Madame de Pompadour

Madame de Pompadour

Nancy Mitford Amanda Foreman / Dec 09, 2019

Madame de Pompadour 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 t

  • Title: Madame de Pompadour
  • Author: Nancy Mitford Amanda Foreman
  • ISBN: 9780940322653
  • Page: 189
  • Format: Paperback
  • 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 MitWhen 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 recreates the spirit of 18th 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.

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    About "Nancy Mitford Amanda Foreman"

      • Nancy Mitford Amanda Foreman

        Nancy Mitford, CBE 28 November 1904, London 30 June 1973, Versailles , styled The Hon Nancy Mitford before her marriage and The Hon Mrs Peter Rodd thereafter, was an English novelist and biographer, one of the Bright Young People on the London social scene in the inter war years She was born at 1 Graham Street now Graham Place in Belgravia, London, the eldest daughter of Lord Redesdale and was brought up at Asthall Manor in Oxfordshire She was the eldest of the six controversial Mitford sisters.She is best remembered for her series of novels about upper class life in England and France, particularly the four published after 1945 but she also wrote four well received, well researched popular biographies of Louis XIV, Madame de Pompadour, Voltaire, and Frederick the Great She was one of the noted Mitford sisters and the first to publicise the extraordinary family life of her very English and very eccentric family, giving rise to a Mitford industry which continues.Her Published Works Novels Highland Fling 1931 Christmas Pudding 1932 Wigs on the Green 1935 Pigeon Pie 1940 The Pursuit of Love 1945 Love in a Cold Climate 1949 The Blessing 1951 Don t Tell Alfred 1960 Non Fiction Madame de Pompadour 1954 Voltaire in Love 1957 The preface to Saint Simon at Versailles by Lucy Norton 1958 The Water Beetle 1962 The Sun King 1966 Frederick the Great 1970 A Talent to Annoy Essays, Journalism and Reviews 1929 1968 edited by Charlotte Mosley 1986 Collections of Letters Love from Nancy The Letters of Nancy Mitford edited by Charlotte Mosley 1993 The Letters of Nancy Mitford and Evelyn Waugh edited by Charlotte Mosley 1996 The Bookshop at 10 Curzon Street Letters between Nancy Mitford and Heywood Hill 1952 73 edited by John Saumarez Smith 2004 The Mitfords Letters Between Six Sisters edited by Charlotte Mosley 2007 Works as Editor The Ladies of Alderley Letters 1841 1850 1938 The Stanleys of Alderley Their letters 1851 1865 1939 Mitford edited these two volumes of letters, written by the family of her great grandparents, Edward Stanley, 2nd Baron Stanley of Alderley and his wife Henrietta Maria, daughter of the 13th Viscount Dillon Noblesse Oblige 1956


    1. "Nineteenth century historians, shocked by the contemplation of such a merry, pointless life, have been at great pains to emphasize the boredom from which, they say, the whole Court and the King suffered. No doubt a life devoted to pleasure must sometimes show the reverse side of the medal and it is quite true that boredom was the enemy, to be vanquished by fair means or foul. But the memoirs of the day and the accounts of the courtiers who lived through the Revolution do not suggest that it of [...]

    2. As well as her wonderful novels, Nancy Mitford also wrote four, less known, historical biographies- Madame de Pompadour in 1954, Voltaire in Love in 1957, The Sun King in 1966 and Frederick the Great in 1970. This is the first of her biographies and it tells the life story of Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson, who, despite her comparatively lowly beginnings, was told by a fortune teller when she was nine that she would rule over the heart of a King and believed this prophecy completely. Despite being ma [...]

    3. Louis XV & Mme explain the worldly French sexyouall sensibility : after 5-6 years the pash is over (we should all knowthat ), and love deepens while outsider sexercises play on. Yes, some of us know, but few have the French toleration & understanding. Nancy Mitford reports with her usual sparkle.I will NOT expand as doubles prices on books with good GR reviews. I discovered this when I went to buy a gift etc. also doubles prices on books that get well-reviewed on its site. ~~ (These li [...]

    4. Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour hold the center but are not always as interesting as the supporting players. Voltaire appears in his fascinating duality, flattering and satirical, unctuous and petulant, apt to bite the hands that feed him. Mitford describes the “laudatory poem” he penned after the victory over the English at Fontenoy in 1745: Richelieu, a great friend of Voltaire’s, got even more praise than he deserved; and the cunning old poet mentioned a lot of other people who might b [...]

    5. I've never posted an image before (other than book covers) so this is likely to be painful. & I don't know why I'm starting with La Pompadour, as her brother apparently said that none of the many portraits of her resembled her. But I have always loved this Boucher painting.Mitford's style is conversational - I felt like I was was back in the 18th century having a good old gossip over a cup of tea . No doubt Nancy & I would have been whispering behind our hand painted fans. Mitford's writ [...]

    6. An enjoyable biography of that greatest of all courtisanes, Madame de Pompadour, told in the extremely posh voice of Nancy Mitford. Nancy Mitford is through her own aristocratic upbringing very apt in commenting on the ways of the French court and courtiers. I must confess that I was sometimes getting a bit bored by the abundance of noble names and affairs, but not bored enough to stop reading. The biography certainly provides many hilarious anecdotes and interesting stories. I had no idea that [...]

    7. "Madame de Pompadour excelled at an art which the majority of human beings thoroughly despise because it is unprofitable and ephemeral: the art of living."Decadent 18th century French life told in the crisp tones of the 1950's. An unusual and cute biography that I don't think you could get away with publishing today. Nancy Mitford writes as if she knows her subjects personally. Her opinions on the characters of these long dead historical figures are regularly amusing. "The Queen, who, like many [...]

    8. Reading Nancy Mitford's biography of "Reinette" Poisson, whom history knows as Madame de Pompadour, is like sidling up to a knowledgeable guest at a vast party full of strangers and asking her what's what. She's happy to tell you, but being Mitford, a Jazz Age aristocrat, a Bright Young Thing, she'll assume you know who all the people are already, and that you have a passing command of French, and focus on how they relate to the one she came to admire, La Pompadour. In other words, it's a shame [...]

    9. Biographies are my kind of book. I've probably said it before, but if they're well written they're an instant 4 star read for me. This one I rated 3 stars. Looking back, that's probably harsh, but while I liked it, I didn't really like it. Sometimes Nancy's writing got a little confused, jumping around in chronological order and made a lot of assumptions about our knowledge of French life and courts, as well as being able to read passages in French. There was a lot to like though. Nancy has an i [...]

    10. Let's get this out here first: if I wanted to bring back one 20th century British person to go to tea and just hang out, it would be Nancy Mitford (sorry, Jessica, you are my go to girl for rallies and being snide about people, I promise). Nancy Mitford's account of the life of Madame de Pompadour is immensely readable and well presented. From her beginnings as Jeanne Antoinette Poisson to the cultural curator of the French court, Nancy Mitford chronicles the rise and death of the most famous Fr [...]

    11. I've wanted to read a biography about Madame du Pompadour ever since I saw her on a Doctor Who episode. Yes, I am a dork. When I found out that one of the Mitford sisters had written about the King's mistress, I couldn't wait to read the book. Even though it was published in the '40s, the book was still highly enjoyable. The book was centered around Madame du Pompadour but also included the major players like King Louis and his wife. I don't know the history well enough to know how well research [...]

    12. Her real name was Jeanne Antoinette Poisson, Marquise de Pompadour: she was the official mistress of the French King Louis XV.It was quite interesting to learn that she a major patron of architecture - École Militaire and such decorative arts as porcelain - Manufacture national de Sèvres. She was the direct responsible by the purchase of the well-known Élysée Palace.She was a patron of the philosophies of the Enlightenment , including Voltaire and Montesquieu.The author wrote a magnificent p [...]

    13. I am not very interested in Madame de Pompadour or Versailles court intrigues, so the fact that this biography of her is opinionated, unreferenced and probably neither complete or accurate does not matter one bit. The important thing is that Nancy is interested and I enjoy reading her books.The court was snobbish, with courtiers vying for position and influence. When they were not busy having affairs with other people's spouses, they were gossiping about who else was (apart from one married coup [...]

    14. Mitford's biography pales in comparison to a book like Claude Manceron's Twilight of the Old Order, 1774-1778. Now, granted, Manceron's book (the first in a tetralogy) is much vaster and covers a wider range of personages and geography. But if you extracted only what he wrote about Mme. de Pompadour and Louis XV, it would still be more sparkling and informative than what Mitford had to say. Both books have been called novelistic. And interestingly, neither writer had much formal schooling; Mitfo [...]

    15. I love biographies that not only give a good historical overview (any history book can do that), but also somehow communicate the essence of the personalities involved. This biography is beautifully and engagingly written, but Mitford gives more: there a is a charming, humorous quality that I find completely engaging. She has a wonderful facility of language, of vocabulary, that is so intelligent if at times a bit flippant. I would (and have) read anything Nancy Mitford writes simply for her voi [...]

    16. I didn't think that Nancy Mitford was a very organized or clear biographer. She didn't tell the story chronologically and assumes the reader knows all the titles of royalty and courts. She often would quote French poetry or phrases without translation. Even without these flaws, I don't think that she was a particularly skilled writer. She seemed to let her own fascination with Madame de Pompadour skew her writing.

    17. I'm torn because in parts I was really enjoying this book, but in the end, about 70% of the way through, I had to abandon it. Probably due to my ignorance and also my habit of skim reading, I found the lack of background confusing. Mitford assumes the reader knows more about 18th century French politics than I do.

    18. Just read Kelly's review; she says it waaay better then I can but agree with all of it. In short; a good read if You like Nancy Mitford.

    19. Ye gods, what a trial. Don't get me wrong — Mitford could write, and Reinette is a worthy subject. But charm simply does not counterbalance the strange sense of authority and entitlement so cautiously, thankfully absent from contemporary historical scholarship, but abundant in this brief biography. Nor does it preclude, well, boredom. For a short book, Madame de Pompadour took forever to read. And what have I taken from it? A few funny lines, (slightly dubious) respect for the Marquise (on acc [...]

    20. Prior to reading this book, all I knew about Madame de Pompadour came from an episode of "Doctor Who" (Which is to say, given the episode involved a space ship that opened into her fireplace, I knew next to nothing.) So I can't really comment on the historical accuracy of Nancy Mitford's "Madame de Pompadour."I can say that I was delighted by the coffee-table style of the book and Mitford's ability to pick out little, insightful details (a hallmark of her fiction as well.) The book has an almost [...]

    21. Catty, chatty, naughty (for the times) account of Louis XV's influential mistress. I picked this up because 1] its a NYRB book and 2] Nancy Mitford was Oswald Mosely's sister-in-law and Walter Mosely's step-aunt. Also, this book provided a nice intellectual counterpoint to Duff Cooper's Talleyrand insofar as it is quite explicit in describing the strange unreality which permeated so much of the royal politics of the Ancien Regime, and how that sense of insular gamesmanship survived the Revolutio [...]

    22. How to keep a King entertained. The pompadour was one hell of a woman. Woman who was truly in love and fought for the love of her king & country. She had amazing taste especially for Champagne! The history of her life with King Louie XV sets France up for its devastating revolution. She was BF's with Voltaire bet neither of them could have imagined the horrors their shared enlightened philosophy would build up too!

    23. Strangely absorbing. I would start a chapter feeling slightly nonplussed and then suddenly an hour had passed. I think I would have enjoyed this more if I had a more solid knowledge of French history, but her ability to develop a compelling narrative is, nevertheless, outstanding.

    24. Not only a historical biography of a woman in a very different world than ours, but an interesting study of France in that time.

    25. Any one who has read Nancy Mitford's novels The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate knows what a delightful, witty writer she was. Her Madame de Pompadour is equally fun. It may not be "serious" history--some professional historians, such as A.J.P. Taylor were cruel in their reviews--but unlike a dull monograph, it offers not only the story of Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson (later to become the marquise and then duchesse de Pompadour) but a real glimpse into what life was like at Versailles un [...]

    26. I struggled between rating this "it was ok" and "liked it". When I first started it I really liked it and thought - I wish all the history books I read at university were this interesting. But about 2/3 of the way in I felt bogged down and bored. So I stopped reading and started another book. When I came back to this I enjoyed it for awhile - then felt bogged down again but just forged through to the finish. I felt like there was padding with characters and incidents that didn't need to be exami [...]

    27. I never knew much about la Pompadour, so I decided to rectify that situation. This book is much like Mitford's later The Sun King, being a chatty, gossipy, opinionated dance through the court of Louis XV, mostly but not always through the filter of la Pompadour's experiences. Mitford's style is plush, she has a keen eye for a telling vignette, though less care about strict chronology or, heaven forfend, dates! Still, this is highly readable, entertaining, and informative, and I'm glad I read it. [...]

    28. Lively biography of Madame de Pompadour, intellectual light of Versailles, friend of Voltaire and mistress to King XV.Fascinating read. I picked this up as part of my local bookstore's 2017 Reading Challenge. I needed to pick a biography of a historical figure I had not heard of. I'm glad I settled on Madame de Pompadour. This woman lead a very interesting life and Nancy Mitford, her biographer, writes very well. It's a very novelistic biography. Recommended.

    29. This book is exactly what a biography on one of history's most famous mistresses ought to be - witty, gossipy, fun, extremely well-researched but not bogged down with tedious information.I enjoyed very much reading about Madame de Pompadour and Louis XV, and all the courtiers and hangers-on. Versailles then was a bizarre and brilliant place, stranger than fiction.Only the last quarter of the book was a bit of a bore; too much talk of 18th century politics.

    30. This book was easy to read and LOTS of pictures. I am re-listening to The History Chicks podcast and trying to read as many of the women they profile before coming around to that episode again. I recommend this book to any interested in French history before the Revolution.

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