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Scandalous Society: Passion and Celebrity in…

Scandalous Society: Passion and Celebrity in the Nineteenth Century

by Nicholas Foulkes

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Sub-titled "the scandalous life and escapades of Count Dorsay" you might be excused for thinking this is an expose of aristocratic life. In fact I was left wondering just what it was that could be called scandalous in a modern context although I suppose a french aristocrat being squired around the grand tour by an apparently bisexual irish lord and his wife would have raised an eyebrow or two way back then. This is a surprisingly interesting, true tale about life at the top of the money chain, set against the context of the revolutions of 1815 and 1848. It's also a moral tale: in the end, Lord Blessington the Irishman dies, his wife is trapped by the bailiffs and Count dorsay escapes to france in penury. Even then money didn't necessarily buy you everything, but it sounded like fun trying to make it so. ( )
  broughtonhouse | Oct 22, 2008 |
A biography of Count Alfred d'Orsay, a dandy, soldier and celebrity in Nineteenth Century Britain and France. It's an interesting read for anyone interested in the Regency to Victorian period.
Count d'Orsay met with most of the great names of the time, Dickens, Thackery, Byron and many others, and drew them.
The book is interesting but irritatingly does not provide translations of the french quotes, and although I do understand them in a general way I'm sure there's implications I missed with not having an in depth knowledge of french. It follows Count d'Orsay's life from birth to death and sometimes doesn't get as in depth as you'd perhaps like. His life was tinged with scandal as he was closely linked to both Lord and Lady Blessinton, possibly sexually close. A few more illustrations of period dress would have been useful. The Bibliography is extensive and it's well indexed.
Nick Foulkes is quite nasty about the Irish of the period and also has a tendency to be a bit judgemental about manners and mores of the time. ( )
  wyvernfriend | Jan 20, 2006 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312272561, Hardcover)

From his first appearance in London in 1821 until his death in Paris in 1852, Count D'Orsay dominated and scandalized the whole of European society. For three decades he was the ultimate arbiter in matters of taste and style -- what D'Orsay wore today, society would wear tomorrow.

He also enthralled Society with the thirty-year soap opera of his relationship with Lady Blessington,whose daughter he married and with whose husband he was supected of having had an affair. Bisexual, flamboyant and outrageous, D'Orsay was said to have ruined the cream of British aristocracy. He toured Europe on an enormous spending spree; paid homage to a dying Lord Byron in Italy, set up a racing course in Notting Hill and a gambling den in St James's.

Nick Foulkes' vivid biography of an astonishingly flamboyant figure is also the dazzling portrait of an era.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:50 -0400)

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