Marie Antoinette

Marie Antoinette

The Journey

Book - 2001
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Random House, Inc.
Never before has the life of Marie Antoinette been told so intimately and with such authority as in Antonia Fraser’s newest work, Marie Antoinette: The Journey. Famously known as the eighteenth-century French queen whose excesses have become legend, Marie Antoinette was blamed for instigating the French Revolution. But the story of her journey begun as a fourteen-year-old sent from Vienna to marry the future Louis XVI to her courageous defense before she was sent to the guillotine reveals a woman of greater complexity and character than we have previously understood. We stand beside Marie Antoinette and witness the drama of her life as she becomes a scapegoat of the Ancien Regime when her faults were minor in comparison to the punishments inflicted on her.


The youngest daughter, fifteenth out of sixteen children, of Austrian empress Maria Teresa and Francis I, Marie Antoinette was sent on a literal journey by her mother from Vienna to Versailles with the expectation that she would further Austrian interests at all times. Yet, Marie Antoinette was by nature far from interested in state affairs and much more inclined to exert a gracious, philanthropic role, patronizing the arts especially music, as royalty would come to behave in the nineteenth century. Despite this the French accused her of political interference and wrote scandalous tracts against her, mocking her lack of sophistication. Meanwhile, longing for a family and the birth of an heir who would have cemented the Franco-Austro alliance, the French queen had to endure more than eight years of public humiliation for her barren marriage before the delivery of her first of four children.

As these problems unfold, Antonia Fraser also weaves a richly detailed account of Marie Antoinette’s other, more poignant journey: from the ill-educated and unprepared girl who sought refuge in pleasure as a consolation into a magnificent, courageous woman who defied her enemies at her trial with consummate intelligence, arousing the admiration of even the most hostile revolutionaries.

Brilliantly written, Marie Antoinette is a work of impeccable scholarship. Drawing on a wealth of family letters and other archival materials, Antonia Fraser successfully avoids the hagiography of some the French queen’s admirers and the misogyny of many of her critics. The result is an utterly riveting and intensely moving book by one of our finest biographers.

Baker & Taylor
Describes the life of Marie Antionette from her betrothal as a fourteen-year-old girl to the future King Louis XVI, through her life in the French court, to her courage in the face of revolutionaries who sent her to the guillotine.

Baker
& Taylor

The acclaimed author of The Six Wives of Henry VIII describes her life, from her betrothal as an unsophisticated, poorly educated fourteen-year-old girl to the future King Louis XVI, through her difficult marriage in the French court, to her courage in the face of revolutionaries who sent her to the guillotine twenty-three years later. 75,000 first printing.

Publisher: New York : N.A. Talese/Doubleday, c2001
ISBN: 9780385489485
038548948X
Branch Call Number: B MARIE ANTOINETTE
Characteristics: xxii, 512 p. : ill. (some col.), map ; 25 cm

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t
TLOrr
Feb 14, 2015

place on hold

p
pwalmsley
Nov 10, 2011

An incredibly well researched, and thoroughly engrossing book. Great insight into not only Marie, but her husband, family, and inner circle.

debwalker Apr 30, 2011

"Antonia Fraser is an expert on royalty, having penned 11 biographies on regal subjects. While they are all worthy reads, her 2001 biography of Marie Antoinette is the most suitable to celebrating Kate Middleton's becoming a princess (as well as a bride). Marie Antoinette: The Journey is widely considered to be the most thorough and balanced book about the controversial Queen of France available."
CBC Books

r
ryner
May 31, 2007

Antonia Fraser's well-researched work details the known facts in the life of Marie Antoinette ? from her grand childhood as the daughter of an empress, to her marriage to Louis XVI and her life as France's queen, to her tragic and ultimate downfall with the start of the French Revolution.

Although I would recommend it to history fans, the book took me longer to complete than a book of this size normally would, partly because there was simply so much information to digest. I was also occasionally bored with the more political details. However, I find it amazing that we do know so much about Marie Antoinette and these events that occurred more than 200 years ago.

Compared with Abundance, a work of historical fiction published in 2006 by Sena Jeter Naslund which complements this one fairly well, Fraser's Marie Antoinette is a more sympathetic character. In a rather stark contrast to popular opinion, both of her contemporaries and her reputation persisting through history, she is painted very nearly as an innocent victim of circumstance. I suspect the truth lies somewhere in between.

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