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 Antonia Fraser's biography 
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Post Antonia Fraser's biography
I remember putting this down on my 'must read' list when it came out some years ago but I never got round to it. Anyway I just got it out of the library today and started it. Any fans, detractors, comments at all?

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Wed Feb 28, 2007 1:45 pm
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I have just started to read it... I am at the beginning, but for the moment I find it very complete and very detailed with regard to the childhood of Maria-Antonia. :wink:

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Wed Feb 28, 2007 1:58 pm
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LOL yes that is what i have been finding for the last half hour as well :)

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Wed Feb 28, 2007 2:02 pm
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In my view, it is a very good biography, very sympathetic to Marie Antoinette and well documented. The book is far more interesting than the movie loosely based upon.

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Wed Feb 28, 2007 3:07 pm
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There is a discussion of various bios here.

http://www.marie-antoinette.org/forum/v ... c.php?t=80

Lady Fraser's bio has many great details but she also tries to be politically correct. She develops the Fersen legend in the most sordid manner, and is the only biographer who gives us the picture of Fersen and Antoinette fiddling with primitive prophylactics while consummating their mythical grand passion.

I don't agree with all of her conclusions but there is no doubt that she is sympathetic to the queen, in her own way, although projecting a great deal of her own lifestyle onto Marie-Antoinette. She basically is inspired by Zweig, because she believes that Antoinette was sexually frustrated, and spent money because she had no sex. What about all the people at the court who were spending more money than Marie-Antoinette and having plenty of sex? It is not even logical.

Fraser encouraged Coppola to show the Fersen affair in the film. Sex sells.

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Wed Feb 28, 2007 4:40 pm
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I meant to start a thread about the Fersen relationship actually but hadn't got round to it. SOme books I have read have the relationship as being sexual beyond any doubt, some say that it's not possible to know and some say that it wasn't sexual at all. Is there an 'official' line?

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Wed Feb 28, 2007 4:42 pm
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We have a thread about Antoinette and Fersen, here.

http://www.marie-antoinette.org/forum/v ... .php?t=217

There is no proof that Fersen and Marie-Antoinette were lovers.

http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2007/0 ... art-1.html

http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2007/0 ... art-2.html

http://teaattrianon.blogspot.com/2007/0 ... art-3.html

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Wed Feb 28, 2007 4:46 pm
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Quote:
I meant to start a thread about the Fersen relationship actually but hadn't got round to it. SOme books I have read have the relationship as being sexual beyond any doubt, some say that it's not possible to know and some say that it wasn't sexual at all. Is there an 'official' line?


Indeed, there is an "official" line, that is to consider that, since Fersen was so handsome, it would be so normal to have sex with him.

In my view, this is a totally nowadays interpretation, that does not take into account Marie Antoinette's psychology and specificities.

She was an Habsburg archduchess, raised up to become a queen. There was nothing normal about this... nothing but extraordinary in the literal meaning of the adjective.

She also had no temper, following her brother who knew her well, and was not interested in sex.

And, also, which lady would accept to come after so many others ? Fersen had a mistress in every town he visited. And he did not stop these activities after meeting Marie Antoinette.

There are two possibilities to explain this situation, in my opinion, speaking about a so proud lady. Either Marie Antoinette loved Fersen, and would not agree that he went on sleeping around. Although, he did... so, she did not love him that much...

Or, second possibility, being just a friend among others for Marie Antoinette, Fersen could freely and openly go on in his womanizer way. Which he did. That's the reason why I am tempted to believe that they were just friends.

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Wed Feb 28, 2007 5:53 pm
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Pimprenelle wrote:
Quote:
I meant to start a thread about the Fersen relationship actually but hadn't got round to it. SOme books I have read have the relationship as being sexual beyond any doubt, some say that it's not possible to know and some say that it wasn't sexual at all. Is there an 'official' line?


Indeed, there is an "official" line, that is to consider that, since Fersen was so handsome, it would be so normal to have sex with him.

In my view, this is a totally nowadays interpretation, that does not take into account Marie Antoinette's psychology and specificities.

She was an Habsburg archduchess, raised up to become a queen. There was nothing normal about this... nothing but extraordinary in the literal meaning of the adjective.

She also had no temper, following her brother who knew her well, and was not interested in sex.

And, also, which lady would accept to come after so many others ? Fersen had a mistress in every town he visited. And he did not stop these activities after meeting Marie Antoinette.

There are two possibilities to explain this situation, in my opinion, speaking about a so proud lady. Either Marie Antoinette loved Fersen, and would not agree that he went on sleeping around. Although, he did... so, she did not love him that much...

Or, second possibility, being just a friend among others for Marie Antoinette, Fersen could freely and openly go on in his womanizer way. Which he did. That's the reason why I am tempted to believe that they were just friends.


Well said.

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Wed Feb 28, 2007 5:56 pm
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I am also just starting this book after having just finished a couple older biographies. I am interesting in seeing any differences. :wink:


Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:00 pm
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3rd possibility: Marie-Antoinette was in love with Fersen, but she hid her feelings very well, and could support his absences and inaccuracies without showing her irritation….but I do not believe in it, because Marie-Antoinette did not hide her feelings…. :lol:

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Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:00 pm
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Lady Fraser's book is very well-written and enjoyable to read, like most of her other books. While some of her assumptions are off-target, IMO, there is no doubt that it is filled with valuable information about the queen.

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Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:03 pm
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Louis-Charles wrote:
3rd possibility: Marie-Antoinette was in love with Fersen, but she hid her feelings very well, and could support his absences and inaccuracies without showing her irritation….but I do not believe in it, because Marie-Antoinette did not hide her feelings…. :lol:


Yes, she was not too discreet and very forthright.

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Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:05 pm
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I believe that there is alot to the friendship of Fersen and M.A. Didn't the King also hold Fersen in high regard? I think Fersen had much more than good looks and desirous personality that held the Queen's attentions. He, more than her other courtiers, may have had more stable views, been more devoted to her friendship, etc. Or, maybe they did just have that kind of undeniable love that happens when 2 lives intersect! :wink:


Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:09 pm
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Therese writes:
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While some of her assumptions are off-target


Therese, what are some of her assumptions that you think are off target?


Wed Feb 28, 2007 6:14 pm
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