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Marie Antoinette: The Portrait of an Average Woman

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  • Posted August 7, 2011

    Outstanding...

    This is an absolutely great read. What a pleasure to read a biography that is more substance than style. You become immersed in 18th century France and all the events surrounding the French Revolution. Certainly Marie Antoinette had her flaws but is also misunderstood to a great degree. Highly recommended, especially to those who don't know of her beyond "let them eat cake".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 7, 2006

    Stefan Zweig at his best

    This biography is a refreshing and well researched take on Queen Marie Antoinette. Zweig shows us first the woman then the queen. He is objective in his opinion about her, describing a young girl victim of political machinations and a decadent court, but also vain and superficial with no interest in using her position for anything of substance. We see her as a humiliated wife, unable to bear chldren at first because of a phisical defect in her husband. And then as a mother full of love for her children. The story surprises us with a very human display of the family. Zweig narrates well known moments of the french revolution with passion but also so objectibly you almost consider the possibility of a different outcome. The dignity with which the doomed Queen accepts her destiny is a well deserved tribute to this woman who has so often been caricaturised, we finally see her as a plain character in an extraordinay place in history. Zweig´s sense of irony gives the story a perspective that make´s it unique.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2005

    Stands the test of time very well.

    Dating from 1933 in its first edition, this book is part biography and part psychological analysis of the great Austrian Empress Maria Theresa's daughter who died a hated Queen of France. While both its writing style and its ideas - particularly its author's assumptions about the fundamental nature of womanhood - may seem quaint to the 21st Century reader, it's still very well worth reading. Zweig refuses to rely upon a number of commonly used sources that he has reason to consider suspect, and he approaches his subject with genuine interest that's refreshingly uncontaminated by awe. The Archduchess Antoinette, the Dauphiness of France, the giddy young Queen to Louis XVI, the maturing mother of the Dauphin who would have become Louis XVII - Zweig captures them all, and then takes us with him through this woman's terrible final transformation into the prematurely white-haired 'Widow Capet' who mounts the scaffold. He writes her life with frankness that's remarkable, truly, considering the era in which his work was originally published.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2008

    No text was provided for this review.

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