Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette

The Journey

Book - 2001
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Still a controversial figure ¿ as well as a celebrated one ¿ Marie Antoinette¿s dramatic life-story continues to arouse mixed emotions. To many people, she is still ¿la reine méchante¿, whose extravagance and frivolity helped to bring down the French monarchy; her indifference to popular suffering epitomised by the (apocryphal) words: ¿let them eat cake¿. She was accused of personal profligacies and sexual excesses. Others are equally passionate in her defence: to them, she is a victim of misogyny.

Marie Antoinette remains one of the genuinely romantic and ill-treated characters in history. A compassionate queen and devoted mother, she did little to deserve her tragic destiny. She was born in 1755, one of 16 children of the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa. At the age of 15 she was to be the bride of the French Dauphin, heir to his grandfather Louis XV. The Dauphin came to the throne as Louis XVI in 1774 and for more than ten years the French court at Versailles glittered under the presidency of its young, beautiful and artistic queen, in what would be seen afterwards as the last throw of the Ancien Regime.

In this stunning biography Antonia Fraser examines her influence over the king, the accusations and sexual slurs made against her, her patronage of the arts which enhanced French cultural life, her imprisonment, the death threats made against her, rumours of lesbian affairs, and her trial (during which her 7-year-old son was forced to testify to sexual abuse by his mother) and eventual execution by guillotine in 1793.

Publisher: New York : Doubleday, c2001
ISBN: 9780385489485
038548948X
Branch Call Number: 923.144 MAR 2001
Characteristics: xxii, 512 p. : ill. (some col.), maps

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t
TLOrr
Feb 14, 2015

place on hold

p
pwalmsley
Nov 10, 2011

An incredibly well researched, and thoroughly engrossing book. Great insight into not only Marie, but her husband, family, and inner circle.

debwalker Apr 30, 2011

"Antonia Fraser is an expert on royalty, having penned 11 biographies on regal subjects. While they are all worthy reads, her 2001 biography of Marie Antoinette is the most suitable to celebrating Kate Middleton's becoming a princess (as well as a bride). Marie Antoinette: The Journey is widely considered to be the most thorough and balanced book about the controversial Queen of France available."
CBC Books

r
ryner
May 31, 2007

Antonia Fraser's well-researched work details the known facts in the life of Marie Antoinette ? from her grand childhood as the daughter of an empress, to her marriage to Louis XVI and her life as France's queen, to her tragic and ultimate downfall with the start of the French Revolution.

Although I would recommend it to history fans, the book took me longer to complete than a book of this size normally would, partly because there was simply so much information to digest. I was also occasionally bored with the more political details. However, I find it amazing that we do know so much about Marie Antoinette and these events that occurred more than 200 years ago.

Compared with Abundance, a work of historical fiction published in 2006 by Sena Jeter Naslund which complements this one fairly well, Fraser's Marie Antoinette is a more sympathetic character. In a rather stark contrast to popular opinion, both of her contemporaries and her reputation persisting through history, she is painted very nearly as an innocent victim of circumstance. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between.

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