In this dazzling new vision of the ever-fascinating queen, a dynamic young historian reveals how Marie Antoinette's bold attempts to reshape royal fashion changed the future of France Marie Antoinette has always stood as an icon of supreme style, but surprisingly none of her biographers have paid sustained attention to her clothes. InQueen of Fashion, Caroline Weber shows how Marie Antoinette developed her reputation for fashionable excess, and explains through lively, illuminating new research the political controversies that her clothing provoked. Weber surveys Marie Antoinette's "Revolution in Dress," covering each phase of the queen's tumultuous life, beginning with the young girl, struggling to survive Versailles's rigid traditions of royal glamour (twelve-foot-wide hoopskirts, whalebone corsets that crushed her organs). As queen,Marie Antoinette used stunning, often extreme costumes to project an image of power and wage war against her enemies. Gradually, however, she began to lose her hold on the French when she started to adopt "unqueenly" outfits (the provocative chemise) that, surprisingly, would be adopted by the revolutionaries who executed her. Weber's queen is sublime, human, and surprising: a sometimes courageous monarch unwilling to allow others to determine her destiny. The paradox of her tragic story, according to Weber, is that fashion--the vehicle she used to secure her triumphs--was also the means of her undoing. Weber's book is not only a stylish and original addition to Marie Antoinette scholarship, but also a moving, revelatory reinterpretation of one of history's most controversial figures.
Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist From bestselling author Ross King, a brilliant portrait of legendary artist Claude Monet and the story of his most memorable achievement, the water lilies. Claude Monet is perhaps the world's most beloved artist, and among all his creations, the paintings of the water lilies in his garden at Giverny are most famous. Seeing them in museums around the world, viewers are transported by the power of Monet's brush into a peaceful world of harmonious nature. Monet himself intended them to provide "an asylum of peaceful meditation." Yet, as Ross King reveals in his magisterial chronicle of both artist and masterpiece, these beautiful canvases belie the intense frustration Monet experienced at the difficulties of capturing the fugitive effects of light, water, and color. They also reflect the terrible personal torments Monet suffered in the last dozen years of his life. Mad Enchantment tells the full story behind the creation of the Water Lilies, as the horrors of World War I came ever closer to Paris and Giverny, and a new generation of younger artists, led by Henri Matisse and Pablo Picasso, were challenging the achievements of Impressionism. By early 1914, French newspapers were reporting that Monet, by then 73 and one of the world's wealthiest, most celebrated painters, had retired his brushes. He had lost his beloved wife, Alice, and his eldest son, Jean. His famously acute vision--what Paul Cezanne called "the most prodigious eye in the history of painting"--was threatened by cataracts. And yet, despite ill health, self-doubt, and advancing age, Monet began painting again on a more ambitious scale than ever before. Linking great artistic achievement to the personal and historical dramas unfolding around it, Ross King presents the most intimate and revealing portrait of an iconic figure in world culture--from his lavish lifestyle and tempestuous personality to his close friendship with the fiery war leader Georges Clemenceau, who regarded the Water Lilies as one of the highest expressions of the human spirit.
Victor Hugo's work presents the reader with a paradox nowhere more apparent than in the collection of more than 150 lyric poems entitled Les Contemplations. Although he insisted upon structural unity, his complex artistic creations often seem disordered and digressive. Suzanne Nash examines this contradiction, and she proposes here a new approach to Les Contemplations that reveals how it may be read as a unified allegory of Hugo's understanding of the creative process. The author's reading heightens the subtleties of individual poems by placing them within the context of the collection. She clarifies the poet's use of rhetorical devices and. illuminating Les Contemplations as a metapoetic creation, shows how it can serve as a guide to Hugo's other works. The first two chapters present evidence of Hugo's narrative intention, place his work within an allegorical tradition, and describe the structure of the allegory. One poem, Pasteurs et troupeaux, is analyzed as a paradigm for the whole, and a single theme, that of Léopoldine as sacrificial muse and figure for poetic language, is traced through the six books. The author demonstrates Hugo's narrative purpose in his use of rhetorical forms and examines (according to predominance of themes, images, and technical devices) the six chapters as steps in the religio-poetic allegory. Originally published in 1977. The Princeton Legacy Library uses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback and hardcover editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.
In this book, Gail Orgelfinger examines the ways in which English historians and illustrators depicted Joan of Arc over a period of four hundred years, from her capture in 1429 to the early nineteenth century. The variety of epithets attached to Joan of Arc--from "witch" and "Medean virago" to "missioned Maid" and "shepherd's child"--attests to England's complicated relationship with the saint. While portrayals of Joan in English popular culture evolved over the centuries, they do not follow a straightforward trajectory from vituperation to adulation. Focusing primarily on descriptions of Joan's captivity, trial, and execution, this study shows how the exigencies of politics and the demands of genre shaped English retellings of her military successes, gender transgressions, and execution at the hands of her English enemies. Orgelfinger's research illuminates how and why English writers and artists used the memory of Joan of Arc to grapple with issues such as England's relationship with France, emerging protofeminism in the early modern era, and the sense of national guilt over her execution. A systematic analysis of Joan's English historiography in its political and social contexts, this volume sheds light on four centuries of English thought on Joan of Arc. It will be welcomed by specialist and general readers alike, especially those interested in women's studies.
Louis XIV was a man in pursuit of glory. Not content to be the ruler of a world power, he wanted the power to rule the world. And, for a time, he came tantalizingly close. Philip Mansel's King of the World is the most comprehensive and up-to-date biography in English of this hypnotic, flawed figure who continues to captivate our attention. This lively work takes Louis outside Versailles and shows the true extent of his global ambitions, with stops in London, Madrid, Constantinople, Bangkok, and beyond. We witness the importance of his alliance with the Spanish crown and his success in securing Spain for his descendants, his enmity with England, and his relations with the rest of Europe, as well as Asia, Africa, and the Americas. We also see the king's effect on the two great global diasporas of Huguenots and Jacobites, and their influence on him as he failed in his brutal attempts to stop Protestants from leaving France. Along the way, we are enveloped in the splendor of Louis's court and the fascinating cast of characters who prostrated and plotted within it. King of the World is exceptionally researched, drawing on international archives and incorporating sources who knew the king intimately, including the newly released correspondence of Louis's second wife, Madame de Maintenon. Mansel's narrative flair is a perfect match for this grand figure, and he brings the Sun King's world to vivid life. This is a global biography of a global king, whose power was extensive but also limited by laws and circumstances, and whose interests and ambitions stretched far beyond his homeland. Through it all, we watch Louis XIV progressively turn from a dazzling, attractive young king to a belligerent reactionary who sets France on the path to 1789. It is a convincing and compelling portrait of a man who, three hundred years after his death, still epitomizes the idea of le grand monarque.