HORTENSE de BEAUHARNAIS

DAUGHTER OF AN EMPRESS
QUEEN OF HOLLAND
MOTHER OF AN EMPEROR

zaterdag 13 december 2014

‘Ambition and Desire: The Dangerous Life of Josephine Bonaparte,’ by Kate Williams



This year marks the bicentennial of the death of Josephine Bonaparte, but Napoleon’s empress has been having a moment for some time now. In the past two decades, she has starred in at least 20 new biographies, six museum exhibitions and six novels. Three editions of her correspondence have also appeared during this time, as have many more studies (of Napoleon and other Bonapartes) in which she features. The latest addition to this corpus is “Ambition and Desire: The Dangerous Life of Josephine Bonaparte,” by Kate Williams, a biographer of Queen Victoria and Emma Hamilton. Beyond her appreciation for “flawed, vulnerable, engaging, powerful” women, Williams does not seem to have a compelling reason to tell this story. In the absence of new material or a new approach, she offers a breathless paean to the woman who, while “no great beauty,” could with “one twitch of her skirt . . . enthrall the man who terrorized Europe.” Read more: review/ambition-and-desire-the-dangerous-life-of-josephine-bonaparte-by-kate-williams

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