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 What are you reading currently? 
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
lilyofthevalley wrote:
I've been on a book kick lately! I joined a French Historical reading challenge so I'm extra motivated, it seems.

Currently reading:
-The Wicked Queen: The Origins of the Myth of Marie Antoinette
-Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette Before the Revolution
-The Lost King of France (I forget the rest, it changed with the new reprint anyway...)

Just finished:
-The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions of Marie Antoinette
-The Royal Diaries: Marie Antoinette, Princess at Versailles
-Versailles: A Novel
-The Lacemaker and the Princess


I'm also reading The Lacemaker and the Princess. I'm enjoying it so far. So few novels featuring Madame Royale!


Sun Apr 25, 2010 12:52 am
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Mlle de Fontanges wrote:
Im reading The Queen's Necklace by Frances Mossiker, am nearly finised with Madam de Pompadour by Nancy Mitsford which was very entertaining and has a lot of photos, and im planning to start Dancing to the Precipice: Lucie de la Tour du Pin and the French Revolutionby Caroline Moorehead soon.


How is The Queen's Necklace? I've been meaning to read it one of these days.

Arietta wrote:
lilyofthevalley wrote:
I've been on a book kick lately! I joined a French Historical reading challenge so I'm extra motivated, it seems.

Currently reading:
-The Wicked Queen: The Origins of the Myth of Marie Antoinette
-Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette Before the Revolution
-The Lost King of France (I forget the rest, it changed with the new reprint anyway...)

Just finished:
-The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions of Marie Antoinette
-The Royal Diaries: Marie Antoinette, Princess at Versailles
-Versailles: A Novel
-The Lacemaker and the Princess


I'm also reading The Lacemaker and the Princess. I'm enjoying it so far. So few novels featuring Madame Royale!


I'm glad you're enjoying it - and yes, there are too few with her... I almost wish that book was longer, actually, it was pretty charming. I just finished "Cecile: Gates of Gold" which is a similar young girl's book during Louis XIV's reign - I didn't like it quite as much as the Lacemaker and the Princess, but it was still interesting.


Sun May 02, 2010 2:48 am
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
"How is The Queen's Necklace? I've been meaning to read it one of these days."


Its really good so far, very informative, but i cant read it as much as i like now since my exams are starting from the 19th this month :( :cry: but so far i think it really seems like a great book, loads of primary evidence used especally memoirs. :)

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Sun May 02, 2010 11:21 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
I just restarted Abundance. I had put it down for so long and not having finished it decided to start it again.

I really want to get my hands on the Bad Queen. I went to B&N yesterday and they had it in stock but I could not find it.


Wed Jun 09, 2010 12:52 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
I'm re-reading Crime and Punishment. Wonderful!

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Sun Jun 13, 2010 9:13 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Ian Dunlop's "Marie Antoinette"
and Vincent Cronin's "Louis XIV" - I love Louis the 14th, not only a woman's man, but a man's man too! Now, he was a KING!!


Sun Jun 13, 2010 11:07 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Now that I work for a state library I have access to their wonderful collections in storage. We are allowed to borrow items on special conditions.

I am currently reading first editions (original pages with binding in the 1990s) of Nesta Webster's 'Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette Before the Revolution', Hilaire Belloc's 'Marie Antoinette' and a recent title from the 1980's, Desmond Seward's 'Marie Antoinette'.

I have a three weeks to enjoy the first two titles and I am very excited to have private access to these books. I hope to widen my reading and thought upon Antoinette, after reading here how some members interpret these works. :love:

When I finish my work, I like to linger in the 840 dewey class (literatures of Romance language - French) which has many old (for Australia, at least, I'm thinking 1835) titles. It's bliss.

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Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:34 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Nice place to work! I read Nesta Webster's biography and liked it a lot.

I haven't read Desmond Seward's biography. I'd like to know your opinion.

I'm reading a book on Pompeii by Mary Beard before attacking Vincent Cronin's biographies of Napoleon and Catherine the Great.

I am also reading intermittently Rousseau's epistolary novel "Julie ou la Nouvelle Héloise". But struggling....

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Tue Aug 17, 2010 12:57 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Oh Baron you would love it....I feel so at home. Today on the internet I found a fascinating detail of Marie Antoinette's library....in fact, I do fantasize about what it would of been like as a reader in the court of Versailles. Not sure if Antoinette made much use of it, did she?

Attachment:
bibliotheque de marie-antoinette_robert polidori.jpg
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I will try to form some of a report/statement/feeling on Seward when I have completed it. I am reading Webster first.

I have always wanted to read Julie....I am ashamed that I have not even read Les Liasions Dangereuses, I am totally green when it comes to the popular epistolary fashion of the 18th century. What are you struggling with...style, modern interpretations projected by the reader...I would love to know.

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Tue Aug 17, 2010 1:09 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Some preliminary impressions of Seward's 'Marie Antoinette' [1981]....
Attachment:
MA_desmond seward.jpg
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- It is clear he admires Antoinette and to revise or explain her actions he re-emphasizes Louis' faults, although he also explains why they were reported and seen that way by the Austrian advisers/spies. He is not unnecessarily harsh to Louis and does chide Antoinette but explains her behaviour and ignorance due to her poor education and lack of training her with skill to focus and grasp concepts. They traced the lines in pencil for her to overlay and she was just parroting information without grasping why. It's sad to think that she was barely literate in the written sense. Wonderful at the performing arts, which was to her great advantage in France. It was lovely to read excerpts Vermond's reports to her mother, saying he felt she was intelligent enough to understand if things were explained clearly. Unfortunately this needs to be done early in the learning life.

- Seward builds our sympathy with a picture of an isolated Dauphine, explaining that the knifes were being sharpened long before her arrival. He briefly emphasizes the malevolent influence of Mme Adelaide and the party devot. He outlines the view of Walpole of this faction, as well as that of the du Barry/D'Aiguillon...and so on. Not new to me, but useful for the Antoinette novice.

- Easy to read, very conversational in style and not didactic, I like how he describes her family life and his reading of Maria Theresa. Seward is prone to being romantic and becomes novelistic at the thought of the irresistable Fersen but refutes others in light of recent re-evaluation and explains some of the repeated legends that have become 'facts'.

- On this note, he dismisses Campan's lurid assertion that Antoinette was stripped of all clothing at Kehl (near the Rhine) as Campan was not even there. However, he recognizes the scholarly value of anecdotal descriptions the character of Antoinette as Dauphine and believes we should not discount the memoires value in this regard (not so much the political or social impressions as she can be quite biased).

- The lack of inline footnotes is poor scholarship; I knew many of the sources but this is only because I have been studying and discussing Antoinette for 3 years now. I prefer footnotes as well as a bibliography.

- So far it reads like a pop biography, clearly sympathetic but not as bad as Evelyne Lever or Carolly Erikson. A charming introduction for those who have yet to fall under the pleasurable spell of Antoinette.

I began Belloc's 'Marie Antoinette' [1910]...
Attachment:
MA_hilaire belloc.jpg
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...but found it at times full of opinion and quite feline and breathy. Didn't persist with his didactic style (think hyper-long sentences full of commas. I am a journalist/library technician by training and I found this tedious) It is excellently researched though and important as it looked at things from a Catholic perspective (which is overlooked by most English and American scholars). I have read it was a landmark work in this field so I will revisit it again in the future.

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“Love is the emblem of eternity: it confounds all notion of time: effaces all memory of a beginning, all fear of an end.”
- Germaine de Staël


Last edited by Délicate fleur on Wed Aug 25, 2010 12:20 am, edited 4 times in total.



Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:03 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Yes, I agree with you about Hilaire Belloc's biography of Marie-Antoinette. While he makes some excellent points, it is not one of my favorites. He really does not like Marie-Antoinette and he makes some ridiculous comments about Louis XVI. For instance, he claims that Louis did not know how to use a sword which is patently false. All the princes were taught fencing from childhood. Also he claims that M-A did not really write her last letter from prison because it is too thoughtful, unlike her other letters. He obviously had not read much of her correspondence.

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Fri Aug 20, 2010 1:31 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Salut mon ami! Lovely to see you.

It was quite catty and I like to think that I read with an open mind but I gave up after 3 tortuous chapters. From a post-feminist view point, I felt a slight misogynist tone, maybe this is just me....but I am glad you thought he disliked his subject from the start. I did not like the Freudian slant of Zweig, although the title was effective as she is seen with reverence and romance, so from an advertising point of view it was good.

You make a very good point about not reading her correspondence or at least, choosing to omit it because it does not fit with the image he is trying to impart. Some authors post 1980 are quoting the letters and secret correspondence, so that's great. Elena Maria Vidal is fantastic in always reemphasizing primary evidence like that in her blog and I really admire her for that. She has helped me to learn about the real Marie Antoinette - not in an ignorant celebrity worship way - but looking at her without the persistent calumny. I am not fooled by the glamour and frou frou that lots of girls love about Marie Antoinette. People think that she is only a fashion figure (well yes, she did not have real political power and I do admire the MA style).

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“Love is the emblem of eternity: it confounds all notion of time: effaces all memory of a beginning, all fear of an end.”
- Germaine de Staël


Last edited by Délicate fleur on Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:45 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:19 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Oh, I think that Belloc is misogynist, too, and he has no tolerance for Marie-Antoinette's femininity. He exaggerates small incidents into hysterical events, such as when the young dauphine ordered the cheap bookshelves in her suite to be replaced by well-made ones. Belloc makes it sound like she smashed the book case to bits or something. However, he is clearheaded about the Fersen myth and makes a good point that the history of the French Revolution was determined by war. He is good at describing the diplomatic and political aspects of the Queen's life but horrible in describing her character.

Yes, I like Marie-Antoinette style, too, but that is just one aspect of her, I agree!

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Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:41 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
An amusing little confession: at the library, I always pull out some interesting Marie Antoinette titles, just a little off the shelf so that you notice a small portion of the cover from one approach and the spine from another. :lol:

It is a research library, so I'm not sure that many patrons browse and find books this way (I used to work in a public library) but I like to think that someone will notice some of the better MA books and begin a wonderful journey like I did. 8)

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- Germaine de Staël


Fri Aug 20, 2010 3:53 pm
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Post Re: What are you reading currently?
Finishing the book "The Borgia bride", didn't quite please my taste, and I should start "The gentleman's daughter" which is about women's lives in Georgian England. I also bought some book about George III but there are so many other books I want to read (classics). So I have no idea where to start. :idea:

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Tue Aug 31, 2010 9:29 pm
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