THE MAZARINE LEGACY by Toivo David Rosvall


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Georges Mongredien's biography of Hortense Mancini (1952) is, for all intents and purposes, the final word on the extraordinary, and thoroughly gorgeous, woman who was the niece of Cardinal Mazarin and the reigning beauty of France during the Grand Siecle. Mr. Rosvall's book does not purport to compete with that of Mongredien, but rather to present an informal study of Hortense, the Duchess Mazarin, which would also survey the social history of that intensely social historical period. In that, the book succeeds admirably, blending the facts of daily life under the ancien regime with the romantic history of la Mancini into a sprightly and liltingly written work of popular appeal. It is perhaps to be regretted that Mr. Rosvall was not able to resist the temptation to view Hortense--essentially a tragic figure who, upon losing her lover to her daughter, killed herself--as the frothy figurine of a woman acting out a role in opera bouffe.

Pub Date: Oct. 7th, 1969
Publisher: Viking