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 What books did Marie Antoinette read? 
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Noble
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Post What books did Marie Antoinette read?
With the summer aproching i thought i should make a reading list and i was wondering what kind of books did marie antoinette read? did she actually read books by Voltare and rousseau?

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Tue May 25, 2010 9:39 pm
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Post Re: What books did Marie Antoinette read?
Yes, she did and she also enjoyed novels.

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Fri May 28, 2010 10:01 pm
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Post Re: What books did Marie Antoinette read?
Which novels? :) i remember reading somewhere that her brother ctiticised her for reading books that did nothing in inproving her mind (or something like that) i wonder what kind of books/novels he had in mind

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Sun May 30, 2010 8:03 pm
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Post Re: What books did Marie Antoinette read?
Well maybe "Les liaisons dangéreuses" by Choderlos de Laclos or "La Nouvelle Héloise" by Rousseau! Those would have been disapproved but she no doubt read them!

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Mon May 31, 2010 12:47 pm
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Post Re: What books did Marie Antoinette read?
thanks for the sugestions baron both books look intresting i always wanted to read Les liaisons dangereuses and the novel by Rousseau seems very exiting, its so unfair the way some people regard Marie Antoinette as feather-brained, she obviosly read books and enjoyed them too. :biggrin:

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Mon May 31, 2010 11:06 pm
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Post Re: What books did Marie Antoinette read?
Therese wrote:
Yes, she did and she also enjoyed novels.

Any source for the first assertion?

According to Pierre de Nolhac, she wasn't much of a reader:
Quote:
Alongside the boudoir was that library of which our contemporaries have said too much; in addition to serious works and important collections, it contained all the literary novelties of the time, bound and bearing the Queen's arms. There were numbers of presentation copies of books, and from authors not likely, one would think, to offer their ' hommagos.' For instance, a certain student of physics named Marat, an obscure person at the time, sent a copy of his ' Recherches sur le Feu' to his sovereign. Marie Antoinette left the purchases for her library to M. Campan, her private secretary. It was he who furnished the shelves; but he fulfilled that delicate task with the unscrupulousness of a man of pleasure, without a thought that the books chosen for his personal amusement might one day serve to stain the memory of the Queen.

The catalogue indicates many of the licentious poems and novels produced in great numbers in the eighteenth century, and these we would rather not find there. The conclusion to be drawn is, however, the simple one that Marie Antoinette may have erred in this respect, like the women of her time, whose reading, like their speech, was very free.

Probably she herself did not know what books her library contained. ' Except a few novels,' says Besenval with very slight exaggeration, ' she never opened a book'; and Maria Theresa reproaches her daughter, through Vermond, her mouth-piece, for neglecting both the cultivation and the adornment of her mind. She attempted, however, as a duty and to please the Abbe, to study big and heavy books, such as Hume's 'History of England'; but the effort was as transient as it was meritorious and it never was renewed. It is not even certain that the Queen looked through the beautiful folios of the ' Voyage pittoresque de Naples et de Sicile,' which was dedicated to her by the Abbe de Saint Non with a head-piece by Fragonard in the best style of that painter who was 'galant' par excellence.

.....Marie Antoinette treated the frivolities chosen by Campan and the too serious works prescribed by Vermond with equal contempt,

http://books.google.com/books?pg=PA149& ... ry&f=false
Marie-Antoinette, 1905

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Tue Jun 01, 2010 1:43 am
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Post Re: What books did Marie Antoinette read?
baron de batz wrote:
Well maybe "Les liaisons dangéreuses" by Choderlos de Laclos or "La Nouvelle Héloise" by Rousseau! Those would have been disapproved but she no doubt read them!


This is true, Baron, and author Vincent Cronin discusses some of the Queen's favorite novels in his bio Louis and Antoinette. She also enjoyed some of the popular English novels. Marie-Antoinette took the name "Ernestine" for her adopted daughter from the heroine in one of the English novels she admired.

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Tue Jun 01, 2010 9:53 pm
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Post Re: What books did Marie Antoinette read?
To my knowledge she wasn't into books when first arrived to France because she was virtualy illiterate. But she did make an effort to try to connect to her husband by reading his favorite book :The History of England.


Tue Jun 01, 2010 11:36 pm
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Post Re: What books did Marie Antoinette read?
I have just ordered Ernestine by Marie Riccoboni, seems like a great book so romantic, and i found History of England by David Hume to read online so i will give it a go thanks for the information :)

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Wed Jun 02, 2010 10:42 pm
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Post Re: What books did Marie Antoinette read?
Your welcome! :)


Thu Jun 03, 2010 5:54 pm
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Post Re: What books did Marie Antoinette read?
I contend that she read Rousseau extensively, actually.

She was very much into the whole Enlightenment idea, yes, but to go so far as to say she read thoroughly through Rousseau, Montesquieu, Voltaire, etc. may be a bit too far. Certainly, she attended Rousseau's funeral merely as a show of support, perhaps a little furthered by a sense of pretentiousness she was trying to make real.

And of course, we know about the History of England by Hume, which I think is more directed as an attempt to please her husband (who adored Hume) rather than anything else.

We mustn't forget her beginnings - remember, she wasn't all too literate in younger years, and a sense of frustration must definitely have carried through to her later years.

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Thu Feb 24, 2011 9:42 am
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Post Re: What books did Marie Antoinette read?
I had heard that she had visited his tomb in Ermenonville but not that she had attended his funeral. Your source would be most interesting for me. :)

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Fri Feb 25, 2011 4:30 pm
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Post Re: What books did Marie Antoinette read?
Pardon me, you're entirely right. Apologies for that. She did not visit his funeral at Ermenonville. And of course she did not attend his 'apotheosis'/the move of his remains to the Pantheon. Certainly, it's a beautiful piece of art, though:
Image

In any case, she visited his tomb not really so much as to commemorate him, but rather to express the growing sense of liberation and romanticism she was feeling particularly at that time.

That said, she had read his works, and like many others at Versailles and around France, were being influenced by Enlightenment ideas. It is simply that she did not venture very deeply into literature and other prose, despite her attempts to.

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Fri Feb 25, 2011 10:59 pm
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Post Re: What books did Marie Antoinette read?
Monsieur Etiquette wrote:
I contend that she read Rousseau extensively, actually.

She was very much into the whole Enlightenment idea, yes, but to go so far as to say she read thoroughly through Rousseau, Montesquieu, Voltaire, etc. may be a bit too far. Certainly, she attended Rousseau's funeral merely as a show of support, perhaps a little furthered by a sense of pretentiousness she was trying to make real.

And of course, we know about the History of England by Hume, which I think is more directed as an attempt to please her husband (who adored Hume) rather than anything else.

We mustn't forget her beginnings - remember, she wasn't all too literate in younger years, and a sense of frustration must definitely have carried through to her later years.

I have never read that she attended the funeral of Jean Jacques Rousseau. May I inquire as to where you have read this fact?

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Tue Mar 29, 2011 12:09 am
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Post Re: What books did Marie Antoinette read?
In fact I believe that sovereigns in France at this time did not attend funerals. I know that she didn't even attend her own childrens' funerals!

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Tue Mar 29, 2011 8:02 am
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