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Archive for the ‘Books & Films’ Category

Charles Perrault

Monsieur Perrault and his fairy tales

You seem to have enjoyed my Halloween Cinderella, which, added to my own inclination to do so, is reason enough to dedicate a series of posts to Perrault’s fairytales. But first we should meet the author. Charles Perrault was born in Paris in 1628 into a family of wealthy bourgeois. As befitted his status, he […]

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Gustave Dore Cinderella

Perrault’s Cendrillon

About an excerpt of Charles Perrault’s Cendrillon, illustrated here by Gustave Doré? You know the story, of course. Cendrillon, morally abandoned by her father and treated as a servant by her stepmother, is crying her eyes out at home. Her stepsisters, in their best finery, are gone to the Prince’s ball. But Cendrillon’s godmother appears […]

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Edith Wharton

Edith Wharton’s Paris, and The Age of Innocence

Edith Wharton must be the most French of American writers. Not only did she live in France and use it as a setting for her novels, she understood the country. Have you seen this piece by Elaine Sciolino in the New York Times? Make sure you don’t miss the slide show, though I wish the […]

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Sheramy Bundrick

Interview of Sheramy Bundrick, author of Sunflowers

Sheramy, welcome back to Versailles and more, and thank you for your beautiful guest post on Van Gogh’s Montmartre. Thank you for having me! In your acknowledgments, you recount how Sunflowers began with a walk at Auvers-sur-Oise, where Van Gogh lived and died. Then you have a separate note about places: not only Auvers, but […]

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For the King Catherine Delors

For The King: the cover

The last version of For The King was indeed the final one. We are down to the copy edits of the manuscript. All on track for the summer of of 2010. Now, on to the cover! We looked at many paintings from the late 18th and early 19th centuries, but nothing seemed to work. Most […]

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The Reader poster

Film review: The Reader (2008)

Be warned: I am in the minority here. This film was well received, and in particular it earned Kate Winslet an Academy Award, a Golden Globe and a BAFTA for Best Actress. So when I saw it on the movie menu of my flight to the HNS Conference last June, I decided to go for […]

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Madame de Maintenon

A new biography of Madame de Maintenon, by Veronica Buckley

New in the United States, that is, because it was published last year in the UK. I saw this review in the New York Times. What the NYT reviewer does not mention is that Ms. Buckley’s book had created quite a stir, in that it cited as a prominent source the Secret Diary of Louis […]

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Inglourious Basterds Quentin Tarentino

Film review: Inglourious Basterds

The stated goal of Mr. Tarentino, the director, was to make a spaghetti western. I know too little about that subgenre to assess the success of this film in this regard. Inglourious Basterds could certainly be called many other things. A war thriller, for instance, though it does not really work as such because it is […]

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The Red Violin

The Red Violin (1998)

I wrote this review last year for a music-themed issue of Historical Novels Review, the magazine of the Historical Novel Society. Many thanks to the editors for allowing me to reproduce this piece here. When I heard that the editors of Historical Novels Review wanted a review of a music-themed historical film, The Red Violin immediately […]

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Marie Therese of Spain Queen of France

Versailles: The Dream of a King (BBC version)

Here is a link to this program (available only from the UK.) I just watched it and found it very different from the French original. First the emphasis here is not on the palace itself, but on the character of Louis XIV. Also the dramatization is constantly interrupted by various popular British historians. The result […]

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