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 Marie Antoinette, queen of France 
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Post Marie Antoinette, queen of France
I don’t know have you already talked about this, I am new here, so far I couldn’t find it. I would like to know what French people think today about Marie Antoinette and how they see injustice done to her. Do people still see her as a bad, frivol woman like revolutionary did? I can’t really dissociate French revolution and it ideals of liberty, democracy, with suffer and murder of many noblemen and other innocent victims. So I would like to know what is general opinion in France about Marie Antoinette and French revolution? Reading about it in many history books, including from school, I got impression that only positive things count and no one is mentioning how many bad things happened. Do people approve that terror because they still think that reach people are necessary unmoral, cruel … I hope you understand point of my question, my English is not very good and maybe I couldn’t formulate well what I wont to know,

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Wed Jan 16, 2008 3:18 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette, queen of France
Hi Marja Vera,
I don't know really much about France, but the impression I have is that there are still a lot of prejudices. I went to Paris last September and I read somewhere that some years ago (I don't know if on the anniversary of the revolution or the one of MA's death or in some other occasion) in course of a celebration they remembered the trial to Marie Antoinette and asked the people to vote again like they were to judge her; and a half voted for sparing her life, while a half still voted to put her to death. I was incredulous when I read it and maybe someone else knows the thing better...but, if it's true, I think it's absurd.
Anyway, I can say that in Italy (when I live) school textbooks are still very partial: I went though my old high school book some time ago and you had the impression that the revolutionaries were always right, while the queen was a sort of reactionary refusing every dialogue. And also in other kinds of books you find stuff like this. Some time ago an Italian writer published a book about Louis XVI; I read only the summary of the book, which said that the author's intention was to reabilitate the king, show him a positive light etc., even if without forgetting some of his "mistakes", among which to have listened too much to his "intriguing and unfaithful" wife...no comment. I confess I was quite annoyed and didn't read it, so I can't say how actually MA was portraied, but it gives the idea.
And there are still a lot of people who don't know about the story of MA and still think she was a fivolous woman not interested in her people's needs; I dare say that this is still the common opinion and I often have to make efforts in order to convince my friends of the contrary.

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Wed Jan 16, 2008 10:27 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette, queen of France
Perhaps this is a simplistic view, but in the current light of studies into the revolution, we know that there were many factors that combined to foment into the overthrow of the French monarchy. Antoinette's alleged overspending was not the cause and yet people still like to sully her reputation and label her the scapegoat. Why is this? Why does one woman have to be tarnished so, many many years later? Of course we have all read many studies of her life and times and I'm sure there are reasons why her character is spoiled but it really does frustrate me that people still believe the propaganda of over 200 years ago.... :roll:

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Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:12 am
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette, queen of France
I honestly cannot say, other than perhaps the French people have been handing down the same ideas about the Ancien Regime from generation to generation. Perhaps the next few generations will not do the same.

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Wed Jan 23, 2008 10:31 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette, queen of France
It's frustrating yes, but I think it's also quite common in history, or better, in the image of certain historical events and charachters that has come down to us. You could just compare how classical historians have problems in recostructing even well documented periods because of the damnatio memoriae of some during personalities during the Antiquity. I could seem to be different because that is a time so far from us, but actually also ancient historians who wrote short after the evnts they reported present a probably distorted image.
Unluckily, the knowledge we have of the past is always mediated, and the power of propaganda is very strong, even after centuries.

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Thu Jan 24, 2008 9:14 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette, queen of France
I suppose that there are many types of opinions about MA among French people. All I can tell you is something that I lived and saw with my eyes the last time I visited Le Conciergerie.
I was downstairs, in the little black 'chapel' that was once MA cell. I was alone and then two people came:a father and a daughter (around 7 years old). The girl asked the father in a very low voice...'What is this?' and the father answered in the same low and respectful voice...'this is the cell of the queen'... and the girl said 'ahhh ok' and started to look at everything with exteme curiosity...
It was all in French (they were french) and in an extremely respectful manner.... I was surprised that he said 'the queen's cell' and not MA cell.....
It is only a little 'story' but it really surprised me.
I also know that the little sign in Robespierre's house is often broken by royalists...
Love to all,
Agila

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Sat Jan 26, 2008 12:28 pm
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Post Re: Marie Antoinette, queen of France
Its always so much easier to believe the stories handed down than go searching for the truth...and people have no time, do they? If if doesn't come quickly....

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Tue Jan 29, 2008 3:31 pm
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