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Twilight Approaches

David A. Bell: Salon Life in France

11 May 2006
The Age of Conversation 
by Benedetta Craveri, translated by Teresa Waugh.
NYRB, 488 pp., £17.99, October 2005, 1 59017 141 1
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... beauty.’ All that is lacking are tenderly heaving bosoms and a hero’s stern, noble brow (Teresa Waugh, the book’s translator, is not to blame here – the prose is just as purple in the original). Despite these problems, Craveri sketches vivid portraits of individual salons and salonnières. She starts with Madame de Rambouillet and the select ...
18 April 1985
Napoleon: The Myth of the Saviour 
by Jean Tulard, translated by Teresa Waugh.
Weidenfeld, 470 pp., £14.95, June 1984, 0 297 78439 0
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Alexis: Tsar of All the Russias 
by Philip Longworth.
Secker, 319 pp., £15, June 1984, 0 436 25688 6
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... biography is less perceptive and convincing than the one Felix Markham published back in 1963. Teresa Waugh’s translation is uneven but improves as it goes along; whoever was responsible for the final proof-reading should be sent back in time and made to march on Moscow. Philip Longworth’s elegant account of Alexis Romanov, Tsar of Russia from ...

Nation of Mutes

Tony Wood: Marquis de Custine

24 August 2000
A Taste for Freedom: The Life of Astolphe de Custine 
by Anka Muhlstein, translated by Teresa Waugh.
Helen Marx, 393 pp., $16.95, November 1999, 1 885983 41 7
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... The Marquis de Custine is best known for La Russie en 1839, an eloquent account of his travels across European Russia and of the horrors and absurdities of the Russian autocracy. Born in 1790, Custine lost his grandfather at the age of three and, a year later, his father: both were executed during the Jacobin Terror, although both had been sympathetic to the Revolution ...

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 ...
4 December 1980
The Letters of Evelyn Waugh 
edited by Mark Amory.
Weidenfeld, 664 pp., £14.95, September 1980, 0 297 77657 6
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... The external paraphernalia of Evelyn Waugh included check suits, an ear-trumpet, a watch-chain, cigars, unfashionable Victorian paintings, a large family and a West Country manor house. To those interested by what lay behind these characteristically English defences, this selection of his letters may come as a disappointment ...
7 January 1993
Fitzroy Maclean 
by Frank McLynn.
Murray, 413 pp., £25, October 1992, 9780719549717
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Franz Joseph 
by Jean-Paul Bled, translated by Teresa Bridgeman.
Blackwell, 359 pp., £45, September 1992, 0 631 16778 1
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... invariably wise. Less wise was his bid for publicity by importing Randolph Churchill and Evelyn Waugh, thus making it possible for Waugh to write a silly book about the war instead of a funny one. Yet who knows? The Partisans thought Randolph’s coming a welcome proof of Winston’s commitment to their cause, while ...

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