THE CAPTIVE PRINCESS: Sophia Dorothea of Celle by Paul Morand

THE CAPTIVE PRINCESS: Sophia Dorothea of Celle

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An alternately cloying and lachrymose history of the love affair between the Count Konigsmark and the long-suffering Sophia Dorothea of Celle which ended with Konigsmark's murder and the imprisonment of Sophia in the castle of Ahlden where she languished for 32 years until her death in 1726. Uncritically accepting the authenticity of the hysterical love letters which led to their doom, the author reproduces every scrap of the lovers' passionate bedroom talk (""I would give half my blood to hold you in my arms"") and provides equally bleeding heart commentary -- ""You can feel the warmth of human bodies in them."" The dynastic politics of the 17th century German Empire are only grudgingly permitted to intrude on this operatic treatment of the domestic strife in Hanover. George Louis who, after divorcing Sophia went on to become George I of England, is the villain and no mistake: when the marriage had first been contracted Sophia screamed out, ""I will not marry the pig snout"" and the author, French novelist and diplomat Morand, fully shares her assessment of the German boor. Everyone else at court is quite horrid, especially the ""hateful coldly perfidious monster"" Countess Platen who precipitated the lovers' ruin. By comparison Ruth Jordan's merely sentimental Sophia Dorothea (p. 45) shines as a monument of scholarly objectivity.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1972
Publisher: American Heritage