The Wicked Queen: The Origins of the Myth of Marie-Antoinette

Overview

The Wicked Queen is not a biography of one of the most infamous queens in all history. Rather, Chantal Thomas presents the history of the verbal and visual representations of Marie-Antoinette, a history of her mythification. Almost as soon as Marie-Antoinette, archduchess of Austria was brought to France in 1771 as the bride of Louis XVI, she was smothered in images. In a monarchy increasingly under assault, the charm and horror of her feminine body and her destructive political power as a foreign intruder turned...
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Overview

The Wicked Queen is not a biography of one of the most infamous queens in all history. Rather, Chantal Thomas presents the history of the verbal and visual representations of Marie-Antoinette, a history of her mythification. Almost as soon as Marie-Antoinette, archduchess of Austria was brought to France in 1771 as the bride of Louis XVI, she was smothered in images. In a monarchy increasingly under assault, the charm and horror of her feminine body and her destructive political power as a foreign intruder turned Marie-Antoinette into an alien otherthe bestial "archtigress of Austria." Working as a historian and writing as a novelist, Thomas reveals how Marie-Antoinette came to symbolize the marginalization and negation of women in French society before the French Revolution.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Ignore the subtitle at your peril! This is strictly a study of the portrayal of Marie-Antoinette in contemporary propaganda pamphlets, particularly those emphasizing her supposed sexual proclivities. This unique approach produces some thought-provoking points. Whether the subject warrants a book-length study is, however, questionable. Thomas, the author of two studies of libertinage published in France, argues that these pamphlets do not reflect the reality of the queen's conduct. This is self-evident in our sophisticated age and was probably fairly apparent even in the 18th century. The book is filled out with digressions, a useful chronology of Marie-Antoinette's life, an annotated cast of characters, and reprints of seven of the pamphlets. The tone is uneven, mixing obscure sociological jargon with the crudest street language. Recommended only for the largest academic or research libraries collecting in French history or propaganda.--Jean E.S. Storrs, Enoch Pratt Free Lib., Baltimore
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780942299397
  • Publisher: Zone Books
  • Publication date: 5/14/1999
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Chantal Thomas is a researcher at Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique. She is the author of Marquis de Sade: L'Oeil de la lettre (1978) and Casanova: UnVoyage libertin (1985).

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Table of Contents

Introduction 9
I The Hostage Princesses 29
II The Incorrigible 45
III Queen of Fashion 81
IV The Female Monster 105
V Chant of Loathing 137
Notes 151
A Select Chronology of Marie-Antoinette's Life 165
The Characters 169
The Pamphlets 183
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