Madame de Pompadour by Nancy Mitford
(New York Review Books Classics)

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When Madame de Pompadour became the mistress of Louis XV, no one expected her to retain his affections for long. A member of the bourgeoisie rather than an aristocrat, she was physically too cold for the carnal Bourbon king, and had so many enemies that she could not travel publicly without risking a pelting of mud and stones. History has loved her little better. Nancy Mitford’s delightfully candid biography re-creates the spirit of eighteenth-century Versailles with its love of pleasure and treachery. We learn that the Queen was a “bore,” the Dauphin a “prig,” and see France increasingly overcome with class conflict. With a fiction writer’s felicity, Mitford restores the royal mistress and celebrates her as a survivor, unsurpassed in “the art of living,” who reigned as the most powerful woman in France for nearly twenty years.

About Nancy Mitford

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Nancy Mitford (1904–1973) was the eldest of the “Mitford girls,” the sisters who captured the attention of the English public and press with their literary talents and unpopular politics. Nancy Mitford herself was famous for her novels (The Pursuit of Love, The Blessing, and Don’t Tell Alfred), for her forays into social science (a critical study of the English aristocracy), and for her biographies of famous figures from French history (Madame de Pompadour, Voltaire in Love, and The Sun King).
Published May 9, 2012 by NYRB Classics. 296 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction

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Nancy Mitford, who has already placed a personal cachet on the French aristocracy in its contemporary survival, returns to the age- and the personages who saw its fullest if final effulgence, and the brilliance of court life under Louis XV provides a splendid spectacle to which she brings an indu...

May 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Madame de Pompadour (New York...


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The New York Review of Books

She managed a London bookshop during the Second World War, then moved to Paris, where she began to write her celebrated and successful novels, among them The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, about the foibles of the English upper class.

Mar 31 2001 | Read Full Review of Madame de Pompadour (New York...

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