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    Marie Antoinette (Paperback) By (author) Antonia Fraser

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    DescriptionMarie 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'. Others are equally passionate in her defence: to them, she is a victim of misogyny. Antonia Fraser examines her influence over the king, Louis XVI, 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, her trial (during which her young son was forced to testify to sexual abuse by his mother) and her eventual execution by guillotine in 1793.


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  • Full bibliographic data for Marie Antoinette

    Title
    Marie Antoinette
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Antonia Fraser
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 640
    Width: 126 mm
    Height: 196 mm
    Thickness: 46 mm
    Weight: 481 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780753813058
    ISBN 10: 075381305X
    Classifications

    BIC E4L: BIO
    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T4.3
    BIC subject category V2: HBLL, BGH, HBJD
    LC subject heading: ,
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 11600
    BIC subject category V2: BGR
    LC subject heading:
    BISAC V2.8: BIO022000, BIO006000
    DC21: 944.035092
    Thema V1.0: DNBH, DNBR, NHD
    Illustrations note
    48
    Publisher
    Orion Publishing Co
    Imprint name
    Phoenix (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )
    Publication date
    30 May 2002
    Publication City/Country
    London
    Author Information
    Since 1969, Antonia Fraser has written many acclaimed historical works which have been international bestsellers, including Marie Antoinette, Mary Queen of Scots (James Tait Black Memorial Prize), Cromwell: Our Chief of Men, The Six Wives of Henry VIII and The Gunpowder Plot: Terror and Faith in 1605 (St Louis Literary Award; CWA Non-Fiction Gold Dagger). Antonia Fraser was made CBE in 1999, and awarded the Norton Medlicott Medal by the Historical Association in 2000. She is married to the playwright Harold Pinter and lives in London.
    Review quote
    That fatal combination of a magnificent story, magnificently well told. It's the perfect book in which to lose yourself when you can afford to do nothing else for a day or so. -- Lucy Worsley WAITROSE WEEKEND
    Review text
    A biography of a queen who never said, as legend has it, "Let them eat cake." Novelist and historian Fraser ("Faith and Treason", 1996, etc.) manages to turn this spoiled, not-too-bright princess into a likable character. Pretty Marie was raised to further the Hapsburg family's political ambitions, as defined by her dominating mother, Empress Maria Theresa of Austria-Hungary. Fraser presents her subject's childhood, full of dancing but short on books, as a smaller version of the proving grounds she would inhabit for the rest of her life. She fought her brothers and sisters for the time and attention of their mother; married to King Louis XVI, she vied to increase her power at Versailles; as a prisoner in the Tower, she fought for survival according to the rules of the Revolutionary Tribunal. At each of these challenges, she failed. For years, Marie's position at court was undermined by the king's refusal to have sex (or at least proper sex) with her. When she finally fulfilled her function and bore an heir, 11 years after marriage, France was already in the financial crisis that would lead to the convening of the Estates-General and, later, the Revolution. If she had been a more successful plotter, Antoinette may have saved her life and the lives of her children. But skeletons from past court intrigues-most involved the Queen's enemies taking advantage of her-as well as inaction on the part of her brother, Joseph II, the Holy Roman Emperor, led her to the guillotine. For a brief few years, Antoinette did have a heyday, though. After the birth of her son, she made a splash by abandoning the elaborate dresses and makeup that marked Versailles, a bold move for the leading figure of world fashion in the late-18th century. While Antoinette never made the oft-repeated line to peasants seeking bread, she was a spendthrift, a trait that helped do her in when the revolutionary lawyers made their case against her. Antoinette's story isn't really a tragedy-but Fraser somehow makes it seem like one. (Kirkus Reviews)