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Just Sceaux Stories

Angelica Goodden, 23 February 1995

Madame du Deffand and Her World 
by Benedetta Craveri, translated by Teresa Waugh.
Halban, 481 pp., £20, November 1994, 1 870015 51 7
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Lettres à Voltaire 
by Madame du Deffand, edited by Chantal Thomas.
Rivages, 215 pp., frs 55, October 1994, 2 86930 839 6
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... It is as well to establish at the outset what Madame du Deffand was not. She was not, whatever the publisher of Benedetta Craveri’s book may claim, a woman who ‘approached love and sex with a frankness centuries ahead of her time’: her time was the 18th-century Regency, which took a casual view of fidelity, and the hedonistic age of Louis XV. She died in the reign of Louis XVI, a couple of years ahead of the publication of Laclos’s Les Liaisons dangereuses, which may be read as, among other things, an exposé of the immorality of the Ancien Régime ...

Royals in Oils

Peter Campbell, 13 November 1997

The Sweetness of Life: A Biography of Elizabeth Louise Vigée Le Brun 
by Angelica Goodden.
Deutsch, 384 pp., £19.99, June 1997, 0 233 99021 6
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... Stroganova (the Countess had lent Vigée Le Brun a house in Moscow) is perfect, showing, in Angelica Goodden’s words, ‘a warm and seductive romanticism’. Mrs William Chinnery is, by comparison, a little bland. Vigée Le Brun was at her best with romantic young girls and attractive men. The sublime was beyond her register: it is hard to take ...

Even Purer than Before

Rosemary Hill: Angelica Kauffman, 15 December 2005

Miss Angel: The Art and World of Angelica Kauffman 
by Angelica Goodden.
Pimlico, 389 pp., £17.99, September 2005, 1 84413 758 9
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... She too is fair, her pink and white complexion carefully shaded from the afternoon sun. Painted by Angelica Kauffman in Naples and Rome in 1785 and 1786, this is a picture of refined innocence: a picture, but not in the truest sense a portrait. Elizabeth Foster was a beauty, but a notorious one. She had come to Italy to conceal an inconvenient pregnancy and ...

The Amazing Mrs Charke

David Nokes, 1 June 1989

The Well-Known Troublemaker: A Life of Charlotte Charke 
by Fidelis Morgan.
Faber, 231 pp., £19.95, November 1988, 0 571 14743 7
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The Ladies: Female Patronage of Restoration Drama 
by David Roberts.
Oxford, 188 pp., £22.50, February 1989, 0 19 811743 4
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The Complete Lover: Eros, Nature and Artifice in the 18th-Century French Novel 
by Angelica Goodden.
Oxford, 329 pp., £32.50, January 1989, 0 19 815820 3
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... more penetrating analysis of the mechanisms of the discriminating sensibility is contained in Angelica Goodden’s book The Complete Lover. This study of ‘Eros, Nature and Artifice’ in French 18th-century literature concentrates on the presentation of the passions as a series of virtuoso exercises. In La Jouissance de Soi-Même ...

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