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The Wicked Queen: The Origins of the Myth of Marie-Antoinette Paperback – Aug 24 2001
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From 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.AJean E.S. Storrs, Enoch Pratt Free Lib., Baltimore
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Revolutionary agitation is always most effective when outrage can be concentrated on an individual or one class of people. Our Declaration of Independence demonized George III, though the colonists' real dispute was with a faction of Parliament. As a foreigner with a knack for putting her foot in her mouth, French queen Marie-Antoinette was an inviting target for agitators. Thomas, who has specialized in examining the mass culture of eighteenth-century France, does not attempt to find the "real" Marie-Antoinette. Rather, her target is the queen's detractors, who carried on a campaign of vilification and distortion, primarily via pamphlets, which contributed substantially to the undermining of the monarchy. The campaign began soon after Marie-Antoinette's arrival in France and continued with increasing intensity until her execution. She was variously accused of nymphomania, lesbianism, incest, and insensitive frivolity. This is an unusual and interesting examination of a primitive but quite effective effort at mass political indoctrination. Jay Freeman --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
This is the first book in sometime that has put Marie Antoinette back into the context of her time...unfortunately for Royalist Mythology she was commonly referred to as the Austrian .... By her actions she precipitated the Revolution...she was provocative and weak...a flammable combination.
As for the reader who's sensibilities are offended by the "riding the penis" cartoon...you obviously haven't seen the several thousand cartoons of time that are available...the one you refer to IS tame...you should see the ones where she is dressed like a nun....You should also read the pamphlets sold at the Palais Royale...
While Hebert did indeed make things up in her indictment, it is hard to get around the fact that she has to shoulder a lot of responsibility for the revolution...
I recommend this book as one of the best books on Marie Antoinette in last 20 years...it has also prompted me to seek out the author.
I think the book is well researched, devoid of sentimentality and attempts to place Marie Antoinette back into the context of the tapestry of her times.
Michael La Vean
Fellow, International Napoleonic Society
Stanley Loomis, Andre Castelot, and many more biographers of the Queen have all made clear the nature and consequences of "The Pamphlets". I resent when an author is lauded with praise for a "discovery" that was hardly their's! The pamphlets are kept in a special room of the Archives called "l'enfer", a name which aptly describes its contents. I have a laundry list of biographers and scholars who have made use of the same documents kept there just as Thomas has. These printed attacks on the Queen and their importance in any understanding of Marie Antoinette or the French Revolution have long been recognized. Really. Printing a few examples of this filth and belaboring the point does not a scholar make. It's a pity that publishers and authors don't read these consumer reviews... Please, wake me from my sleep when something truly new, and relevatory is published about Marie Antoinette.
Most recent customer reviews
The author should study her history and get the facts!
This book was a joke. I was rather furious and more than disappointed. Read more
This book was a disappointment. I ...was very interested. I am a 'fan' of Marie Antoinette and have been fascinated with her life since reading Castelot's biography of her. Read morePublished on July 12 2001 by Johny Bottom
I am a college student majoring in History and I thank Chantal Thomas for writing this excellent work. Read morePublished on Dec 2 1999 by Marsha McAllister
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