A Tale in Two Cities

A Tale in Two Cities : Fanny Burney and Adele, Comtesse de Boigne

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Fanny Burney and Adele, Comtesse de Boigne, were two of the most remarkable female writers of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries: one a famous novelist, the other an aristocrat from one of France's most ancient families. This was the tumultuous era which saw the French Revolution, the Napoleonic years and the July 1830 Revolution in France; and in England the 'madness' of George III and the extravagant Regency period. Fanny and Adele were similarly strong characters - both were fiercely intelligent and closely engaged with the social and political issues of the day - but came from remarkably different backgrounds. Whilst Adele was born into the French aristocracy - and was raised at Versailles - Fanny came from a rather less auspicious, but highly cultured, family and made her name as one of the best-selling novelists of the day.
Both women used memoirs, journals and diaries to document their lives in the upper echelons of society in England and France, commenting with scintillating wit and waspish observation on their encounters with many of the great figures of the day - including such as Napoleon, Wellington, Talleyrand, Castlereagh, Chateaubriand, Dr Johnson, David Garrick, Madame de Stael and both the French and British Royal families. Although the two women lived for significant periods in each other's country (mainly in Paris and in London) and inhabited the same social circles, surprisingly they never met in person. Yet they both encountered the same people and commented on the same events. Through the observations of these immensely well-connected and brilliant writers, Brian Unwin provides a fresh and fascinating insight into some of the principal events and persons of one of the most seminal and turbulent periods of modern European history.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 154 x 228 x 34mm | 579.99g
  • I.B.Tauris
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 20 b/w in 8pp plates and 20 colour in 8pp plates
  • 1780767846
  • 9781780767840
  • 840,842

Table of contents

Preface Introduction Fanny Adele Napoleon Wellington Kings & Queens Actors, Artists and Intellectuals Views Across the Channel Blood and Death Fanny and Adele Epilogue
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Review quote

'A masterpiece of historic tragedy.' Vincent Cronin, author of Napoleon 'A refreshingly objective account of a subject much perverted by myth and conspiracy.' Richard Woodman, author of the 'Nathaniel Drinkwater' Naval History series 'Unwin evokes, in poignant detail, the idle years of exile, the quarrels, and the intrigues.' Michael Binyon, The Times 'Unwin has written a marvellous account of this extraordinary drama, beautifully illustrated, graphic, well-paced, and garnished with first-hand knowledge of St Helena.' Brian Holden Reid, TLS 'Paris and London, during the tumultuous years of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, are the background for a linked biography of two remarkable diarists, Fanny Burney and Adele de Boigne. Both were caught up in the French revolution and the Napoleonic wars, Adele de Boigne escaping to England from revolutionary Paris, Fanny Burney trapped in France with her French husband after the Peace of Amiens. Brian Unwin skilfully interweaves their stories, drawing on their journals to give a fascinating picture, not only of their private dramas, but of many of the leading figures of the age.' Linda Kelly, author of Holland House
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About Brian Unwin

Sir Brian Unwin studied at the universities of Oxford and Yale. After a career in the Civil Service he became President of the European Investment Bank. He has a long-standing interest in European History and is the author of Terrible Exile: The Last Days of Napoleon on St Helena (I.B.Tauris), which was shortlisted for the Fondation Napoleon History Prize.
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