BEAUTIFUL ENEMY by Constance Wright


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Miss Wright has been writing in and around this era (cf. Daughter to Napoleon--1961) for years with sometimes lesser acceptance of her scholarship than the appeal of her subjects. No one can question the exceptional charm and courage of Louise of Prussia whom Napoleon called his ""beautiful enemy,"" whom Goethe later apotheosized as a ""second Helen of Troy,"" and who was also considered another ""Maid of Orleans."" Largely because of the strong part she played backstopping her husband throughout the Napoleonic wars and later engaging in personal diplomacy during the negotiations at Tilsit directed at both Napoleon and Alexander, Czar of Russia. She was married at 17 to Frederick William, first seen here as too prone to see both sides of an issue although generally considered both weak and vacillating. The strong love between them (corroborated by endless pregnancies and deliveries) may have given way since in a letter toward the close she confides ""how one suffers--when one's illusion, the morning dew of marriage, disappears."" Most of Miss Wright's biography deals with the period of Prussia's reluctant entry into the Napoleonic conflict and its humiliating aftermath where obviously more material is available on this relatively little known figure of greater character than stamina--she died at 34.

Pub Date: April 28th, 1969
Publisher: Dodd, Mead