duchess Lylia

Posts : 32
Join date : 2011-10-21
Location : Tri-State Metropolitan Nirvana

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  Elena on Fri Oct 21, 2011 7:49 pm

Thanks for the great question, Lylia! I love you Zweig's is a good introductory book but overall not one of my favorites. Smile He was the first to put a Freudian interpretation on Marie-Antoinette's life, which of course as a ten-year-old you would not have picked up on. Smile
I write something about his bio here:
http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2011/08/marie-antoinette-and-freud.html
Among Freud's close friends was the popular Austrian novelist and playwright Stefan Zweig, who is spite of his enormous literary success ended his life in suicide.
Among Stefan Zweig's most famous works is his biography Marie-Antoinette: the Portrait of an Average Woman which views the Queen's life in Freudian terms, especially when it comes to the first seven years of the her marriage. Louis XVI is portrayed as a repressed, impotent, dull-witted, indifferent husband, who drove his wife to gambling, dancing and spending exorbitant amounts of money as an outlet for her thwarted impulses. Zweig was the first to impart to the public the image of the sexually frustrated teenage princess, which successive authors and filmmakers continue to promote to this day. The drawback of the Freudian theory is that it does not explain why others at the French court, who were enjoying unmitigated pleasures of the flesh, were spending much more money than the eighteen year old virgin Marie-Antoinette.
In 1937, Nesta Webster debunked the Freudian analysis in her two volume study of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette. In discussing the yet unconsummated marriage of the King and Queen, Webster says the following of Marie-Antoinette's sorrow:

It is...unnecessary in her case to resort to Freudian methods of psycho-analysis in order to understand her state of mind. Her feelings were really quite simple. For however much the unnatural conditions of her marriage may, and indeed must, have reacted on her nervous system, the dominating thought that emerges from her letters from those of Mercy to Maria Theresa is her great longing for children....On Sundays, when the garden of Petit Trianon was thrown open to the public, the Queen would go among the family parties collected there and call for the children to be brought up and presented to her, then she would ask their names, and shower on them bonbons and kisses....But beyond this natural trouble of a woman was the sorrow of a Queen who had given no heir to the throne. The letters of Maria Theresa, urging on her the necessity for fulfilling her destiny as mother of a Dauphin, must have felt like turning a knife in the wound, for the Empress showed little human sympathy or understanding for her daughter's unhappy position....(Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette before the Revolution by Nesta Webster, pp.116-117)
The despair of not giving birth to an heir, as well as the unfulfilled natural longing for a child, combined with the exuberant high spirits of a girl who loved parties and dancing, created for Marie-Antoinette an image of frantic giddiness, soiling her reputation for all time, and leading to rumors of wanton behavior. It is ironic because her brother Joseph described the Queen as not having aucun tempérament, that is, she had little or no temperament or inclination for sensuality. (Marie-Antoinette: L'Insoumise by Simone Bertière, p.357)

Of Louis XVI, Webster writes:

To trace the King's inferiority complex solely to this cause [the unconsummated marriage] after the Freudian manner is...contrary to all evidence, since this complex existed long before his marriage and continued after [the union was consummated]. Never did Louis XVI display more self-confidence than during the Guerre des Farines while his marriage still remained unconsummated, never less than during the Revolution when he had become the father of a family. (Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette before the Revolution by Nesta Webster, p.113)

Perhaps we should attribute Louis' alleged shortcomings to his struggles with tuberculosis as a child as well as to the early loss of his parents and the way he was treated by his tutors. As far as consummating the marriage goes, since his bride was fourteen years old but looked as if she were twelve, I think it speaks well for Louis that he did not wish to deflower a child. Louis also approached his bride in a restrained manner because his aunts had inculcated in him the dangers for France when a king became enthralled by a woman, as had happened to his grandfather Louis XV.

Furthermore, Louis belonged to the political clique at Versailles that had been against the Austrian alliance. Austria was the traditional enemy of France, and had leveled a humiliating defeat upon the Bourbons in the Seven Years War. The defeat was blamed upon the mistress of Louis XV, Madame de Pompadour, who had also been behind arranging the marriage with the Habsburg Archduchess Antonia. Louis' aunt and godmother, the feisty old maid Madame Adélaïde, daughter of Louis XV, never let him forget that his bride was not only an enemy of France, but that she had been brought over by a courtesan, Madame de Pompadour, who also had reddish hair and was named "Antoinette." Louis could probably see himself becoming quite easily enthralled with Marie-Antoinette, so he remained aloof at first. According to the letters written by the Queen to her mother the Empress Maria Theresa, the young couple began to attempt to consummate the marriage as early as 1773, when Marie-Antoinette was seventeen and Louis eighteen.

Author Simone Bertière, in her superb biography L'Insoumise, maintains that Marie-Antoinette had a "narrowness of passage" which made consummating the marriage difficult and painful. To quote from The Guardian:

Marie-Antoinette suffered from a condition known in the court as 'l'étroitesse du chemin', [a narrowness of passage], that made her frigid. The research by Simone Bertière, a specialist in the lives of France's seventeenth and eighteenth-century queens, shatters the myth of a semi-impotent, foppish king, and a sluttish queen, favourite targets of scurrilous pamphlets that inflamed the mobs of 1789. It also undermines the most influential biography of Marie-Antoinette, written by Stefan Zweig in Vienna in 1932 after he discovered uncensored correspondence between the queen and her domineering mother, the Empress Marie-Theresa.

'Since then, the presumed impotence of Louis and his cowardice in refusing an operation to correct a small physical malformation have been accepted as a matter of fact, sufficient to explain the queen's neurotic instability,' Bertière said, commenting on her 700-page biography, Marie-Antoinette, l'insoumise (the rebel). 'But Zweig did not compare these letters with those sent by the Hapsburg ambassador to the empress which leave no doubt at all that Louis XVI did not suffer from malformation.'

It was not until seven years after marrying Louis XV's orphaned grandson, then the Dauphin, at Versailles in 1770 that Marie-Antoinette, 'a little girl paralysed by terror', lost her virginity. From the first fruitless night the physiological realities which, according to Bertière, nineteenth and twentieth-century historians glossed over, were the object of intense court records, letters and diplomatic exchanges that described their sexual characteristics in detail.
Zweig is responsible for spreading the phimosis theory, a theory that keeps appearing in contemporary books and on the internet, although authors such as Webster, Bertière, Cronin, and Fraser have done their best to show it to be erroneous. Wikipedia condenses it thus:

The reasons behind the couple's initial failure to have children were debated at that time, and they have continued to be so since. One suggestion is that Louis-Auguste suffered from a physiological dysfunction,[8] most often thought to be phimosis, a suggestion first made in late 1772 by the royal doctors.[9] Historians adhering to this view suggest that he was circumcised[10] (a common treatment for phimosis) to relieve the condition seven years after their marriage. Louis's doctors were not in favour of the surgery – the operation was delicate and traumatic, and capable of doing "as much harm as good" to an adult male. The argument for phimosis and a resulting operation is mostly seen to originate from Stefan Zweig.[11]

However, it is agreed amongst most modern historians that Louis had no surgery[12][13][14] – for instance, as late as 1777, the Prussian envoy, Baron Goltz, reported that the King of France had definitely declined the operation.[15] The fact was that Louis was frequently declared to be perfectly fit for sexual intercourse, confirmed by Joseph II, and during the time he was purported to have had the operation, he went out hunting almost every day, according to his journal. This would not have been possible if he had undergone a circumcision; at the very least, he would have been unable to go out hunting for a few weeks after. Their consummation problems have now been attributed to other factors, around which controversy and argument still enshroud today.

Bertière's biography is not available in English; it is worth learning French just to read L'Insoumise because otherwise one's understanding of Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette's marriage is sadly limited. Bertière says:

L'image donnée de [Louis] par Stefan Zweig devenue par la suite une manière de vulgate, ne résiste pas à l'examen. Pas davantage ne tient l'idée d'une jeune femme s'offrant en pure perte à ses assauts quotidiens: car ils ne partageaient pas le même lit. (The portrayal of [Louis] by Stefan Zweig has been followed as if it were the Vulgate, but it does not withstand examination. Nor does the idea of a young woman offering herself in vain to his daily attacks, for they did not share the same bed.) ( Marie-Antoinette: L'Insoumise by Simone Bertière, p.347)

Bertière repeatedly quotes the various doctors' reports of examinations of Louis which say there was no physical reason why he could not consummate the marriage, i.e., no phimosis. Both Nesta Webster and Antonia Fraser deny the mythical surgery as well. According to Webster: "...Joseph II was able to give the right advice which eventually led to the consummation so devoutly hoped for without recourse being made to the much talked of operation." (Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette before the Revolution by Nesta Webster, p.157) As for Fraser, she writes:

In the end it was not a case of phimosis, the overtight foreskin mocked by Les Nouvelles de la Cour....In January 1776, Moreau, a surgeon of the Hôtel-Dieu hospital, was pronouncing the operation [on Louis XVI] unnecessary and a few months later Marie-Antoinette was increasingly sure the surgeon was right....So there was never an operation. (Marie-Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser, p.156)

In the summer of 1777, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette fully consummated their marriage at last. They were aged twenty-two and twenty-one years respectively. The bride had physically matured and was emotionally ready for the duties of being a wife and mother. To celebrate their matrimonial success, in 1778 Marie-Antoinette commissioned the architect Mique to design and build the neo-classical structure called the Temple of Love. It became a marriage which all the forces of hell could not sunder.

_________________
Je pardonne à tous mes ennemis le mal qu’ils m’ont fait.
avatar
Elena
Admin

Posts : 1164
Join date : 2011-10-18
Location : East of the Sun, West of the Moon

View user profile http://www.emvidal.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  Mata Hari on Sun Oct 23, 2011 2:40 pm

Here is a review by a Marie-Antoinette specialist on the two-volume study by Nesta Webster.
http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/116208810
Nesta Webster's two volume work on the much maligned Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI is something I consider to be a must-read for anyone interested in their lives. Webster examines contemporary sources with great insight, clearing away much of the "myth" that has been passed down about both Marie Antoinette and her husband. Webster is particularly critical of the Freudian interpretation of Marie Antoinette's behavior, the unfortunate portrayals of Louis XVI as a fat oaf and Marie Antoinette as a war-mongering Austrian, and the alleged Axel Fersen affair.

For the most part, her writing is very accessible to those with a general knowledge of the time period. However, she occasionally uses French quotes without offering a translation, and also occasionally footnotes with her her own work or makes reference to her previous books instead of explaining a situation to its fullest.

It should be noted that Webster was a conspiracy theorist. I haven't read her books that are solely on the French Revolution, however her theories crop up in both volumes... personally I don't agree with them, but her analysis of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette is well worth the occasional quirky theory.

The first volume deals with the lives of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette until just after the diamond necklace scandal. The second volume examines their behavior during the revolution and of course, continues until their deaths.

_________________
Because I really did not spy, it is terrible that I cannot defend myself.
avatar
Mata Hari

Posts : 201
Join date : 2011-10-20
Location : Paris

View user profile http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mata_Hari

Back to top Go down

Re: Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  Elena on Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:02 pm

Years ago, while researching Trianon, I read Nesta Webster's Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette before the Revolution and really appreciated it for the masterful character study of the royal couple. Every contention is carefully documented while written in a stirring yet composed style. I decided long ago that Mrs Webster's dual biography was the one I would wanted to have written myself.

Having recently finished the second volume of the biography, Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette during the Revolution, I felt inspired to write a review. I dutifully googled Nesta Webster and to my horror saw her on many websites accused of being "a fascist and an anti-semite." She also appears to be the Queen of Conspiracy theories. She is certainly a cause of much cyber-polarization; she is either praised as being one of the greatest historians who ever lived or else dismissed as an obscurantist fanatic and a believer in reincarnation. Most biographical accounts I have found are written by those who detested her, so I do not know how balanced they are. I see her as being a bit like the Lord Darlington character in the Merchant-Ivory film The Remains of the Day. Many in the British upper and middle classes in the 1930’s saw fascism as a political solution and a viable response to the proposed Communist takeover of the world.

Similarly, there were Americans in the 1920’s and 30’s who were infatuated with Communism and saw “Uncle Joe” Stalin as a great guy, oblivious to the thousands whom he and Lenin had already murdered. Looking back, there is so much more we now know about the Communists, Nazis and other socialist and fascist groups than their contemporaries did at the time. Any association with Nazism, even from a distance, can taint someone’s research for all posterity, which is what has happened to Nesta Webster.

For a general history of the French Revolution, I have found Simon Schama’s Citizens to be very reliable. Webster’s two volume work on Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, however, cannot be ignored by any serious student of the revolutionary era, even if one finds assertions of Masonic conspiracies to be laughable, as many scholars do.

Of Louis XVI Webster writes: “As Soulavie says again, under former kings the monarch was the idol of the nation, under Louis XVI, on the contrary, the nation was the object almost of adoration of the King.” She discusses the painting by Hersent of “Louis XVI relieving the Afflicted” of which an eye-witness later said that art completely imitated reality in that case.

Webster lists the many reforms of Louis XVI which began in 1774 at the beginning of his reign, including the abolition of torture, civil rights for Jews and Protestants, the abolition of servitude and lettres de cachet, and many more. By July of 1789, with the problems with the Estates-General and the death of his oldest son, he was essentially having a nervous breakdown. Indeed, the King had a series of physical and mental collapses in the last turbulent years of his life; it is amazing he was able to function at all. The queen became his strength, and therefore Marie-Antoinette more than ever became the target of the pamphleteers and of those who wanted control of the throne. Louis XVI did not want to leave his people in the hands of extremists and the queen, of course, would not leave his side. “I will die at his feet” she was heard to say repeatedly, when it was suggested that she try to escape on her own.

Webster shows how on several occasions, when attacked by the mob, it had been the hope of the revolutionary leaders, especially the Duc d’Orleans, that the royal couple would either flee or be killed. The fact that Louis and Antoinette were able to ride the tide of total upheaval for four years can be attributed to their courage, which gained the respect even of those intent upon tearing them to pieces. The king and especially the queen had the gift of turning enemies, such as Mirabeau, Barnave, and Toulan, into friends. As the revolutionary leader Barnave found, according to Beaulieu, “the Queen treated him with that affectionate politeness which had led her to being given the title of ‘Mary, full of grace (Marie, pleine de graces).’” Webster shows how the blunders of the far right (the émigrés abroad) led to the destruction of Louis, Antoinette and their family as much as did the malice of their enemies on the left. Nevertheless, the king, queen and Madame Elisabeth were distinguished for their profound courtesy, kindness and forgiveness, even in the most desperate situations.

Their trials forged Louis and Antoinette into one, as Webster demonstrates throughout her work with many citations. At the beginning of their imprisonment in the Temple in August 1792, the queen shed tears, saying to her husband: “I weep less for myself than for you.”

Louis XVI replied: “Our eyes were not given us to weep with, but to look up to Heaven, the source of all our consolations….”

At these words, the queen dried her eyes and faced the situation with the magnificent courage that sustained her to the end. It was now that she entered the fifth phase of her life. Once, a light-hearted child—then a pleasure-loving woman—a mother—a politician—she fulfilled her tragic destiny to the last and became that great figure revered by all noble minds of posterity—the Queen Martyr.
(from Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette During the Revolution by Nesta Webster)

_________________
Je pardonne à tous mes ennemis le mal qu’ils m’ont fait.
avatar
Elena
Admin

Posts : 1164
Join date : 2011-10-18
Location : East of the Sun, West of the Moon

View user profile http://www.emvidal.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  Mata Hari on Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:21 pm

Of English language biographies, Webster is definitely the best. Of French language biographies, I think it would be Simone Bertiere.

_________________
Because I really did not spy, it is terrible that I cannot defend myself.
avatar
Mata Hari

Posts : 201
Join date : 2011-10-20
Location : Paris

View user profile http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mata_Hari

Back to top Go down

Re: Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  Elena on Mon Oct 24, 2011 2:24 pm

L'Insoumise by Simone Bertière is definitely the BEST contemporary biography, in any language. cheers Philippe Delorme's is a close second. I personally have enjoyed Jean Chalon's as well.

_________________
Je pardonne à tous mes ennemis le mal qu’ils m’ont fait.
avatar
Elena
Admin

Posts : 1164
Join date : 2011-10-18
Location : East of the Sun, West of the Moon

View user profile http://www.emvidal.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  MadameRoyale on Mon Oct 24, 2011 4:38 pm

I shall certainly look into Nesta Webster's work! I've been feeling a little lost of which direction to go next with my reading. I read Carolly Erickson's To the Scaffold over the summer and I'm about to begin reading Queen of France by André Castelot. I picked it up from a local antique shop, and I was wondering if anyone knew anything about it.
: D
avatar
MadameRoyale

Posts : 14
Join date : 2011-10-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  Mata Hari on Mon Oct 24, 2011 5:11 pm

Castelot's book is alright although he is a bit self-righteous.

_________________
Because I really did not spy, it is terrible that I cannot defend myself.
avatar
Mata Hari

Posts : 201
Join date : 2011-10-20
Location : Paris

View user profile http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mata_Hari

Back to top Go down

Re: Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  MadameRoyale on Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:44 pm

Haha okay! I'll look out for that. Thanks so much!
avatar
MadameRoyale

Posts : 14
Join date : 2011-10-24

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  Elena on Mon Oct 24, 2011 6:59 pm

Yes, Castelot has such a condescending attitude towards Marie-Antoinette and also he gets some small details wrong, such as who was the Queen's physician during her first pregnancy. But he gives an excellent blow by blow account of her trial and execution.

_________________
Je pardonne à tous mes ennemis le mal qu’ils m’ont fait.
avatar
Elena
Admin

Posts : 1164
Join date : 2011-10-18
Location : East of the Sun, West of the Moon

View user profile http://www.emvidal.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  Elena on Sun Jun 23, 2013 6:40 pm

Here is a review of Hilaire Belloc's biography of Marie-Antoinette.
http://historyandotherthoughts.blogspot.com/2013/06/book-review-marie-antoinette-by-hilaire.html#.Ucdpk9i-X1W

I would just add that Belloc does not appear to like Marie-Antoinette or the French monarchy but he places her tragedy in the context of European history and the events which were swirling around her. He makes some silly statements such as Louis XVI not being able to use a sword, which is just totally untrue. His grasp of general history is sound, however.

_________________
Je pardonne à tous mes ennemis le mal qu’ils m’ont fait.
avatar
Elena
Admin

Posts : 1164
Join date : 2011-10-18
Location : East of the Sun, West of the Moon

View user profile http://www.emvidal.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  Sophie on Sun Jun 23, 2013 7:17 pm

Thank you for mentioning here this biography! You made me curious Wink

Without knowing the text and only relying on this review, I have these thoughts so far:

Belloc believes that, because Marie Antoinette didn't understand the French (not to mention the poor education she had received), she had no choice but to act the way she did, and that led her to her fall.

Somehow I don't like if people think Antoinette received a "poor education". Maria Theresa had a quite clear aim why not to teach her daughters how to be an intriguing and smart politician: she wrote in several letters that they should support their ruling husbands and shouldn't try to overrun them. But she as a Habsburg archduchess learned music, literature, history, dancing, languages, drawing, everything a high-class woman could have done those days to be called a well-educated one. And of course, she might learned a bit of politics, too, but she wasn't prepared to be a queen regnant but a simple queen consort.

However, this focus on political and social events rather than on Marie Antoinette as a woman, makes the book dense and, at times, hard-to-follow for modern readers.

Haha, I'm not a modern reader Laughing If it goes on my beloved Antoinette, I would read thousands of bios placing her in her age in general, rather than one trying to "psychologise" her motivations from a biased 21th century point of view. That's why I started Charles Duke Yonge's bio recently, and I like it very much because of the many citations of original letters. If Belloc is another old one, I might try to read it, too...

Marie Antoinette wasn't a remarkable woman. The revolution made her remarkable.

OK, it's true, but I would say: "Without the revolution, we (posterity) would have never realized how remarkable she actually was." Razz
avatar
Sophie

Posts : 167
Join date : 2011-10-26
Location : under the free blue sky

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  Elena on Sun Jun 23, 2013 8:38 pm

I agree with what you say, Sophie, especially about her education. Marie-Antoinette did not receive a better or worse education than most ladies of her rank. One of the most highly educated women was Catherine II of Russia and Empress Maria Theresa did not want her daughters to be anything like Catherine. Belloc does not give any credence to the Fersen myth, either.

_________________
Je pardonne à tous mes ennemis le mal qu’ils m’ont fait.
avatar
Elena
Admin

Posts : 1164
Join date : 2011-10-18
Location : East of the Sun, West of the Moon

View user profile http://www.emvidal.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  Didishroom on Sun Jun 23, 2013 9:20 pm

I can't stand when biographies like to portray her life as a series of missteps that lead to the Revolution! First they'll start with her "lack of education" and then the Du Barry incident. I do find her encounters with the King's mistress as fascinating and very insightful to MA's personalties as well as her mother and her husband and the fight between toleration and morality; but as a step towards unpopularity which culminates in her execution? Nonsense! The incident had no effect on anyone outside the tiny little royal circle. Not to mention, Du Barry had no bitterness while religiously following her new Queen's fashion tastes or even sweetly offering her services or jewels to aid her once the Revolution broke out!

What I appreciated about Webster's biography is that it shows that it didn't matter who MA and Louis were or what they did. Their deaths were already decided. It makes a fascinating story to picture a young niave princess in a foreign land making little innocent mistake after mistake until it lead to ultimate tragedy, but I find it very false indeed.

Didishroom

Posts : 27
Join date : 2011-10-25

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  Elena on Sun Jun 23, 2013 10:00 pm

Didishroom wrote:I can't stand when biographies like to portray her life as a series of missteps that lead to the Revolution! First they'll start with her "lack of education" and then the Du Barry incident. I do find her encounters with the King's mistress as fascinating and very insightful to MA's personalities as well as her mother and her husband and the fight between toleration and morality; but as a step towards unpopularity which culminates in her execution? Nonsense! The incident had no effect on anyone outside the tiny little royal circle. Not to mention, Du Barry had no bitterness while religiously following her new Queen's fashion tastes or even sweetly offering her services or jewels to aid her once the Revolution broke out!

What I appreciated about Webster's biography is that it shows that it didn't matter who MA and Louis were or what they did. Their deaths were already decided. It makes a fascinating story to picture a young niave princess in a foreign land making little innocent mistake after mistake until it lead to ultimate tragedy, but I find it very false indeed.

I totally agree.

_________________
Je pardonne à tous mes ennemis le mal qu’ils m’ont fait.
avatar
Elena
Admin

Posts : 1164
Join date : 2011-10-18
Location : East of the Sun, West of the Moon

View user profile http://www.emvidal.com/

Back to top Go down

Re: Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  Sophie on Mon Jun 24, 2013 5:54 pm

Didishroom wrote:It makes a fascinating story to picture a young niave princess in a foreign land making little innocent mistake after mistake until it lead to ultimate tragedy, but I find it very false indeed.

I agree, too. The best-worst example is probably Catharina Habsburg-Lothringen's biography. As I remember, she listed everything as a "bad omen" for Antoinette's fate: her birthday on All Souls' Day, the Lissabon earthquake, the mythology scene in a palace at her arrival recognized by Goethe, the firework accident... tongue The author must be a quite superstitious lady, or the narration is just for effect. Well, this is Louis' and Antoinette's "fortune": their end totally determined how we see their complete life story. But such little scandals like the Du Barry thing happened everyday at a court. It doesn't mean anything more than it is.

(I often scold this poor book, so here's something positive about it, too: the Hungarian edition has a pretty cover Laughing I like these shoes!)

avatar
Sophie

Posts : 167
Join date : 2011-10-26
Location : under the free blue sky

View user profile

Back to top Go down

Re: Best Biographies of Marie-Antoinette

Post  Sponsored content


Sponsored content


Back to top Go down

View previous topic View next topic Back to top

- Similar topics

 
Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum