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 mechante', 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.
Why buy from World of Books
Our excellent value books literally don't cost the earth
Did Marie Antoinette really say, about the suffering French populace, "Let them eat cake" - or was she compassionate and caring? Did her husband need an operation to consummate their marriage, some considerable time after the actual wedding? In this biography of the apparently much maligned French Queen, Antonia Fraser answers such questions whilst putting up a general defence of a woman whose actual life has become submerged in popular myth. For Fraser, her subject's reputation for extravagance, aristocratic haughtiness and sexual profligacy has a distinctly misogynistic bias - and is not borne out by the facts. Basically convincing if occasionally protesting too much for the defence, this is a characteristically readable as well as densely grounded slice of history. It's especially intriguing to read about her childhood as one of the children of the Empress Maria Theresa and about the stranger than fictional world of the tentacular Habsburgs in the latter half of the 18th century.
About Lady Antonia Fraser
Antonia Fraser is the best-selling author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Mary Queen of Scots and Cromwell: Our Chief of Men. She has written two highly praised books focusing on women in history: The Weaker Vessel: Women's Lot in Seventeenth-Century England and The Warrior Queens: Boadicea's Chariot. Antonia Fraser is married to the playwright Harold Pinter.
Marie Antoinette by Lady Antonia Fraser
Lady Antonia Fraser
Used - Very Good
Orion Publishing Co
Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
This is a used book - there is no escaping the fact it has been read by someone else and it will show signs of wear and previous use. Overall we expect it to be in very good condition, but if you are not entirely satisfied please get in touch with us.