Thursday, February 21, 2008
Something a little different for today's Bookshelf theme: a person. Modern historians see Marie Antoinette as a complex woman who, finding herself in (to quote from Queen of Fashion) "...a suffocating realm where a queen was merely a breeder and living symbol of her spouse's glorious reign," used fashion and style as a means towards political power and personal freedom. Shown here: Marie Antoinette by Antonia Fraser (an excellent biography of the ill-starred queen that reads like a thriller - highly recommended); Queen Of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution by Caroline Weber; The Private Realm of Marie Antoinette by Marie Boyer (beautiful style book, but hard to find now); The Lost King of France by Deborah Cadbury (the centuries-old mystery of the fate of Marie Antoinette's son is solved by DNA); Liberty: Lives and Times of Six Women in Revolutionary France by Lucy Moore (another side of the story).
A little difficult for modern eyes to understand, but Marie Antoinette's taste in decor (such as her bedroom at Versailles, shown here) was startling to her contemporaries in its simplicity and lack of ostentation. What strikes us today as a rather pretty room was actually an assertion of independence.