MARIE AND THE DUKE OF H by Doris Langley Moore


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I am made for triumphs and emotions"" declared Marie Bashkirtseff at fourteen: the latter, certainly, and the former to some extent in that although she died at twenty-five, she managed to have made enough of an impression as a portentuous poseuse to appear again and again in the literature of the late 19th century (most recently Vincent Cronin's The Romantic Way -1966). She was as prodigious and torrential a diarist as Anais Nin--some 100 notebooks, ""full of incompatibilities,"" if not outright falsification, survived her and Doris Langley Moore has for the first time made use of the original manuscripts dealing with a supreme fantasia, her love for the ""handsome, rich, free, noble"" Duke of Hamilton. She never met him. But for a year (her fourteenth) he figured in all her conversations, visions, prayers: she observed him with his Italian mistress, Giola, in Baden-Baden, Nice, Monte Carle: a cyclothymic personality (either depressed or elated), she devoted pages and pages, all the way from agitation to complete prostration, to this particular love object and Mrs. Langley Moore, a careful biographer, has annotated and evaluated, sobered and subdued la Bashkirtseff whose greatest gift was the hysterionic legend she created, of herself. It's all fascinating frippery.

Pub Date: Aug. 24th, 1966
Publisher: Lippincott