Versailles: A Biography of a Palace

Hardcover (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $4.47
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 85%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (17) from $4.47   
  • New (5) from $26.99   
  • Used (12) from $4.47   
Close
Sort by
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Note: Marketplace items are not eligible for any BN.com coupons and promotions
$26.99
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(14)

Condition:

New — never opened or used in original packaging.

Like New — packaging may have been opened. A "Like New" item is suitable to give as a gift.

Very Good — may have minor signs of wear on packaging but item works perfectly and has no damage.

Good — item is in good condition but packaging may have signs of shelf wear/aging or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Acceptable — item is in working order but may show signs of wear such as scratches or torn packaging. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Used — An item that has been opened and may show signs of wear. All specific defects should be noted in the Comments section associated with each item.

Refurbished — A used item that has been renewed or updated and verified to be in proper working condition. Not necessarily completed by the original manufacturer.

New
Brand new condition, mint and unused. Dust jacket in pristine condition and comes in a stylish new Brodart cover. Give this as a gift. No writing or highlighting present. Fast ... shipping with delivery confirmation. Read more Show Less

Ships from: Parkville, MD

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$45.00
Seller since 2005

Feedback rating:

(129)

Condition: New
2008 Hard Cover First Edition NEW Copy. NEW DJ NEW copy in NEW DJ. Hardcover. FIRST EDITION STATED with full number line starting with a 1. No remainder marks. Not ex-library.

Ships from: Powell, TN

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$76.28
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(258)

Condition: New
Brand New Item.

Ships from: Chatham, NJ

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Canadian
  • International
  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
  • Express, 48 States
  • Express (AK, HI)
$80.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(139)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
$115.00
Seller since 2014

Feedback rating:

(139)

Condition: New
Brand new.

Ships from: acton, MA

Usually ships in 1-2 business days

  • Standard, 48 States
  • Standard (AK, HI)
Page 1 of 1
Showing All
Close
Sort by

Overview

"The story of Versailles is one of historical drama, under the last three kings of France's old regime, mixed with the high camp and glamour of the European courts, all in an iconic home for the French arts. The palace itself has been radically altered since 1789, and the court was long ago swept away. Versailles sets out to rediscover what is now a vanished world: a great center of power, a seat of royal government, and, for thousands, a home both grand and squalid, bound by social codes almost incomprehensible to us today." Using eyewitness testimony as well as the latest historical research, Tony Spawforth offers the first full account of Versailles in English in over thirty years. Blowing away the myths of Versailles, he analyzes afresh the politics behind the Sun King's construction of the palace and shows how Versailles worked as the seat of a royal court. He probes the conventional picture of a "perpetual house party" of courtiers and gives full weight to the darker side: not just the mounting discomfort of the aging buildings but also the intrigue and status anxiety of its aristocrats. The book brings out clearly the fateful consequences for the French monarchy of its relocation to Versailles and also examines the changing place of Versailles in France's national identity since 1789.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

J. Courtney Sullivan
For any tourist who has visited the Palace of Versailles and wondered about the generations of royals who lived there, Spawforth's well-researched book offers an illuminating portrait…If the details that Spawforth, a British historian, provides in Versailles sometimes border on too much information, he makes up for it with vivid stories about the royals' personal choices and the ensuing architectural changes.
—The New York Times
Publishers Weekly

British historian Spawforth animates the palace that was home to "the most charismatic monarchy in Europe" for a century, until the French Revolution. The glamour and pageantry of the palace hid a multitude of sins. The clothes-conscious Louis XIV, for instance, created a new office, grand master of the wardrobe, and appointed a duke whom the memoirist Saint-Simon likened to a slave. A handsome aristocratic page to Marie-Antoinette, Alexandre de Tilly, recounted his sexual intrigues at age 16 with a 36-year-old widowed countess, conducted in various palace locations. At Versailles the royals ate publicly, a display that was supposed to humanize them as spectators raced around to watch each member of the royal family dine; the crowd horrified a Russian princess in 1768. Chamber pots on the palace's the upper stories were frequently emptied into the interior courts below; Marie-Antoinette was hit-intentionally, she believed-as she passed under the windows of Madame du Barry, her father-in-law the king's mistress. This well-researched and highly engrossing account conjures a bygone era with all its opulence, deference and perilous insularity. 8 pages of color photos. (Oct.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

This fascinating, immensely readable book will be welcomed by both general readers and those interested in French culture. Using an impressive array of sources, Spawforth (ancient history, Newcastle Univ.; The Complete Greek Temples ) re-creates the history of Versailles and its inhabitants, focusing not merely on architectural details but on the many human stories hidden within its lengthy past. Meticulously tracing the growth and changing usages of the palace from the days of Louis XIII to the ill-fated departure of Louis XVI in the upheaval of the Revolution, he offers vivid insights into a vanished world of royal and aristocratic splendor as he describes the clothing, rituals, habits, ceremonies, and entertainments of a social set obsessed with the "fetishes of rank." No detail appears to have escaped his purview as he looks at the court's dress codes, standards of service, etiquette rituals, and sanitary facilities. Even more important are the glimpses he provides into the lives of those servants and townspeople who made life at Versailles possible, individuals such as the "water waiter" who oversaw a kind of underground economy by redistributing leftovers from royal tables. This book thoughtfully analyzes how Versailles has been both a living community and a symbol of many things-royal magnificence, despotism, extravagance, isolation, and, finally, national pride. Most intriguing is the little-known story of what became of Versailles after the Revolution and the key role played by conservators like Pierre de Nolhac in preserving and reconstructing its history. Highly recommended for large public libraries.-Marie Marmo Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., N.J.

Kirkus Reviews

Portrait of the evolution of French court life and politics at Versailles.

British scholar Spawforth (Ancient History/Newcastle Univ.; The Complete Greek Temples, 2006, etc.) details the construction, restoration and daily intrigues at the royal palace—the opulent official residence and center of government—from the reign of Louis XIV to Louis XVI, the last kings of France. From 1682, when Louis XIV moved his then Paris-based court 12 miles west to the sleepy village of Versailles, until 1789, when thousands rose in protest against the flagrant excesses of the monarchy, the royal palace stood as a symbol of the grandeur and disgrace of France. About the public disaffection with aristocrats in advance of the French Revolution, the author writes, "Did Louis XVI need two thousand horses when Louis XIV had managed with seven hundred?" Drawing on memoirs, diaries, invoices, architectural plans and holdings from the palace archives, Spawforth elevates Versailles from an upscale tourist attraction to a breathing monument with a spellbinding flesh-and-blood history. Among other fascinating tidbits, readers learn that the monarchy routinely sold menial household jobs to poor families who coveted the social cachet of the palace. Positions such as royal chimney sweep, table clearer, clock winder and bearer of the king's chamber pot were purchased by status-conscious commoners as investments and passed from father to son for generations. In a fast-paced narrative, the author discusses the importance of dance, haute cuisine, costume balls and couture at Versailles, noting that clothes were a major expense of court life. In addition to dozens of wardrobe valets and 13 dressers whose sole dutywas to pass Louis XIV his cane, cloak and gloves, the king kept a lacemaker at the ready for mending. The gross disparities between the nobles at Versailles and the suffering masses in France in the 1780s made inevitable, Spawforth asserts, the gruesome end for Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI.

Arch, authoritative and richly descriptive.

From the Publisher
“An illuminating portrait.” —The New York Times Book Review

“Sparkling, elegant prose…. Spawforth brings the palace to glorious life.” —Caroline Weber, author of Queen of Fashion

“Irresistible to anyone interested in the interactions of power, sexuality, and topography.” —Philip Mansel, author of Paris Between Empires

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312357856
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 10/14/2008
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

As well as having a rich broadcast history, TONY SPAWFORTH is the author and editor of numerous books on the ancient world. He is currently professor of ancient history at Newcastle University in England.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 Builders of the Labyrinth 1

2 "Rome in one palace" 25

3 A Gilded Cage? 44

4 "How right to insist on ceremony..." 69

5 Follow the King! 98

6 "All the pleasures" 122

7 Comforts, or Lack of Them 145

8 Behind Closed Doors 168

9 A Garden with Flowers 195

10 "The royal zoo" 218

11 After the Deluge 242

Notes 255

Sources 279

Index 291

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(3)

4 Star

(1)

3 Star

(1)

2 Star

(2)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 12, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 22, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 16, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 5 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)