THE DUCHESS OF DINO by Philip Ziegler


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France's Dorothea of fourland was a 19th century femme fatale; ambitious and arrogant, always suspicious and sometimes spiteful, proud and passionate, it was her dream to govern a man of distinction: through her uncle, the redoubtable Talleyrand, that dream came true. Her biographer, Philip Ziegler, in this the first English account, is straight forward, sympathetic and sensible- all too sensible, in fact; for given the Garboesque scenario, which her mal de amours prove to be, one would have wished a more striking portrait, certainly a more sparkling style. Her Emilesque education, her unhappy marriage, her subsequent liaisons, her feuds, flirtations, fancies, the 1848 catastrophies, the drawing rooms or embassies of Paris, London and Berlin, the Napoleonic intrigues, the Vienna Congress, and above all her 20 year ""supreme"" ministering to Talleyrand these fill out the social, political and emotional trappings. Finally, of the great statesman's alleged seduction, fathering his niece's last child, short shrift is made: ""not the slightest evidence"", says Ziegler. A pity. That's clearly the most interesting issue involved!

Pub Date: Jan. 13th, 1962
Publisher: John Day