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Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire (1998)

by Amanda Foreman

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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2,714644,074 (3.78)107
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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» See also 107 mentions

English (63)  Italian (1)  All languages (64)
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
So many extremes in the life of this woman at 20 y.o.: ultra rich, ultra fashionable, at the top of the aristocracy. Despite this background the Duchess could have been a nonentity like her husband but she was both outgoing and drew people to her throughout her life. I can see why the author was ensorceled and had to change dissertation topics once Georgiana made an impression. I enjoyed this as a visit to the late 18th century. The extreme gambling habits seem exotic, and Georgiana's losses snowballed (her own fault mostly) and haunted her for decades.

The writing made the political wrangling understandable and for the most part kept the cavalcade of characters distinct. The warm feeling of the author for Georgiana does not take over or keep her from showing real mistakes and faults. ( )
  Je9 | Aug 10, 2021 |
I enjoyed it but way too much on politics which really isn't my thing. She was a truly fascinating person and the writing of Amanda Foreman is very good. I have seen the movie and the book is far better. ( )
  ChrisCaz | Feb 23, 2021 |
Georgiana Spencer was the great-great-great-great-aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales, and achieved almost as much celebrity in England during the late eighteenth century. She was catapulted to fabulous wealth and fame after she married William Cavendish, fifth Duke of Devonshire, and this biography tells not only her story but also the story of the 1% during Jane Austen’s time.

I was surprised at the prevalence of what I had previously thought of as mostly modern problems, such as drug abuse and gambling addictions (Georgiana suffered from both). There was also plenty of political partisanship and animosity to go around, and Georgiana became politically active, founding one of the most important political salons of her time and canvassing for her favored candidates.

The book draws on numerous primary sources and extensive archival research, which is unsurprising given that Foreman’s dissertation was on Georgiana’s life and times. There was refreshingly little speculation, and I am also glad that Foreman did not fall into the trap of writing revisionary history according to the latest academic fashion.
( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
Georgiana Spencer was the great-great-great-great-aunt of Diana, Princess of Wales, and achieved almost as much celebrity in England during the late eighteenth century. She was catapulted to fabulous wealth and fame after she married William Cavendish, fifth Duke of Devonshire, and this biography tells not only her story but also the story of the 1% during Jane Austen’s time.

I was surprised at the prevalence of what I had previously thought of as mostly modern problems, such as drug abuse and gambling addictions (Georgiana suffered from both). There was also plenty of political partisanship and animosity to go around, and Georgiana became politically active, founding one of the most important political salons of her time and canvassing for her favored candidates.

The book draws on numerous primary sources and extensive archival research, which is unsurprising given that Foreman’s dissertation was on Georgiana’s life and times. There was refreshingly little speculation, and I am also glad that Foreman did not fall into the trap of writing revisionary history according to the latest academic fashion.
( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
Could not finish ( )
  LindaCarmon | Mar 19, 2020 |
Showing 1-5 of 63 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (7 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Amanda Foremanprimary authorall editionscalculated
Halitzer, WendyCover designersecondary authorsome 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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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.

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