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Mistresses and wives, mothers and daughters - Antonia Fraser brilliantly explores the relationships which existed between The Sun King and the women in his life. This includes not only Louis XIV's mistresses, principally Louise de La Vallière, Athénaïs de Montespan, and the puritanical Madame de Maintenon, but also the wider story of his relationships with women in general, including his mother Anne of Austria, his two sisters-in-law who were Duchesses d'Orléans in succession, Henriette-Anne and Liselotte, his wayward illegitimate daughters, and lastly Adelaide, the beloved child-wife of his grandson.
Published to coincide with the opening of the eponymous exhibition at the Fan Museum in 2004, this text presents an insight into the social, cultural and political life of the Court of Louis XIV. It is centred on the gardens of Versailles and the role played by the fans in presenting and promoting all aspects of Louis' reign.
In 1965, an impoverished elderly woman was found dead in Nice, France. Her death marked the end of an era; she was the last of the great courtesans. Known as La Belle Otero, she was a volcanic Spanish beauty whose patrons included Kaiser Wilhelm II, the Prince of Wales (later King Edward VII) and Grand Duke Nicholas of Russia. She accumulated an enormous fortune, but gambled it all away. Scarlet Women tells her story and many more, including: Marie Duplessis, who inspired characters by both Dumas and Verdi; Clara Ward, a rare American courtesan who hunted for a European aristocrat, but having married a Belgian prince, ran away with a gypsy violinist; Ninon de L'Enclos, who was offered 50,000 crowns by Cardinal Richelieu for one night. Money left in her will paid for Voltaire's education. Courtesans were an elite group of talented, professional mistresses. The most successful became wealthy and famous in their own right. While they led charmed lives, they occupied a curious position: they enjoyed freedom and political power unknown to most women, but they were ostracised by polite society. From the hetaerae of ancient Greece to the cortigiani onesti of 16th century Venice, the oiran of Edo-period Japan to the demimondaines of 19th century France, this captivating book--perfect for readers of A Treasury of Royal Scandals--uncovers the rich, colorful lives of these women who dared to pursue fortunes outside their societies' norms.
From Marilyn to Mussolini, people captivate people. A&E's "Biography, " best-selling autobiographies, and biographical novels testify to the popularity of the genre. But where does one begin? Collected here are descriptions and evaluations of over 10,000 biographical works, including books of fact and fiction, biographies for young readers, and documentaries and movies, all based on the lives of over 500 historical figures from scientists and writers, to political and military leaders, to artists and musicians. Each entry includes a brief profile, autobiographical and primary sources, and recommended works. Short reviews describe the pertinent biographical works and offer insight into the qualities and special features of each title, helping readers to find the best biographical material available on hundreds of fascinating individuals.
An inspired evaluation of women leaders in war by a bestselling historian. Antonia Fraser's Warrior Queens are those women who have both ruled and led in war. They include Catherine the Great, Elizabeth I, Isabella of Spain, the Rani of Jhansi, and the formidable Queen Jinga of Angola. With Boadicea as the definitive example, her female champions from other ages and civilisations make a fascinating and awesome assembly. Yet if Boadicea's apocryphal chariot has ensured her place in history, what are the myths that surround the others? And how different are the democratically elected if less regal warrior queens of our time: Indira Ghandi and Golda Meir? This remarkable book is much more than a biographical selection. It examines how Antonia Fraser's heroines have held and wrested the reins of power from their (consistently male) adversaries.
'Drama, betrayal, religion and sex, it's all here ... Fascinating' GUARDIAN 'Beautifully paced, impeccably written ... Don't miss it' INDEPENDENT 'Fraser is at her best here, lucid, authoritative and compassionate' SUNDAY TIMES 'Superbly researched ... the definitive work on the ill-fated queen' CATHOLIC HERALD Marie Antoinette's dramatic life-story continues to arouse mixed emotions. To many people, she is still 'la reine méchante', 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. 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.

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