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Marie Antoinette: The Portrait of an Average Woman

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4.17 of 5 stars 4.17  ·  rating details  ·  1,364 ratings  ·  79 reviews
Life at the court of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette has long captivated readers, drawn by accounts of the intrigues and pageantry that came to such a sudden and unexpected end. Stefan Zweig's Marie Antoinette: The Portrait of an Average Woman is a dramatic account of the guillotine's most famous victim, from the time when as a fourteen-year-old she took Versailles by storm...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published July 8th 2002 by Grove Press (first published 1932)
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A Tale of Two Cities by Charles DickensThe Scarlet Pimpernel by Emmuska OrczyMadame Tussaud by Michelle MoranMarie Antoinette by Antonia FraserA Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel
The French Revolution
21st out of 132 books — 156 voters
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155th out of 356 books — 526 voters


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Community Reviews

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Teresa
I've now read three different types of books by Zweig: a novella (Chess Story), a memoir (The World of Yesterday) and this biography. Though I'm more likely to read another of his novellas instead of another of his biographies, against expectation, I found this the most entertaining of the three books, but also the most problematic.

It's written in a very engaging style (though with too many exclamation points for my taste) and I zipped through it as I neared the end. Unlike with his memoir, in w...more
Sue
The writings of Stefan Zweig, who died over 70 years ago, are now enjoying a sort of resurgence as they are being published again and are being introduced to new generations of readers. Personally, I have now read four of his works this year including this biography, his autobiography, The World of Yesterday, and two works of fiction, Chess Story and Fantastic Night & Other Stories. In all these works, Zweig proves himself to be an excellent storyteller. He can write well and he has made the...more
Laura
This book is the most complete biography of Marie Antoinette I have ever read.

First at all, the author made a huge research work in order to bring the historical facts which surrounded the Marie Antoinette's life.

In the first part of the book, Antoinette is described as a young monarch which her main concern, once she married Louis XVI, is to enjoy life as much as possible. In the meantime, the Habsburgs are trying to guide her destiny specially when she became Queen of France. Due to Louis' im...more
charta


Il taglio è fortemente narrativo. Più che una biografia sembra di leggere il diario della regina delle brioches (per me, sin da quando mi sono imbattuta in lei per la prima volta, altro non è stata). Al meno sino ad ora si percepisce una sottile vena agiografica; attitudine coraggiosa essendo questa sovrana una delle figure storicamente più sgradite.
Molto significativi gli spaccati sull'alta politica del periodo, più "ad personam" di quanto un moderno non addetto ai lavori possa immaginare. Feno...more
Yann


Marie-Antoinette est une biographie écrite par Stefan Zweig, un écrivain autrichien de l’entre-deux-guerre, qui relate la vie de celle qui fut la reine de France lors de la Révolution Française. Il pose un regard très bienveillant sur sa compatriote, pour ne pas dire un peu complaisant. Comme ses autres biographies, Zweig fait montre de qualités pédagogiques, alliant à la fois la clarté de l’exposition avec le piquant du récit psychologique. Tout conspire à captiver le lecteur, et à l’intéresser...more
Diana
I've always steered clear of biographies on the premise that 400+ pages about any one person must be overkill. My dad strongly recommended this one, though, and I thought I'd give it a try. Much to my (pleasant) surprise, this book kept me interested on every page and through every chapter. Marie Antoinette's life history and the context both of her marriage to Louis XVI and the French Revolution are fascinating. It's not light reading, but it's certainly worth the effort. I really enjoyed it.
Reham


كتاب كشف الكثير من خفايا حياة ماري انطوانيت،فهي الاميرة زوجة ولي العهد لويس السادس عشر اللاهية لا هم لهاالا الاستمتاع لاقصي الدرجات،لا دخل لها بمجريات الامور في فرنسا ولا عن حياة الشعب في البلد التي سيحكمها زوجها مستقبلا ،رغم توصيات ماري تريز والدتها وامبراطورة النمسابأنها ملكة ويجب العيش بطريقة لائقة بملكة فرنسا ..لكن لاحياة لمن تنادي ...

لم تفق وتغير من حياتها الا بعد الثورة الفرنسية ضد الملك تبدلت الشخصية وظهر معدن "ماري انطوانيت "في قدرتها علي التصرف في الامور والمكائد التى كانت تتعرض لها وضع...more
Liliana Pinto
Nos últimos anos têm existido uma proliferação de biografias sobre Maria Antonieta. Mas, na minha opinião, nenhuma delas é tão exata quanto a escrita por Stefan Zweig.

Quando peguei neste livro fiquei um pouco assustada com a forma como está escrito e os seus capítulos um pouco longos. Ao inicio foi um pouco complicado avançar no livro, porque a existência de diálogos é quase nula e a forma como está escrito requer uma atenção especial. Mas a partir da página 100 consegui apanhar o ritmo certo e...more
Linda Rogers
This book was a very slow read BUT very interesing! Mr. Zweig (an Austrian, like Marie Antoinette) wrote this book in the 40's using data from scores of letters (among other historical documents). I read this book a few years after Marie Antoinette, The Journey, and I learned a great deal more about the life of Marie Antoinette from it! Zweig goes into great detail about many historical events involving the last Queen of France - from the extravagance of her early years to the sparse humiliating...more
Tiadeets
Une de mes amies m'a prêté ce livre me le conseillant chaudement. Passionnée d'Histoire, j'ai commencé à la lire et tout de suite, je me retrouvée happée par le style de Stefan Zweig et la façon habitée qu'il a de raconter l'histoire de Marie-Antoinette.
On en apprend énormément sur cette personnalité historique de premier plan que l'on connait peu (à part quelques épisodes de sa vie et sa fin), mais également sur cette période, sur le pourquoi du comment. Une fois que l'on a commencé notre plon...more
إيمان القهواجي
Si je devais noter le travail de l'auteur, le plaisir que j'ai eu à lire cette excellente biographie, j'aurais donné 5 étoiles, mais je ne peux m'empêcher de noter au passage l'objet même du livre, cette Marie Antoinette, je donne 4 étoiles parce que cette femme ordinaire au destin si extraordinaire ne me semble pas grande par son âme, elle a payé de sa tête les crimes qu'elle a commis contre la "République" naissante, elle a payé pour ses années de pures folies, excès et gaspillages, elle a pay...more
Clara
I really admire the style of Stefan Zweig and the mixture of the historical review and his kind of commenting Marie Antoinettes behaviour is stunning. Okay, I have to tell you that the first 100 pages were a bit hard for me because Zweig is a bit repetitive about the young age of Marie Antoinettes marriage and her childish character, but after having overcome this barrier this book was constantly in my mind. I learned a lot about rococo and French Revolution and I really liked Zweigs conclusion...more
The Reader
Très bon livre

Très bon livre. La prose est belle mais ici et là on sent le parti pris de Zweig sur certains événements et certains personnages
gun
Yıllarca düşkün, kibirli, sefahat ile yozlaşmış aristokrat tipine ilk örnek olarak gösterilen Marie Antoinette'in dramatik hayatı. Birgün bir kitap okuyacaksın ve Dul Madame Capet'nin dramına için parçalanacak denilse gerçekten inanmazdım. Stefan Zweig'in muhteşem psikolojik analizleri ile nakış gibi dokuduğu muhteşem bir biyografi. Üstelik son derece akıcı dönemin farklı bir portresini gömek isteyenler mutlaka okumalı.
Mauro
Zweig desvenda a monstruosidade que animou os revolucionários iluministas: da legítima bandeira da liberdade, que passava por coartar os poderes monárquicos, chegou-se ao ódio aniquilador do indivíduo. A liberdade só havia enquanto se pudesse suprir a liberdade do outros; a igualdade, apenas quando o outro pudesse se diminuído; a fraternidade, apenas com os que partilhassem desses ideais. E enquanto os partilhassem.

Está no livro: as revoluções são filhas do idealismo ou do despeito. E, se a Revo...more
Wanda
Dec 15, 2013 Wanda marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Wanda by: Laura
15 DEC 2013 -- Laura's great review makes me want to read this one. See review here -- https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...
Diana
Interessante, ben scritto, accattivante.
La vita di una donna che è diventata straordinaria, ma che era normale e anzi un po' stolta, forse anche per la vicinanza di un marito altrettanto inadeguato al ruolo che la storia aveva scelto per lui.
Una donna che non ha saputo approfittare della sua posizione, ma ha vissuto la sua vita senza esserne protagonista, salvo poi, negli ultimi anni, risvegliarsi e scoprirsi più forte, determinata e orgogliosa di quanto mai avrebbe supposto. Una donna infine c...more
Gianna
A recent proliferation of novels has romanticized the image of Marie Antoinette. Writers have focused on the wide-eye innocence of her childhood, her early days as Queen and, in general, have glamorized her person. Surrounded by the veil of myths, touched by the force of a very real drama, Marie Antoinette remains the most popular queen of France and perhaps even Europe. Zweig’s biography doesn’t romanticize or glamorize Marie Antoinette. In fact, he states clearly in the Introduction that Marie...more
Julia Boechat Machado
Desconstrói o mito de Maria Antonieta, a mártir dos católicos e a rainha do que comam brioches, e a apresenta como uma pessoa medíocre. Odiada como um símbolo, por um povo que não podia odiar um rei, nem mesmo um que por vinte anos usou a coroa da França sem orgulho, honra ou dignidade, como diz o autor.
A Maria Antonieta de Zweig é humana: uma pessoa medíocre, comum, que é colocada em no ponto mais alto de uma monarquia.
Ela gasta terrivelmente, é verdade, e Zweig nos apresenta o Trianon, Ferzen...more
Joe Toledo
Qué divertido es ir un poco entre las paredes y las paredes de estas supuestas grandes personalidades y saber ciertamente cómo viven: sus apetitos, sus gustos, sus miedos, sus deseos, sus tentaciones, sus miedos, sus inclinaciones, sus amores, sus aventuras e incluso sus desgracias.

es curioso, porque la mayoría de nosotros podría pensar que estos seres que ahora llaman "grandes hombres o mujeres", también tenían sus sufrimientos màs alla de "poses"
El sometimiento, y la presión social... la gran...more
Janice
I have just rediscovered Stefan Zweig having read the Chess Story years ago. For me,the book read like a novel. I enjoyed reading Zweig's analysis of Marie Antoinette's character. He described not only her personal life but life in France during her reign, the intrigues, the complicated relationships between the royalty in France, Austria, Germany, and Russia. A great read.
Anne
Surprisingly interesting book about how MA was actually representative, not an aberrant fiend. Not because of her virtue as mother or ingenue (as in the Coppola film, many proto-feminist accounts of the time), but because she was MEDIOCRE. This is an angle Zweig actually takes from Marx's 18th Brumaire, about history determining deestiny. This bio departs from Zweig's oft-used "I heard this story while on a ship bound for a long journey and met a yarn-telling stranger"-type narration, and goes o...more
Ricardo
Jun 05, 2008 Ricardo rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Gabriel
Recommended to Ricardo by: estaba en casa
Cursaba segundo año del secundario cuando leí esta gran obra. Por mi cabeza adolescente desfilaron el esplendor rococo y la furia de la revolución. Lo volví a leer en ocasión de mi viaje a Europa 2005, en el poco tiempo que me dejaron los trenes, palacios y jardines qque atravezabamos. La narración de Zweig es casi cinematográfica, abundante en historias que, como cajas chinas, se van abriendo unas a otras. La vida de la última reina francesa está contada en clave psicológica, y cada uno de sus...more
Inessa
Psychological analysis of historical figures makes this book interesting to read. description of french revolution and fates/destinies of its biggest players, make you draw parallels to more recent events in Russia, crimes committed by leaders of the socialist revolution and its ultimate failure, people corruption, etc. Relevant book.
Alan
Aunque al principio me retorcía un poco por dentro por el uso del presente como tiempo verbal, lo cierto es que la escritura de Zweig es justa, hace pompa en la etapa más rococó de Maria Antonieta y es seca y muy dura en los momentos finales, cuando todo es desesperación y dignidad. Me gustó un chorro, pues.
ana
Guau. No puedo emitir otro sonidillo. El autor hila con maestría la transformación y carácter de esta mujer, apenas profundizada en la historia que estudiamos la ciudadanía media.
Es un libro largo, escrito al detalle y profusamente documentado que se enriquece con la mirada hábil y limpia del autor, dándole vida a un personaje tan muerto como María Antonieta.

Sin duda recomendable si te gustan los viajes en el tiempo y hacia los lugares recónditos de las individualidades.. porque María Antoniet...more
Elie
I've always been interested in History, and when Marie-Antoinette was the figure rousing my curiosity I was glad to find this book.

Even if its rhythm isn't steady from the beginning to the end, it was a very nice and, above all, interesting reading.

Marie-Antoinette wasn't only an important figure of royalty, she was also a woman with her weaknesses and strengths, qualities and flaws. Albeit the rhythm was slow I read it quite quickly, entirely fascinated by her story, not because her life was w...more
Ava
"Oricît de neîntemeiat şi de încredibil ar fi un zvon care maculează virtutea unei femei, odata iscat, nimic nu-l mai poate opri. Trece din gură în gură, amplificat la nesfîrşit, se rostogoleşte ca un bulgăre de zăpadă care ia proporţii din ce în ce mai uriaş, hrănit şi îngroşat de nesăţioasa poftă de bîrfă a mulţimii"

"Calomnia începe cu o şoaptă, trece din gură în gură, creşte, ridică glasul, şuieră, strigă, urlă şi aleargă, ca diavolul, pretutindeni. Şi cînd se prăvăleşte în cele din urmă, ca...more
Vera Spinola
Feb 18, 2013 Vera Spinola rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Vera by: I saw it at the bookstore
It's an entertaining biography of Marie Antoinette. Once you start reading, it's hard to put it down. It's also a way of learning a little bit of history havinhg fun. The author catches the reader attention from the first to the last page. It also gave me the chance of appreciating and understanding some places in France, such as Versalles and La Conciergerie.
In history she is considered frivolous. The book gives a chance of sharing her maturing process through her suffering, especially when her...more
Mile
Excelente, la narración es exquisita y siempre pensé que María Antonieta era muchísimo más que lo que enseñan en historia del colegio y ni que se diga de las películas que la hacen ángel o demonio. Trasladarse al contexto correcto hace entender lo que fue su realidad como mujer, reina, esposa, madre... Duré algún tiempo en terminar el libro, pero lo seguí con entusiasmo.
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Stefan Zweig was one of the world's most famous writers during the 1920s and 1930s, especially in the U.S., South America and Europe. He produced novels, plays, biographies and journalist pieces. Among his most famous works are Beware of Pity, Letter from and Unknown Woman and Mary, Queen of Scotland and the Isles. He and his second wife committed suicide in 1942.

Zweig studied in Austria, France,...more
More about Stefan Zweig...
Chess Story Beware of Pity The World of Yesterday Amok and Other Stories Vingt-quatre heures de la vie d'une femme

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“Lightly, caressingly, Marie Antoinette picked up the crown as a gift. She was still too young to know that life never gives anything for nothing, and that a price is always exacted for what fate bestows. She did not think she would have to pay a price. She simply accepted the rights of her royal position and performed no duties in exchange. She wanted to combine two things which are, in actual human experience, incompatible; she wanted to reign and at the same time to enjoy.” 1 likes
“Lightly, caressingly, Marie Antoinette picked up the crown as a gift. She was still too young to know that life never gives anything for nothing, and that a price is always exacted for what fate bestows. She did not think she would have to pay a price.” 0 likes
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