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You left out "Marie Antoinette's" correspondence in your last post....Obviously the need to refer critical secondary literature is essential, I mention that when I say "before moving on to the biographies". Likewise I mention that the writings of Cléry and others have to be read "with a certain detachment", because they too may be biased. But it is in reading between the lines of these works that one can learn most valuable things, especially from the correspondence. Have you read MA's correspondence? If so I think it would be difficult to disagree with me.....having read this work I put into perspective some of the conclusions of the biographers.

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Thu Mar 29, 2007 9:28 am
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I said nothing about Marie Antoinette's correspondence on purpose. I did not want to include this source among those I would rely on with so much caution.

I agree with you memorialist's works are very important, but it is necessary to keep in our minds that they all are biased in one way or another.

For instance, specialists of Marie Antoinette too often rely on Mercy or Campan blindly. It is better to cross their testimonies with others, such as Besenval, Saint Priest, Oberkirsh, Tourzel, Boignes, Paroy, Bombelles...

Marie Antoinette's own letters... it's something different. Not only I read them, but also I read them again and again... and I study them in fac similes the most I can, with the queen's own scripture and so peculiar mistakes. I am fond of her letters ! They just open the door to Antoinette's heart !

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Thu Mar 29, 2007 9:56 am
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But Pimprenelle those cross references are exactly what I am referring to when I refer to first hand accounts (I mean those of contemporaries). Thank you for giving me such an exhaustive list by the way! Once one has read these, and has compared and cross-referenced with others, then one is armed to read the biographers with a certain"bagage intellectuel". Otherwise one is simply drinking their words blindly and prey to their subjective biases. I am interested to know the reasons why you say Cléry's diary is to be read with caution...it seems to,me such a clear simple account. If it is a reliable account, then it gives a very valuable insight into the King's character.

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Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:09 am
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Oh, dear ! This list was not exhaustive ! :lol:

Clery could be suspected for the same reasons as Madame Royale. His diary was published with the benediction of Louis XVIII. So, it could be biased too.

That's why my opinion is that, when passionated in a character, you never read too much ! Read all you can about him/her, something interesting will always remain !

Discuss with people on boards, as we do here, and make your own opinion. As objectivity is a quality impossible to achieve, your personal opinion is the best you can bring to other peoples, with an infinite modesty.

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Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:24 am
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Ah... and, baron... some people here may seem to you... how did you say ? "schoolmistresslike" ? Is that it ? :roll:

Actually, they are passionated about Marie Antoinette for years and years. They have read all these memorialists and more books and biographies. That's why they can be so assertive.

They don't quote their sources, for it would be too tedious... But believe me they know what they are talking about ! :wink:

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Thu Mar 29, 2007 10:28 am
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"Madame", lui dit-il, en tirant sa révérence et en prenant congé avec un petit sourire au coin des lèvres, "vous n'étiez point visée..."

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Thu Mar 29, 2007 12:29 pm
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Of course I was not ! :wink: Anyway, I just wanted to point out the high quality of our members' knowledge. :D

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Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:04 pm
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With that I am in full agreement and this site is a joy to me! How wonderful to be around people on a daily basis who share the same love and passion for our Queen and Louis XVI and their children! And every day I learn something....

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Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:07 pm
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So do I, baron ! :D

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Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:20 pm
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Thank you both for your well informed posts! A question, is Marie-Antoinette Correspondence 1770-1793 By Lever available in English translation? I can't seem to find it, I am only finding her biography of the Queen.


Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:26 pm
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Now, dear Elisabeth, I am afraid this edition is not yet translated in English. Anyway, even if huge, Madame Lever's book is not a complete collection of our queen's letters. You can find other messages (also in French... :oops: ) in the 3 books edited by "Paleo".

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Thu Mar 29, 2007 1:33 pm
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Elizabeth asked
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is Marie-Antoinette Correspondence 1770-1793 By Lever available in English translation?


I think those of us who don't speak French are doubly disadvantaged. Not only do we miss the nuances of original manuscripts but, I believe there are some recent French biographies which express new insights and information which are not yet available in translation?

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Thu Mar 29, 2007 6:37 pm
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mm :? motivation to learn more french...


Fri Mar 30, 2007 1:38 am
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