Madame de Pompadour: A Life

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9780312310509: Madame de Pompadour: A Life

A sumptuous new biography of one of the most famous dangerous liaisons

When Jeanne Antoinette Poisson was a child, a fortune-teller predicted that she would one day be the mistress of a king. Born into the financial bourgeoisie that was a world apart from the royal court, the beautiful Jeanne Antoinette nonetheless fulfilled this prophecy by becoming Madame de Pompadour, the most famous and influential mistress of Louis XV. In this sumptuous biography, Evelyne Lever traces the enduring friendship between the monarch and his favorite, and the far-reaching implications-both personal and political-of their relationship.

Pompadour was devoted to Louis XV, and her contribution to the culture of the age was significant: she was an outstanding singer and actress, entertaining the King and the court in impressive stage productions, and was a longtime patron of the visual arts. She commissioned paintings by Boucher, Nattier, Van Loo, La Tour, and Pigalle, and she formed friendships with many of the philosophers and writers of the period, including Fontenelle, Crébillon, and Voltaire. In effect, she was France's minister of culture at a time when no such position existed. But she was loathed for her role in France's disastrous military losses, and was the victim of persistent court gossip and intrigues.

This vibrant biography sheds new light on the talented and resilient woman who influenced, for better and worse, the fate of a nation.

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About the Author:

Evelyne Lever is a leading French historian. Marie Antoinette is her first book to be published in the United States. She lives in Paris with her husband, Maurice Lever, the author of Sade.

From Library Journal:

Here are two biographies of Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, who became famous in 18th-century France as mistress of and confidante to Louis XV. When Poisson was young, a fortune-teller predicted that she would become the mistress of the king, and thereafter she was groomed by family and friends for the role. Eventually, she became a patron of the arts and was known to such luminaries as Voltaire and Montesquieu. In 1745, when she came to Louis XV's attention, she transformed herself into Madame de Pompadour. Poisson was given rooms at Versailles, and, though she was the king's lover for only five years, she remained his close adviser until her death. Algrant, author of Philippe, duc d'Orleans, a 1997 New York Times Notable Book, has written a well-researched volume on Madame de Pompadour. While previous biographies, such as Margaret Crosland's Madame de Pompadour: Sex, Culture, and Power, have focused on the cultural and sociological aspects of her era, Algrant brings her to life in an engaging study that will appeal to the general reader as well as the specialist. Leading French historian Lever (e.g., Marie Antoinette: The Last Queen of France) delivers a well-researched biographical account that gives a picture of Louis XV as well as of Madame de Pompadour in an easy-to-read manner. While Algrant's account tells more about Poisson's early life and rise as mistress, Lever's discusses more broadly the king's history of mistresses and life at court. Both books ably describe Madame de Pompadour's influence on France and the French people. Algrant's book, written in a slightly more accessible, storytelling manner, may bring the famous courtesan a bit more vividly to life than Lever's, but both biographies are recommended for most collections. [Algrant's book was previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/02.]-Mary Salony, West Virginia Northern Community Coll. Libs., Wheelin.
--Mary Salony, West Virginia Northern Community Coll. Libs., Wheeling
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Book Description St. Martins Press-3pl, United States, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. A sumptuous new biography of one of the most famous dangerous liaisons When Jeanne Antoinette Poisson was a child, a fortune-teller predicted that she would one day be the mistress of a king. Born into the financial bourgeoisie that was a world apart from the royal court, the beautiful Jeanne Antoinette nonetheless fulfilled this prophecy by becoming Madame de Pompadour, the most famous and influential mistress of Louis XV. In this sumptuous biography, Evelyne Lever traces the enduring friendship between the monarch and his favorite, and the far-reaching implications-both personal and political-of their relationship. Pompadour was devoted to Louis XV, and her contribution to the culture of the age was significant: she was an outstanding singer and actress, entertaining the King and the court in impressive stage productions, and was a longtime patron of the visual arts. She commissioned paintings by Boucher, Nattier, Van Loo, La Tour, and Pigalle, and she formed friendships with many of the philosophers and writers of the period, including Fontenelle, Crebillon, and Voltaire. In effect, she was France s minister of culture at a time when no such position existed. But she was loathed for her role in France s disastrous military losses, and was the victim of persistent court gossip and intrigues. This vibrant biography sheds new light on the talented and resilient woman who influenced, for better and worse, the fate of a nation. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780312310509

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