Review: Marie-Antoinette by Stefan Zweig

Memorial to King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Ant...

Memorial to King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette, sculptures by Edme Gaulle and Pierre Petitot (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Marie-AntoinetteMarie-Antoinette by Stefan Zweig


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


This book is the most complete biography of Marie Antoinette I have ever read.


First at all, the author made a huge research work in order to bring the historical facts which surrounded the Marie Antoinette’s life.


In the first part of the book, Antoinette is described as a young monarch which her main concern, once she married Louis XVI, is to enjoy life as much as possible. In the meantime, the Habsburgs are trying to guide her destiny specially when she became Queen of France. Due to Louis’ impotence in the first years of their marriage, her brother Joseph acted as a counselor in order to save the alliance with France.


The affair of the diamond necklace was a real disaster to the queen’s reputation. Alexandre Dumas in his The Queen’s Necklace portrayed in full detail this scandal in the court of Louis XVI.


With this affair, the queen credibility was put in charge thus provoking even more the hate of the French people.


This historical fact is responsible for the advent of the French Revolution.


In the meantime, the book also describes her love affair with the Swede Count Axel von Fersen who played an important role in the attempt to escape from Paris but then the royal family was captured in Varennes. A movie La nuit de Varennes (1982), directed by Ettore Scola with Jean-Louis Barrault, Marcello Mastroianni, Hanna Schygulla was made based on this escape to Varennes.


In the following pages, the author describes the execution of Louis XVI and the imprisonment of Marie Antoinette in the Conciergerie. Her execution is also described and until now, nobody knows where she is buried.


Other books related to Marie Antoinette’s life:


4* Marie Antoinette: The Journey by Antonia Fraser which also have a movie version: Marie Antoinette (2006) directed by Sofia Coppola, with Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn.


2* The Hidden Diary of Marie Antoinette by Carolly Erickson.


4* Abundance, A Novel of Marie Antoinette by Sena Jeter Naslund.


2* Les larmes de Marie-Antoinette by Juliette Benzoni. A historical mystery book.


3* Pintora de la Reina, la Favorita de Maria Antoineta by Geneviève Chauvel. The life of Elisabeth Vigée Le Brun (1755-1842) who painted the most famous paintings of Marie Antoinette’s family.


4* The Queen’s Necklace by Alexandre Dumas. The fiction version of the affair of the diamond necklace.




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