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The Rose of Martinique: A Life of Napoleon's Josephine

The Rose of Martinique: A Life of Napoleon's Josephine Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Josephine Bonaparte was one of the most remarkable women of the modern era. In this acclaimed biography, Andrea Stuart brings her so utterly to life that we finally understand why Napoleon's last word before dying was the name he had given her, Josephine. Using diaries and letters, Stuart expertly re-creates Josephine's whirlwind of a life that began with an isolated Caribbean childhood and led to a marriage that would usher her onto the world stage and crown her empress of France. Born Rose de Tasher on her family's sugar plantation in Martinique, she embodied all the characteristics of a true Creole--sensual, vivacious, and willful. It is almost impossible to imagine Josephine emerging from any other society. As a dowdy sixteen-year-old, she is brought to Paris to marry the Parisian nobleman Alexandre de Beauharnais, later the model for the philanderer Valmont in Les Liaisons Dangereuses. Josephine's life gives us a picture of the terrible vicissitudes of the times. She managed to be in the forefront of every important episode of her era's turbulent history: from the rise of the West Indian slave plantations that bankrolled Europe's rapid economic development, to the decaying of the ancien regime, to the Revolution itself from which she barely escaped the guillotine. After the Terror in Paris, the brilliant corrupt director Paul Barras rescued her from near-starvation. She epitomized postrevolutionary Paris with its wild decadence and love of all things exotic, and it was there as its star that she first caught the eye of a young Corsican general who was to become the colossus of the age, Napoleon Bonaparte. A true partner to Napoleon, she was a political adviser, hostess parexcellence, his confidante, and passionate lover. Wandering through her beloved Malmaison after her death, Napoleon said: "She was a woman in the fullest sense of the word, capricious and alive, and with the best of hearts."

Review:

"Born in Martinique, her name was Rose when she arrived in France at age 15 to marry her first husband, a handsome man-about-court who quickly neglected his disappointingly provincial wife. Rose matured and built alliances in unlikely places, including the convent where her husband forced her to retire and the prison where she spent the last months of the French Revolution. It was after this period and her husband's execution that she became one of Paris's great hostesses and attracted the attention of an awkward but rising military hero named Napoleon Bonaparte. Stuart (Showgirls) captures the tentativeness of their first years of marriage, when letters of the often-absent, sexually inexperienced Napoleon raged with jealousy while Rose, whom he renamed Josephine, continued to have the affairs common in her social circle. Sources provide a challenge to the biographer, who must wade through material written much later when writers were fully aware of the importance of the actors and scenes they described. The twin dangers of contemporary romanticization and criticism haunt Stuart's text, yet the shifting sands of identity they create seem appropriate, for Rose and Napoleon were both remaking themselves. The almost pathological ways they complemented each other remain painfully clear as Stuart traces the denouements of their lives. It was hardly a happy marriage, and Stuart's argument that the emperor's harsh treatment of women in the Code Napolon reflected the dynamics and frustrations of his own marriage seems quite convincing in this context. 16 pages of color illus. not seen by PW. Agent, David Godwin. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Josephine Bonaparte was one of the most remarkable women of the modern era. In this acclaimed biography, Andrea Stuart brings her so utterly to life that we finally understand why Napoleon's last word before dying was the name he had given her, Josephine. Using diaries and letters, Stuart expertly re-creates Josephine's whirlwind of a life that began with an isolated Caribbean childhood and led to a marriage that would usher her onto the world stage and crown her empress of France. Josephine's life gives us a picture of the terrible vicissitudes of the times. She managed to be in the forefront of every important episode of her era's turbulent history. After the Terror in Paris, the brilliant corrupt director Paul Barras rescued her from near-starvation. She epitomized post revolutionary Paris with its wild decadence and love of all things exotic, and it was there as its star that she first caught the eye of a young Corsican general who was to become the colossus of the age, Napoleon Bonaparte. A true partner to Napoleon, she was a political adviser, hostess par excellence, his confidante, and passionate lover.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780802117700
Subtitle:
A Life of Napoleon's Josephine
Publisher:
Atlantic Monthly Press
Author:
Stuart, Andrea
Location:
New York
Subject:
Europe - France
Subject:
Women
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Empresses
Subject:
Biography & Autobiography - Women
Edition Description:
Trade Cloth
Series Volume:
0969
Publication Date:
20040305
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Illustrations:
16 Color Illustrations
Pages:
480
Dimensions:
900x600

Related Subjects

Biography » Women
History and Social Science » Europe » France » Napoleon

The Rose of Martinique: A Life of Napoleon's Josephine
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 480 pages Grove Press - English 9780802117700 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Born in Martinique, her name was Rose when she arrived in France at age 15 to marry her first husband, a handsome man-about-court who quickly neglected his disappointingly provincial wife. Rose matured and built alliances in unlikely places, including the convent where her husband forced her to retire and the prison where she spent the last months of the French Revolution. It was after this period and her husband's execution that she became one of Paris's great hostesses and attracted the attention of an awkward but rising military hero named Napoleon Bonaparte. Stuart (Showgirls) captures the tentativeness of their first years of marriage, when letters of the often-absent, sexually inexperienced Napoleon raged with jealousy while Rose, whom he renamed Josephine, continued to have the affairs common in her social circle. Sources provide a challenge to the biographer, who must wade through material written much later when writers were fully aware of the importance of the actors and scenes they described. The twin dangers of contemporary romanticization and criticism haunt Stuart's text, yet the shifting sands of identity they create seem appropriate, for Rose and Napoleon were both remaking themselves. The almost pathological ways they complemented each other remain painfully clear as Stuart traces the denouements of their lives. It was hardly a happy marriage, and Stuart's argument that the emperor's harsh treatment of women in the Code Napolon reflected the dynamics and frustrations of his own marriage seems quite convincing in this context. 16 pages of color illus. not seen by PW. Agent, David Godwin. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Josephine Bonaparte was one of the most remarkable women of the modern era. In this acclaimed biography, Andrea Stuart brings her so utterly to life that we finally understand why Napoleon's last word before dying was the name he had given her, Josephine. Using diaries and letters, Stuart expertly re-creates Josephine's whirlwind of a life that began with an isolated Caribbean childhood and led to a marriage that would usher her onto the world stage and crown her empress of France. Josephine's life gives us a picture of the terrible vicissitudes of the times. She managed to be in the forefront of every important episode of her era's turbulent history. After the Terror in Paris, the brilliant corrupt director Paul Barras rescued her from near-starvation. She epitomized post revolutionary Paris with its wild decadence and love of all things exotic, and it was there as its star that she first caught the eye of a young Corsican general who was to become the colossus of the age, Napoleon Bonaparte. A true partner to Napoleon, she was a political adviser, hostess par excellence, his confidante, and passionate lover.
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