Marie Antoinette [Audio]
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|Published In: ||United Kingdom, 03 July 2003|
Still a controversial figure - as well as a celebrated one - Marie Antoinette's dramatic life story arouses mixed emotions. To many, she is 'la reine mechante', whose extravagance and frivolity helped bring down the French monarchy, her indifference to popular suffering epitomised by the (apocryphal) words: 'let them eat cake'. She was accused of personal profligacies and sexual excesses. Others are equally passionate in her defence: to them, she is a victim of misogyny. She remains one of the genuinely romantic and ill-treated characters in history. A compassionate queen and devoted mother, she did little to deserve her tragic destiny. She was born in 1755, one of 16 children of the Austrian Empress Maria Theresa. At 15 she was to be the bride of the French Dauphin, heir to his grandfather Louis XV. The Dauphin came to the throne as Louis XVI in 1774 and for more than ten years the French court at Versailles glittered under its young, beautiful and artistic queen, in what was seen afterwards as the last throes of the Ancien Regime. In this stunning biography Antonia Fraser examines her influence over the king, the accusations and sexual slurs made against her, her patronage of the arts which enhanced French cultural life, her imprisonment, the death threats made against her, rumours of lesbian affairs, and her trial (during which her 7-year-old son was forced to testify to sexual abuse by his mother) and eventual execution by guillotine in 1793.
About the Author
Antonia Fraser is the bestselling author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII, Mary Queen of Scots and Cromwell: Our Chief of Men. She has written two highly praised books focusing on women in history: The Weaker Vessel: Women's Lot in Seventeenth-Century England and The Warrior Queens: Boadicea's Chariot. She is married to playwright Harold Pinter. Lindsay Duncan won the Olivier Award for Best Actress and a Tony nomination for her role in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, the Evening Standard Best Actress Award for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and a nomination for Private Lives. Her reading of Marie Antoinette is acclaimed.
The Six Wives of Henry VIII sold over 150,000 copies in hardback alone. Antonia Fraser's first full-scale biography, as opposed to a composite study, for nearly 20 years.
Marie Antoinette will always be a historical figure whom one either likes or dislikes, hates or admires, regardless of what new information or insights come to light. However, Fraser's latest work does an exemplary job of painting the woman, mother, and monarch. Marie's mother was the powerful Empress Maria Theresa of Austria-Hungary, who artfully arranged the marriages of all of her children to sustain and enhance the Hapsburg position of power. As the 15th of 16 children, and the youngest daughter, Marie seemed unlikely to marry significantly and thus enjoyed a carefree childhood untroubled by the rigors of reading and studies, filled instead with dancing and merriment. The unfortunate death of an older sister suddenly thrust Marie, at 14, into prominence as a bride for the future King of France, Louis XVI. Her lack of education and training quickly caught up with her and hampered her efforts to become an effective queen. More suited for life as landed gentry, raising children and crops, Louis and Marie were the least likely pair to be successful monarchs during the volatile years of change leading up to the French Revolution. Yet, in death, she displayed a nobility and dignity that transcended the ludicrous and unwarranted charges brought against her. Narrated by Donada Peters, this is highly recommended for both academic and public libraries. Gloria Maxwell, Penn Valley Community Coll., Kansas City, MO Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
'What makes the biography so warm and absorbing is the author's emphasis upon the simple ordinariness of Marie Antoinette - her gentleness, ill education, passionate maternal feeling and keenness to please. Lindsay Duncan has a lovely voice and reads with precision.' THE TABLET 'was particularly enjoyable because of the reading skills of Lindsay Duncan' -- Vidar Hjardeng DISABILITY TIMES 'Lindsay Duncan gives a beautiful reading' THE SCOTSMAN '4 (out of 5) stars: This audiobook gives a wonderful insight into the life of Marie Antoinette... a strong and human story and something I could listen to many times.' -- Jean Oldridge YOURS SPECIAL
|Publisher: ||Orion (an Imprint of The Orion Publishing Group Ltd )|
|Dimensions: ||14.0 x 12.0 x 2.0 centimeters (0.22 kg)|