Josephine: Napoleon's Incomparable Empress

Delorme, Eleanor P.

Published by Harry N. Abrams, 2002
ISBN 10: 0810912295 / ISBN 13: 9780810912298
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Synopsis: The romance between Joséphine de Beauharnais and Napoléon Bonaparte is one of the most dramatic in history, but the crucial role this beautiful, intelligent woman played in their partnership has never before been completely acknowledged. In this spirited biography, rich in detail and anecdote, Eleanor DeLorme brings the exotic empress to life, revealing how greatly Napoléon confided in "his incomparable Joséphine" and depended on her sense of style to set the tone of his empire. An important patron of the arts, Joséphine collected works of the highest quality, and her exquisite and extravagant taste was admired and adopted all over the Empire. Along with portraits of the empress, her family, and numerous dignitaries, this elegant book contains many period images of significant events in Joséphine's life. Based on a close study of the couple's letters, the memoirs of Joséphine's two children, and other primary sources, DeLorme's delightful text describes all the amazing facets of this fascinating figure.

From Publishers Weekly: DeLorme, a fellow of the International Napoleon Society, is a self-professed lover of France and of Josephine. Her admiration for the empress does not, however, tip over into worship; her subject clearly had her flaws, chief among them extravagance and a degree of sexual looseness. In presenting Josephine's story from her birth on Martinique to her marriage to the aristocrat Alexandre de Beauharnais, who died on the guillotine, and her own narrow escape from that same fate, her marriage to Napoleon, her reluctant divorce and early death at her chateau, Malmaison, at the age of 50, DeLorme provides an attractive and largely convincing portrait of a woman whose grace, dignity and exquisite taste in decoration helped legitimize her upstart Corsican husband as one who could claim the empire for reasons not confined solely to his military triumphs. In DeLorme's view, the marriage between Napoleon and Josephine remains one of the great romances of history, only lightly marred by Napoleon's extramarital amours and his divorce and remarriage to the Archduchess Marie-Louise for dynastic reasons. In a year marked by revisionist views of Napoleon (Paul Johnson's entry in the Penguin Lives series and Christopher Hibbert's forthcoming Napoleon: His Wives and Women, reviewed above), this sumptuously illustrated and charming volume will bring comfort to readers still under the spell of the magnetic emperor and his glittering wife.
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Title: Josephine: Napoleon's Incomparable Empress
Publisher: Harry N. Abrams
Publication Date: 2002
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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