Elizabeth, Empress of Austria was a tragic and lonely figure. She set the style for royal misfits who would follow her. Readers are certain to compare the life of this royal - an anorexic and fitness freak who absorbed herself in charitable work and died a violent death - with the life of Diana, Princess of Wales.
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She was the Princess Diana of her day: beautiful, anorexic, trapped in an unhappy marriage and a stifling court routine from which she escaped through constant traveling and charity defiantly lavished on those least acceptable to her in-laws (in this case, the Hungarians and the Irish). But Empress Elisabeth of Austria (1837-98) was a Victorian celebrity, not a contemporary one, and though her biographer strives mightily to equate her assassination by an Italian anarchist with Diana's fatal accident while in flight from the paparazzi, "death by fame" is not a very accurate title. Nor do all historians accept Sinclair's contention that Elisabeth's husband, Hapsburg emperor Franz Joseph, infected her with a venereal disease that made him guiltily willing to indulge her every whim. He may simply have loved her despite her obvious mental instability and his equally open infidelities. Whatever its factual wobbles, Sinclair's overheated biography is nonetheless good, tawdry fun for its gossipy portrait of the quarrelsome, overbred, and intermarried royalty of Europe on the eve of its final eclipse. Romantic and kind-hearted--but also hysterically restless and incapable of sustained devotion to anything but horseback riding and obsessive physical exercise--Elisabeth was a fitting empress for the enervated fin de siècle. --Wendy SmithAbout the Author:
Andrew Sinclair is a novelist, historian, critic, and filmmaker. He was a founding member of Churchill College, Cambridge, and has taught and traveled widely across the world. He lives in London and is married to the writer Sonia Melchett.
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Book Description Constable, 1999. Paperback. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # 009479880X