Lola Montez by Professor Bruce Seymour
A Life

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The exploits of Lola Montez - onstage as a dancer and an actress, in politics as a power behind thrones, and in bedrooms around the world - made her one of the best-known women of the Victorian era. Born Eliza Gilbert, daughter of British and Irish parents, she transformed herself into an aristocratic Spanish dancer, carrying on a masquerade that took her to Europe, America and Australia and attracting admirers and scandal wherever she went. When she died in 1861 at age 40, her obituary appeared in papers around the world. Yet her true story has always been obscured by the web of lies she constructed about herself. This biography of Lola Montez reveals the facts of her life. Drawing on unpublished archives from four continents, Bruce Seymour describes Lola's disastrous early marriage to her mother's admirer, her many romantic liaisons after she left her husband, her disappearance to Spain when she was about to be sued for divorce, her reappearance as a Spanish noblewoman and dancer, and her love affairs with, among others, Franz Liszt. Seymour has been able to use the recently discovered intimate correspondence between Lola and King Ludwig I of Bavaria to recount how she won the heart of the ageing king, how she was driven from the kingdom by an enraged mob, and how Ludwig ultimately abdicated because of her. Seymour presents a portait of a woman of contradictory parts - a woman who was beautiful, intelligent, and courageous but also egocentric and manipulative, and who was above all an independent woman ahead of her time.

About Professor Bruce Seymour

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Seymour is a lawyer & an independent scholar
Published March 27, 1996 by Yale University Press. 468 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Humor & Entertainment, Arts & Photography, Travel. Non-fiction

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Publishers Weekly

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Born in Ireland as Eliza Gilbert, raised in India (both her father and her stepfather were soldiers), married as a teenager to a friend of her mother, she left her husband after several love affairs and ran off to Spain, emerging as an exotic dancer named Lola.

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London Review of Books

In person she is truly the Spanish woman – in style, emphatically the Spanish dancer.’ ‘El Olano’ was described as ‘an intensely national dance’, which would be ‘as new to the generality of English eyes as we believe it to be beautiful’.

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The New York Review of Books

Baron von Pechmann’s extremely formal language to the King, as he himself reported it, contrasts almost too vividly with the informal, rambling ripostes of King Ludwig, but I believe the Baron, who subsequently became a highly regarded Bavarian cabinet minister, probably did an exemplary job of r...

Aug 08 1996 | Read Full Review of Lola Montez: A Life

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