Madame Du Barry : The Wages of Beauty, Paperback

Madame Du Barry : The Wages of Beauty Paperback

4.5 out of 5 (2 ratings)


Born the illegitimate daughter of a monk and a seamstress, Madame du Barry rose from poverty to become one of the most powerful and wealthy women of France.

A courtesan, she became Louis XV's official mistress and was fEted as one of France's most beautiful women.

On Louis XV's death she became vulnerable to those secretly longing for her downfall.

Marie Antoinette had her imprisoned for a year, and in 1793 she was executed by the Revolutionary Tribunal for her aristocratic associations.

Joan Haslip's classic biography shares the extraordinary and ultimately tragic story of du Barry's life and, in turn, illustrates the dazzling world of the eighteenth century royal court of France and the horrors of the Revolution.




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Review by

The life and death of the woman who followed on the heels of Madame de Pompadour to become the official mistress of Louis XV and influence much of French culture and politics. While many considered her frivolous, she proved to have a wealth of strength to draw on when times were tough. This is a fascinating read.

Review by

I became intrigued by the persona of Madame du Barry after watching the movie Marie Antoinette (the one with Kirsten Dunst), where she was portrayed as crass, uncultured and completely unlikeable. Joan Haslip has done an excellent job of dispelling that mischaracterization for me. The book is a quick read and is in the end a rather tragic story of a woman who was able to use her natural beauty to eventually achieve incredible wealth. <br/><br/>Although du Barry was manipulated by the men in her life and basically given over to forward her family's fortunes; she was still able to remain somewhat naive and quite charming. It is also amusing to imagine du Barry using her affected lisp to draw in men, even as her beauty began to fade. Joan Haslip really brings the reader into the world of court life and all of the customs, traditions and etiquette that so ruled each courtier. It was also startling to see how difficult it was for women such as du Barry to realize that their world had been turned upside down by the Revolution until it was much too late.

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