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Marie Antoinette | [Antonia Fraser]

Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette's dramatic life-story continues to arouse mixed emotions. To many people, she is still 'la reine mechante', whose extravagance and frivolity helped to bring down the French monarchy; her indifference to popular suffering epitomised by the (apocryphal) words: 'let them eat cake'. Others are equally passionate in her defence: to them, she is a victim of misogyny.
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Publisher's Summary

Marie Antoinette's dramatic life-story continues to arouse mixed emotions. To many people, she is still 'la reine mechante', whose extravagance and frivolity helped to bring down the French monarchy; her indifference to popular suffering epitomised by the (apocryphal) words: 'let them eat cake'. Others are equally passionate in her defence: to them, she is a victim of misogyny.

In this biography Antonia Fraser examines her influence over the king, Louis XVI, 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, her trial (during which her young son was forced to testify to sexual abuse by his mother) and her eventual execution by guillotine in 1793.

©2002 Antonia Fraser (P)2010 BBC Audiobooks Ltd

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  • Goody
    Somerset - Wiltshire border
    5/15/14
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "History well researched & told; voice falls short"
    What made the experience of listening to Marie Antoinette the most enjoyable?

    Fraser has done her homework, giving a full, humane and insightful account of her subject's upbringing and character. Her contextual information (politics, family power-plays, protocol, international relationships, etc) ensures the reader is aware of the wider world surrounding the individual woman, whom she has brought vividly to life.


    What did you like best about this story?

    As well as being sound in her research, Fraser writes well, and she is especially deft and assured in describing (with occasional, appropriately-pitched speculation) the wide-ranging and increasingly severe political pressures gathering around her young subject.


    What about Eleanor Bron’s performance did you like?

    Bron's enunciation is excellent, and her distinctive voice should be perfect for the book. She is known to be a fine actor, but in this performance she disappoints: at times she seems to be keeping an eye on the clock, for she maintains a pace that does not allow timely pauses at sensitive moments. To this somewhat relentless 'drive' she adds at many times a rather strident pitch. The overall effect is recitation rather than narration, and it intrudes into the story. Disappointing.


    Any additional comments?

    Still worth buying and listening to, for the story is solid and well told, and Bron's telling of it is certainly good enough; just wish it were better.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  • Amazon Customer
    Tenby, UK
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "A wronged woman?"

    This biography charts the life of Marie Antoinette from her noble birth, through marriage and eventual demise. I believe it is a more sympathetic reading of her life than others have given. It has plenty of detail about her life and the life of the court and gives a well rounded impression of this sad queen of France.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
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