Marie Antoinette Online Forum

The New Marie Therese Bio
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Author:  Monsieur Royale [ Tue Mar 18, 2008 4:43 am ]
Post subject:  The New Marie Therese Bio

The new Marie Therese Bio by susan Nagel is out tomorrow is anyone else gonna pick it up?

Author:  Délicate fleur [ Tue Mar 18, 2008 9:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Marie Therese Bio

I haven't heard of this one! Do you have any more information on it?

Author:  Monsieur Royale [ Wed Mar 19, 2008 11:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Marie Therese Bio

lol just this: ... d_i=507846

Author:  Arietta [ Thu Mar 27, 2008 3:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Marie Therese Bio

EM Vidal interviewed Prof. Nagel on the book. Here's the transcript of the interview: ... marie.html

Author:  KingWenclas [ Wed Apr 16, 2008 3:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Marie Therese Bio

This new book, like so much being published about the royal family and their times, is historically slanted and biased. Please see my review of the book at
(A fuller review using more quotes to make my points will be up on another blog in several days.)
Sorry to burst any bubbles. It's curious why so many people in democratic societies embrace aristocracy.

Author:  Rosalie [ Wed Apr 16, 2008 7:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Marie Therese Bio

I don't enter the merit the merit of the book because I haven't read it, so maybe it's true that, as you say, it's not historically correct; but: what do you mean by "embrace aristocracy"? I don't think that trying to have an idea of facts which considers also the point of view of the royal family and their supporters (and not only one of the Revolutionaries, as we have been used to for years) is "embracing the aristocracy", even less wishing absolutism back!

Personally, I'm a fond supporter of democracy and I'm repubblican, not monarchic, but I feel a deep sympathy towards Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette from a human point of view. It's not true that the king willingly refused to see what was happening: he sincerely wanted to do his best, but he simply didn't have the political insight and capacity to do that. You write that "he wasn't a ruler at all"; but he didn't choose to rule, he was born the king! And it seems to me quite impossible that he, the king of France, born and raised in Versailles, could think other of what he had always been taught, that is, that the monarchy was sacred and wanted by God and was the best form of government. I also think it is always a bit arrogant for us, who were born and live in democratic societies, to judge the royal family of that time from our point of view.

You also write that Marie Antoinette plotted to bring absolutism back and bribed the foreign countries. Of course, she wanted the monarchy (what for her was the only possible form of monarchy) back, and she secretly did what she could for that. From what you say, I understand that you think of her attitude as a betrayal, especially because she and her husband officially showed to be supporting the revolution. But I'd like to think you about a fact: They had been COMPELLED to show support to the revolution, because they had been threatened by an armed and furious mob who assaulted their residence, killed their guards and threw insult and threats against them. While at the Tuileries, they never felt safe because people could storm the palace at any moment. What else could they do? Don't you think that it was dishonest on the part on the Revolutionaries to force them with violence and then exspect them to be complacent and to approve that revolution which for them had been just violence and bloodshed? All that they did during the revolutionary period was certainly not meant to retain a personal power (of all the kings, Louis XVI was not the one who abused his power); it was to save something in which they believed, the monarchy, and, in the second place, to save themselves. The "infamous flee" of which you speak was felt by them as the only way to save themselves.

Saying this, I insist, is NOT saying that absolutism is something good and that I want it back, nor that the royal family didn't make mistakes. Today we clearly see their mistakes: they could have understood the needs of the people and their request for more freedom. They could have accepted a limitation of the king's power. It's true; but could they really see this as clearly as wee see it today? And: if they did mistakes, does that necessarily mean they were due to selfishness and narrow-mindedness? Personally, I don't think so.

You speak about the "myth of the King as innocent victim". Well, the King WAS a victim, in the sense that he payed for all the wrongs of a system that he had not created.

It's not about creating a fairy tale or finding good guys and bad guys (although you must admit that the Duke d'Orleans, a man who had tried to gain the favour he had lost with the royal family, and then, whem the time changed, took advantage of the Revolution to gain personal power, is not a good example of behaviour!), but it's about having a more balanced view of what happened,and destroying the myth of the "good guys" Robespierre and other revolutionary leaders against the "bad guys" king, queen and aristocracy.

And, last of all, could you explain to me what their daughter had done wrong? She was a child when the revolution broke out and 15 when she got out of prison. I don't know much about her story, but, even if she had been the most reactionary absolutist supporter, don't you think this should be at least forgiven in a person who had lived half of her childhood like a prisoner, who had seen her parents, her little brother and her aunt die, and had spent a year (when she was just 14 to 15!) in a complete isolation, without speaking with anyone and seeing anyone?!?

Author:  Therese [ Wed Apr 16, 2008 8:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Marie Therese Bio

Arietta wrote:
EM Vidal interviewed Prof. Nagel on the book. Here's the transcript of the interview: ... marie.html

That's interesting, Arietta. Thanks! And here is the review of the book, which has been recently posted on the same blog: ... error.html

I have never heard of Louis XVI having an affair with Madame de Polignac. Has anyone else?

Author:  Rosalie [ Thu Apr 17, 2008 5:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Marie Therese Bio

Elena Maria Vidal's is a very balanced review, I find.
No, I have never heard about Louis the XVI having an affair woth Mme de Polignac! On the contrary, I read that, when someone proposed him to get a mistress, he answered by choosing as female companion Madame Polignac, considered unoffensive, so as to make his refuse of a mistress clearer.

Author:  Comte de Provence [ Fri Apr 18, 2008 4:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Marie Therese Bio

oh yes Rosalie, i Have also not heard of him choosing any such mistress.
Also, thank you Arietta, Monsiuer Royale and Therese for your Information!!! :D

Author:  Therese [ Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Marie Therese Bio

BTW, I have finally gotten to read this book myself, and in spite of the Madame de Polignac thing, it is an excellent book. There are many details, taken from letters and memoirs, about the royal family. I highly recommend it.

Author:  Comte de Provence [ Tue Apr 22, 2008 11:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Marie Therese Bio

oh! most excellent!
*runs to bookstore!*

Author:  MadameRoyale [ Wed May 07, 2008 7:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Marie Therese Bio

I, too, highly recommend this book! I'm so sad to be nearly finished and I shall definitely be reading it again more closely. Nagel very beautifully depicts each scene of Marie Therese's life, paying much more attention to milieu than any other biography I have previously read. I feel very much immersed into the era of enlightenment, the horror of the tower, and the feeling of being free from it all at last. ^^!

Author:  Comte de Provence [ Wed May 07, 2008 7:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Marie Therese Bio

i had to order mine offline!

my bookstore didnt have a copy...

Author:  MadameRoyale [ Wed May 07, 2008 8:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Marie Therese Bio

Mine didn't either! I pre-ordered it on the weekend before it was released. Embrace technology! I also looked to find EM Vidal's account of Madame Royale, but it is very expensive... It'll be some time before I can afford a book so expensive... >.<

Author:  Therese [ Wed May 07, 2008 8:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: The New Marie Therese Bio

Usually Amazon offers used copies of most books which are discounted, more or less.

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