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 Marie Antoinette: The Journey 
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Post Marie Antoinette: The Journey
First, thank you to everyone for your warm greetings. I only wish I spoke French!

The book I am reading write now is Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser. It is the book that which I believe was the source for the upcoming movie.

Ms. Fraser contends that most of what we know about Antoinette is made up. That she never pretended to be a shepherdess, though she did play one on stage at Petit Triannon. And that no porcelian or glasses were ever made in the shape of her bosom! That she was actually regarded as overly conservative and modest by the French. Austria was annoyed that she was obsessed with her children's education to the exclusion of politics, and her expenditures she says were no greater than any other member of the Royal household including Mesdames Tantes. Has anyone heard similar or different things?


Wed Oct 04, 2006 7:13 pm
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Yes, I have heard it. All that you say is true.

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Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:15 pm
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The thing I liked about Fraser's book is the amount of time she spent on her youth. Most Biographers seem to sum it up in one chapter! :(

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Wed Oct 04, 2006 9:59 pm
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There are things Fraser says which I disagree with, such as the Fersen affair, but otherwise it is a pretty decent biography.

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Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:01 pm
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Same lol. The account of the revolution in Fraser's book seems bit choppy at times too...but yeah i like it. I love that it has so many pictures! :D

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I was a queen, and you took away my crown; a wife, and you killed my husband; a mother, and you deprived me of my children. My blood alone remains: take it, but do not make me suffer long.


Fri Oct 06, 2006 2:59 am
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Post Fersen
Interesting that you all brought up the topic of Fersen. It seems to be the one part of her life that doesn't jive with the rest. The biography repeatedly has her turning down many wealthy and popular men at court who solicited her as a lover saying, "the King will not be informed of your trangression that would surely ruin your reputation." By all accounts Fersen was very good looking, but for a woman who was raised to be an explemplary example of an Austrian Archduchess and French Queen, "Good looking" doesn't seem like it would be enough to make her stray from her vows. Particularly considering that the King, poor politcian though he may have been, seems to have been an exemplary husband and father, publicly swearing he would never take a mistress. What is your opinion about Fersen? Do you really think she had an affair? It seems unlikely to me. I am inclined to think that is just more of the tabloids of that day and age that destroyed her image thanks to a people who were not educated enough to know that just because it's in print doesn't make it true.


Fri Oct 06, 2006 5:44 am
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I think Fersen was a good guy, a loyal and faithful friend to the Marie Antoinette but nothing more. (or thats what I personally believe its true we will never know for sure)
You right though it doesnt jibe with her character at all. She wasn't that kind of woman. yet it makes for a more interesting movie supposedly? :roll:

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Fri Oct 06, 2006 6:29 am
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Dear Brigette, there is a HUGE topic about Fersen ! We already expressed all our feelings about him... :wink:

But I can't resist doing it again, shortly... No, in my view, the man was not the chivalrous knight we all princesses dream about ! However, as Chantal Thomas noticed, he had the face of an angel, and this specific quality, most of all, may explain the fascination nowadays people feel for him.

Count Fersen had mistresses in every port, and was very proud of it. He wrote a diary, not meaning to keep it secret, of course, and found easier to get rid of some ladies by opposing them some wonderful rival : the queen of France.

Whether he actually slept with Marie-Antoinette or not is not relevant, for he did so as to have the all world certain he did !

Interesting books to read about the man should be Delorme's bio of Antoinette, the Giraut de Coursac's Louis XVI and Antoinette, Nasta Webster's works too... These are very different from the usual rose marshmallow dreams so many authors give us on the Fersen theme ! With screaming violines... :lol:

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Fri Oct 06, 2006 10:48 am
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Maybe this concerns Fersen too: it is a psychological fact that people tend to feel that beautiful people are naturally also good and ugly people evil.


Fri Oct 06, 2006 11:34 am
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I do not believe the queen was even in love with Fersen, and even if she was, I doubt that she would have risked losing her children to sleep with him. There are many otherwise excellent books that insist upon the Fersen fantasy, after building a portrait of a virtuous queen, and it does not fit with the rest of the portrayal.

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Fri Oct 06, 2006 12:06 pm
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Nasta Webster's analyse of this purpoted relationship is excellent. For instance, she takes this so famous message the queen is supposed to have sent to "the most loved and loving among men", and shows how it does not fit with the rest of Antoinette's letters, and psychology.

Furthermore, contemporaries paid few interest on Fersen. They rather thought Antoinette had liaisons with Coigny, Artois, even with Mme de Polignac. Fersenne (sic) is mentioned only once in pamphlets, I think !

With the romantic times, Fersen became the knight without reproach in the eyes of authors, then, with Zweig and his freudian obsessions, the wonderful lover of "a divine lover" (dixit !)... and, now, with Van Dyke, Delannoy, and Coppola's new manga, the public is dreaming on !

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Fri Oct 06, 2006 12:41 pm
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Yes, Webster's analysis is brilliant. I highly recommend her two volume study on Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette over Fraser's "Journey."

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Fri Oct 06, 2006 1:20 pm
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She couldn't possibly sleep with Fersen risking everything, especially the little she had left which was her husband and children. She would not be able to handle the fact of losing her family, she barley handled seeing her friend's head on a pike.

I think she had a deep admiration towards him, perhaps she was in love not with him personally but the idea of his character, considering he was charming and Marie was also very charming so obviously they had much in common except for thier "personal" lifestyle. It was a friendship but I think Fersen wanted more than that considering what he wrote in his letters to his sister. But I don't think Marie had that in mind considering she loved her family so much and she did not want to dishonor God and the sacred marriage between her and Louis.


Sat Oct 07, 2006 1:57 pm
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He was charming especially when he gave her orders, wasn't he ? So that she had to answer, like a little girl : "I hope these letters will do... I hope you won't be angry..."

Definitely, in my view, Count Fersen was an ambitious man who once dreamed of ruling France through an imprisoned queen... :evil:

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Last edited by Pimprenelle on Thu Oct 12, 2006 10:10 am, edited 1 time in total.



Sat Oct 07, 2006 3:30 pm
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Ah if "mamie Lever" read that :lol:

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Sat Oct 07, 2006 4:19 pm
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