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Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda…
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Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire (original 1998; edition 2001)

by Amanda Foreman

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2,004513,349 (3.78)71
Member:wisewoman
Title:Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire
Authors:Amanda Foreman
Info:Modern Library (2001), Paperback, 512 pages
Collections:My Library
Rating:
Tags:Biography/Autobiography

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Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire by Amanda Foreman (1998)

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English (50)  Italian (1)  All languages (51)
Showing 1-5 of 50 (next | show all)
This biography of an 18th century aristocrat was beautifully written, impeccably researched, & utterly fascinating. The gamut of emotions are experienced, from laughter at some of her exploits to sympathy at her illnesses & the lack of medical expertise. Some of the "cures" were worse than the illnesses themselves.

Georgiana wasn't a perfect person by any stretch, this history outlines in staggering detail her gambling addictions, the sheer amounts of money she owed, & what it's equivalents on today's markets would be. It also outlines how important she was to the politics of her country, & that she became the "backbone" of her chosen party.

Ultimately, she was indeed a woman to be admired. I encourage anyone who is interested in history, women's studies, etc to read this.... ( )
  Lisa.Johnson.James | Apr 11, 2014 |
This is a highly readable biography of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, who lived in the second half of the 18th century. She was notable as part of one of the wealthiest families in England, the Spencers (also Princess Diana's ancestors). She was the leader of society and instrumental in setting the fashions of the day, including ridiculously big hats. She was also a force for the Whig party. She wrote poetry, studied minerals, and was, unfortunately addicted to gambling.

Things I liked about this book were the intro into Britsh politics of the time. I knew a lot about the corresponding times in America and France, but not so much about Britain. I also enjoyed all the political cartoons the author includes about Georgiana.

Unfortunately, I just couldn't really like Georgiana. Seemed like too much of a drama queen and I was really annoyed by the super wealthy people always in debt and strapped for cash.

Good book about an annoying person. ( )
1 vote japaul22 | Apr 18, 2013 |
AKA the book that The Duchess starring Keira Knightly was based on. Georgiana lived during the late Georgian and early Regency periods, so having all that Heyer under my belt makes the book that much more interesting, because I recognize people and cultural references. It was really interesting as portrait of the excesses of the lives of the Quality back then, including how many lives were ruined by gambling addiction and debt, the emergence of the popular press relating glowing praise and scathing censure of glamorous figures who became caught up in the public imagination, the position of women, etc etc.

It was especially interesting as a look at a different model of marriage - the menage a trois maintained for over 15 years between Georgia, the Duke, and Bess, in that in many ways Bess became a mistress to both the Duke and Georgia.

I think I'll see the movie, but from what I've read it takes serious liberties with just about everything from events to people's character. ( )
  shojo_a | Apr 4, 2013 |
AKA the book that The Duchess starring Keira Knightly was based on. Georgiana lived during the late Georgian and early Regency periods, so having all that Heyer under my belt makes the book that much more interesting, because I recognize people and cultural references. It was really interesting as portrait of the excesses of the lives of the Quality back then, including how many lives were ruined by gambling addiction and debt, the emergence of the popular press relating glowing praise and scathing censure of glamorous figures who became caught up in the public imagination, the position of women, etc etc.

It was especially interesting as a look at a different model of marriage - the menage a trois maintained for over 15 years between Georgia, the Duke, and Bess, in that in many ways Bess became a mistress to both the Duke and Georgia.

I think I'll see the movie, but from what I've read it takes serious liberties with just about everything from events to people's character. ( )
  shojo_a | Apr 4, 2013 |
I loved this book. I expected it to be well-written and informative, but it was so much engaging than I ever could have anticipated. It is easy to see why Amanda Formeman might have fallen a little in love with Georgiana; indeed, it is difficult to see how anyone could fail to do so. Here is a woman who was so intelligent, so vibrant and yet so flawed. What an amazing life she had. I was astonished to realise how far back the cult of celebrity actually extends - and how the cult of celebrity operated in a world without mass communication. Reading this biography has made me want to read Georgiana's own work, The Syph, as well as Fanny Burney's novels and diary and as much else as I can about the period. ( )
1 vote KimMR | Apr 2, 2013 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Amanda Foremanprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McCaddon, WandaNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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I know I was handsome...and have always been fashionable, but I do assure you," Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, wrote to her daughter at the end of her life, "our negligence and omissions have been forgiven and we have been loved, more from our being free from airs than from any other circumstance."
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375753834, Paperback)

Georgiana Spencer was, in a sense, an 18th-century It Girl. She came from one of England's richest and most landed families (the late Princess Diana was a Spencer too) and married into another. She was beautiful, sensitive, and extravagant--drugs, drink, high-profile love affairs, and even gambling counted among her favorite leisure-time activities. Nonetheless, she quickly moved from a world dominated by social parties to one focused on political parties. The duchess was an intimate of ministers and princes, and she canvassed assiduously for the Whig cause, most famously in the Westminster election of 1784. By turns she was caricatured and fawned on by the press, and she provided the inspiration for the character of Lady Teazle in Richard Sheridan's famous play The School for Scandal. But her weaknesses marked the last part of her life. By 1784, for one, Georgiana owed "many, many, many thousands," and her creditors dogged her until her death.

Biographer Amanda Foreman describes astutely the mess that surrounded the personal relationships of the aristocratic subculture (Georgiana and the duke engaged for many years in a ménage à trois with Lady Elizabeth Fraser, who inveigled her way into the duke's bed and the duchess's heart). Foreman is, by her own admission, a little in love with her subject, which can lead to occasional lapses of perspective, but generally it adds zest to a narrative built on, rather than burdened by, scholarship, that is at once accessible and learned. An impressive debut, in every sense. --David Vincent, Amazon.co.uk

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:54 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Lady Georgiana Spencer was the great-great-great-great-aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales, and was nearly as famous in her day. In 1774 Georgiana achieved immediate celebrity by marrying William Cavendish, fifth duke of Devonshire, one of England's richest and most influential aristocrats. She became the queen of fashionable society and founder of the most important political salon of her time. But Georgiana's public success concealed an unhappy marriage, a gambling addiction, drinking, drug-taking, and rampant love affairs with the leading politicians of the day. With penetrating insight, Amanda Foreman reveals a fascinating woman whose struggle against her own weaknesses, whose great beauty and flamboyance, and whose determination to play a part in the affairs of the world make her a vibrant, astonishingly contemporary figure.--From publisher description.… (more)

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