Sunday, March 09, 2008

"Marie-Antoinette was the victim of idealogical inflation systemitically fueled by the pamphlets and the press."

and "Even when thrown by the handful at their targets, the pamphlets failed to rattle the good humor of the queen--thanks, perhaps, to her complete lack of curiosity about the written word. Reading, an immobile an immobile activity demanding sustained concentration, bored her."
Yeah, reading kinda does suck (or so i've been told)
So a short while ago i watched Marie Antoinette (rather enjoyable flick) and became interested in the life of the queen. After devouring what i could find on the internet and biographical databases i went in search of actual books. The only thing that wasn't a children's book my library system seemed to possess was The Wicked Queen: the origins of the myth of Marie-Antoinette by Chantal Thomas, a title i think i picked up once before, started perusing, then returned. This time i struggled my way through (don't get me wrong, it was interesting, if somewhat dense~don't know if any of this was due to the translator, Julie Rose, but i do think this is a tome written for academia more than anyone else).
I perhaps should have noticed that the call number was not one for biographies, though a quick perusal of even the book flap would reveal that it is a study of how the contemporary propaganda pamphlets and tracts not only turned the French people against the foreign queen, but were mostly untrue. I would have benefit ted from a more thorough grounding in the details of Marie-Antoinette's life (there is a brief chronology). And a glance at the back of the book to reveal that the names of everyone i was having such a hard time keeping straight were glossed there might have helped (i am forever making too-late discoveries such as these...) Apparently people were as obsessed with the sex-lives of royalty (the celebrities of the day) then as they are now (not too surprising) and there is quite a bit of vulgarity to be found here.
Perhaps of interest to students of eighteenth-century aristocracy, historical scandal sheets, or the French Revolution. I will continue my quest for biographical details and i might enjoy this one more after a few more facts under my belt (though i did read the entire thing in just a few days...)

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