Lady Georgiana Spencer was the great-great-great-great-aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales, and was nearly as famous in her day. In 1774 Georgiana achieved immediate celebrity by marrying William Cavendish, fifth duke of Devonshire, one of England’s richest and most influential aristocrats. She became the queen of fashionable society and founder o ...more
As she grows a little more mature she discovers twin passions - fashion and politics, which being a woman, she can only comment on, not vote or act herself. Combining those into a glittering salon for the wealth ...more
A shy English teenager, she blossomed after she was catapulted to fame by marrying an older, wealthier man. Although she had been born into a rich and influential family, her husband came from an even more prestigious family. After her marriage, she became universally adored; a trendsetting fashion icon, who turned heads whenever she entered a room. Everything she did, said and wore became news.
Yet her confident public persona hid a multitude of personal troubles. He ...more
Did I mention she lived in the late 1700 and early 1800s?
"There was enough popular participation to make politics as big a national obsession as sport, if not bigger. The emergence of national newspapers turned politicians into celebrities." pg 18 ebook.
And o ...more
The bac story to Foreman's research is fantastic - she was studying 18th century British politics and was taught that the involvement of women like the Duchess of Devonshire was basically just eye candy for the voters, but she found out that Georgiana for the Whigs and later the Duchess of Gordon for Pitt the younger were important political figures because women ...more
And while I personally find politics fascinating, in this book the Duchess of Devonshire, the most popular per ...more
She used fashion as an escape spending outrageous sums on dresses, that and gloves, wit ...more
fun fact I learned from this book: apparently, while giviing toasts during the men-only portions of fancy dinners, english politicians would relieve themselves into chamber pots in the corners of rooms, w ...more
Georgiana was a trendsetter extraordinaire of her day. She freely experimented with fashion, regularly made all the gossip columns and gambled away more than one fortune, sums of money staggering even by today's standards. What I found particularly impressive about her was her grasp of and influence upon political matters. She actively campaigned for candidates, something previously unheard of for a woman in the 18th century.
You'll need a baseball score card to keep track of the romantic entangl ...more
What started as a dissertation for her graduate studies for the author, quickly developed into an 18 –month, 450 page study on not only the life of Lady G, but an historical briefing on women, power, pol ...more
CW: infidelity and miscarriages
While I’ve owned this book for a while, the only reason I read it this month was because I watched The Duchess. That movie was amazing, but it also made me very interested in the real Duchess of Devonshire. Watching it, I kept Googling people and things to read up on them, to see if the movie was accurate.
When I realized my interest, I started looking for books about her. And then I realized that I did, in fact, own a book a ...more
Amanda Foreman does a good jo ...more
Okay, so I have about fifty pages to go and cannot seem to ...more
Yes, all of those things are true, but I'm happy to report that Georgiana Cavendish now stands on her own in my mind as the fascinating and se ...more
I yield at around the two-thirds mark. Couldn’t finish this one. I found my mind wandering, chunks of narration just not sinking in, and even nodding off from time to time. It just isn’t grabbing my attention or engaging me. For me, the book gets bogged down in the minutiae, frequently diverging into lengthy tangents describing in excruciating detail aspects of society and politics that seemed to have only a tenuous connection with Georgiana herself. All in all I found it very dry going. Also, i ...more
This is biography of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire who was the great-great-great-great-aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales.
Amanda Foreman's research work brings to life this famous historical and aristocratic character.
By marrying William Cavendish in 1774, she became a famous figure due to her political and fashion ambitions. The book has plenty of Georgiana's correspondence, pictures and newspapers of that time giving engraving details of her life.
It was the first book that had begun to answer my numerous questions about daily life in pre-Austen England (although the daily life of the Duchess of Devonshire is hardly indicative of everybody elses). Remarcably documented, beautifully written and very informative, it's by far in my current top 10!
I may be buying into a genre here, but I still find that biographies written particularly by women, and often about women, are far more interesting to me than those written by men.
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She is the daughter of Carl Foreman, the Oscar-winning screen writer of many film classics including, The Bridge on the River Kwai, High Noon, and The Guns of Navarone.
She was born in ...more