Venus of Empire: The Life of Pauline Bonaparte

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A&C Black, Mar 11, 2012 - History - 304 pages
2 Reviews
Celebrated for her looks, notorious for her passions, immortalised by Antonio Canova's statue and always deeply loyal to her brother, Pauline Bonaparte Borghese is a fascinating figure.

At the turn of the nineteenth century she was considered by many to be the most beautiful woman in Europe. She shocked the continent with the boldness of her love affairs, her opulent wardrobe and jewels and, most famously, her decision to pose nearly nude for Canova's sculpture, which has been replicated in countless ways through the years. But just as remarkable for Pauline's private life was her fidelity to the emperor (if not to her husbands). She was witness to Napoleon's great victories in Italy, and she was often with him and her rival for his loyalty, the Empress Josephine, at Malmaison. When he was exiled to Elba, Pauline was the only sibling to follow him there, and after Waterloo she begged to be allowed to join him at Saint Helena.

No biographer has gone so deeply into the sources or so closely examined one of the seminal relationships of the man who shaped modern Europe. In Venus of Empire, Flora Fraser casts new light on the Napoleonic era while crafting a dynamic, vivid portrait of mesmerising woman.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - wagner.sarah35 - LibraryThing

A good overview of Pauline Bonaparte's life. While Pauline never makes for dull reading, I do wish the author had ventured to provide more definitive answers about some aspects of Pauline's life. For ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - juglicerr - LibraryThing

I was thoroughly bored for most of the book. I attribute this to the rather inconsequential subject, though perhaps it is the writing. I don't feel that I know anything significant for having finished ... Read full review

Contents

Preface
Dinner at Marseille
Garrison Bride 17971798
Madame Leclerc in Paris 17981799
Sister to the First Consul 18001802
Pestilential Climate 18021803
Union with a Roman Prince 1803
Bitter Summer 1804
Messalina of the Empire 1807
Southern Belle 18071808
Agent for Divorce 18081812
Survival 18121814
Diamonds on the Battlefield 18141815
Great Remains of Beauty 18211825
Notes
Sources Also by Flora Fraser

The Borgheses at War 18041807

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