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 Madame Campan - The Private Life of Marie Antoinette 
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Nesta Webster says that Madame Campan's memoirs are excellent for information about the queen's private life but that she must be read with caution when it comes to anything political because she had many revolutionary connections.

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Mon Nov 27, 2006 12:36 pm
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Therese wrote:
Nesta Webster says that Madame Campan's memoirs are excellent for information about the queen's private life but that she must be read with caution when it comes to anything political because she had many revolutionary connections.

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Therese,
Also
Is this not the Madame Campan whose book comes the information about the handing-over (naked) of M-E ? And now many feel this was not really true?

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Mon Nov 27, 2006 2:00 pm
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Yes, Melly, I think you are right! :wink:

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Mon Nov 27, 2006 2:29 pm
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Yes, indeed, melly... She must also be read with caution about the necklace affair, for she exaggerates her own role, as well as for her helping the queen when the Tuileries were attacked. Actually, she seems not to have been as close to the queen as she pretends...

Nevertheless, in my view, the best you can find in Madame Campan's memoires is the descriptions of court life and ritual. This, I think, she knew for sure, having been the reader of Mesdames Tantes before getting the queen's chambermaid.

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Mon Nov 27, 2006 4:01 pm
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It is true that Campan must be read with precaution, she tends to exaggerate and to invent the events.
But she has a point of view very interesting and rich, which returns her memories very pleasant to reading.
Her style of writing is sympathetic, and her tendency to sentimental exaggeration is amusing. :D

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Mon Nov 27, 2006 5:42 pm
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Yes, L-C, that is how I see it.

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Mon Nov 27, 2006 6:00 pm
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Well, I read the Campan's Memoirs some months ago and am re-reading it again now, I got it from the gutenberg site mentioned above. I think she is not so undeserving as some people here think of her, after all MA always had a good feeling for her and Mme. Campan was openly known as a very loyal attendarnt of Her Majesty. And if she could not help MA in any way after 10 August, it was because revolutionary authorities wanted no royalist near the fallen monarchs. So, I don't think Campan was quite the opportunist ready to change her attachements according to who was reigning, but even if she had to manouver a little to survive, well, I think it's easy for us to speak now, but to live in those dreadful days must have been pretty much different and difficult.
She is not completely truthful in her book, always keep that in mind, but it is a very interesting reading as there are so many details and anecdotes, and it is a must read for any interested in MA days. Her style is pleasant enough, but if she appears sentimental or a little affected now and then, well, that was the style in her times!

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Mon Nov 27, 2006 9:31 pm
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Post Re: Madame Campan - The Private Life of Marie Antoinette
I read that, when received by Madame Royale (in front of the whole court), Mme Campan was asked what she had been doing during Napoleon's reign. She answered coyly that she, as it was weel known, taught Napoleon's sisters because she had to make a living, did she explain. "You'd better stayed home" snapped MTC ... :lol:

Madame Vigée Lebrun also harped on about Caroline Bonaparte's unbearable behaviour during the sittings (she changed haircut every now and then accordng to the fashion, and was, in her book, very arrogant and disagreeable). It irks me, because it didn't prevent Vigée Lebrun from portraiting her. I agree that everybody has to make a living. But like with Campan, it irks me that those people complain about their fates and criticize those they have zealously served, as if they were compelled to do so. It was a harsh period, that kind of period that reveals human cowardice ...

I didn't read thoses memories, I actually thumbed through them. The general tone seemed too flattering for the queen, in a way that it, indeed, it oozed with hypocrisy. But I must be very prejudiced, because I heard many bad things about this lady, and how cautious one needs to be when reading her memories. Maybe I should make my own opinion ... What's more, and this must be a failing, I'm more into historians' works than memoires.

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Thu Sep 04, 2008 10:59 am
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Post Re: Madame Campan - The Private Life of Marie Antoinette
Ohhh, I saw the book on ebay. it was printed in the late 19th century. I wish I could bid on it, but it was already going for a lot. But that would be one keepsake to have in your home library. Instead I recently bought a Marie Antoinette charm bracelet for only $38.95 USD. Can't wait to get it. Image

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Thu Oct 02, 2008 3:56 am
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Post Re: Madame Campan - The Private Life of Marie Antoinette
Wow, that looks almost as heavy as Rohan's famous necklace! :lol:

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Thu Oct 02, 2008 10:00 pm
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Post Re: Madame Campan - The Private Life of Marie Antoinette
As a matter of fact, it's actually heavier than I thought too...but not tooooo heavy. But yes, this is pretty heavily accessorized charm bracelet. I just got it today in mail, it came inside a pretty long pink jewelry box with a white ribbon. So anyways, sorry for being off topic.

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Sat Oct 04, 2008 5:20 am
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Post Re: Madame Campan - The Private Life of Marie Antoinette
I must admit, I am distrustful of Campan. I have read her memoirs and they seem to lend credence to the fact that she swayed with the general tide. She had revolutionary connections. I am much more a fan of Lamballe's memoirs. They clear up many things that Campan has gotten wrong. The fact remains that Campan was perhaps a friend, but not an intimate friend of the queen. Alas, Campan seems to thinks that she was intimate enough.

However, the Princess de Lamballe herself was only lightly acquainted with Campan. This would suggest that Campan and Marie Antoinette had a less intimate relationship. At least this was the case until the revolution forced them to grow closer.

I would suggest that you read the Secret Memoirs of Princess Lamballe. They were edited from the Princess' papers after her death by her attendant Lady Katherine Hyde. They are a must read.


Fri Nov 28, 2008 8:44 am
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Post Re: Madame Campan - The Private Life of Marie Antoinette
Hmm,thank you Dame, I'll add them to my reading-list then!
I've just started reading Ca,pan's Memories and they seem interesting; for the moment I've just read the first chapeter, where she describes the court of Versailles under Louis XV: it's a quite colourful description and you have the impression to be there. But I thank you all for clearing what should not be completely trusted...It's good to know!

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Fri Nov 28, 2008 1:38 pm
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Post Re: Madame Campan - The Private Life of Marie Antoinette
Dame, the Secret Memoirs of Lamballe are apocryphal as some of Campan's writings. Scholars return time and time over again to gain factual evidence about the court of Versailles. As Pim mentions, some things that verge into personal opinion or white washing are always to be taken with a grain of salt. In fact, examining any evidence requires this.

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Sat Nov 29, 2008 5:12 am
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Post Re: Madame Campan - The Private Life of Marie Antoinette
Délicate fleur:

I agree with you. Obiously the Princess Lamballe did not write the book. However, as Katherine Hyde explains they are the collected papers of the dear princess. However, I do believe that it must be taken into consideration that the people who wrote it, were of course, partisan. I think that both books however offer an incredible worth of information to their readers.

Délicate fleur, can you recomend any other factual books that I should read besides, Lamballe and Campan? I am affraid that I only have those two memoirs for the time being.


Sat Nov 29, 2008 10:04 pm
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