The Real Traviata: The Song of Marie Duplessis

Hardcover | October 2, 2015

byRene Weis

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The Real Traviata is the rags-to-riches story of a tragic young woman whose life inspired one of the most famous operas of all time, Verdi's masterpiece La traviata, as well as one of the most scandalous and successful French novels of the nineteenth century, La Dame aux Camelias, by AlexandreDumas fils. The woman at the centre of the story, Marie Duplessis, escaped from her life as an abused teenage girl in provincial Normandy, rising in an amazingly short space of time to the apex of fashionable life in nineteenth century Paris, where she was considered the queen of the Parisian courtesans. Herlife was painfully short, but by sheer willpower, intelligence, talent, and stunning looks she attained such prominence in the French capital that ministers of the government and even members of the French royal family fell under her spell. In the 1840s she commanded the kind of 'paparazzi' attention that today we associate only with major royalty or the biggest Hollywood stars. Aside from the younger Dumas, her conquests included a host of writers and artists, including the greatest pianist of the century, Franz Liszt, with whom sheonce hoped to elope. When she died Theophile Gautier, one of the most important Parisian writers of the day, penned an obituary fit for a princess. Indeed, he boldly claimed that she had been a princess, notwithstanding her peasant origin and her distinctly demi-monde existence. And although now largely forgotten, in the years immediately after her death, Marie's legend if anything grew in stature, with her immortalization in Verdi's La traviata, an opera in which the great Romantic composer tried to capture her essence in some of the most heart-wrenching and lyrical musicever composed.

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The Real Traviata is the rags-to-riches story of a tragic young woman whose life inspired one of the most famous operas of all time, Verdi's masterpiece La traviata, as well as one of the most scandalous and successful French novels of the nineteenth century, La Dame aux Camelias, by AlexandreDumas fils. The woman at the centre of the ...

Rene Weis is a freelance author and a professor of English at UCL. He has a written on a wide variety of subjects, including Edith Thompson (of the infamous 'Thompson and Bywaters' murder case in the 1920s), the last Cathar insurgency in the Pyrenees in the Middle Ages, and a biography of Shakespeare. As a professional Shakespearian, h...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:416 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.01 inPublished:October 2, 2015Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198708548

ISBN - 13:9780198708544

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Table of Contents

Prologue1. A weekend in the country in July 18412. A mother and daughter: 1824 - 18373. L'affaire Plantier: Exmes 18374. Working girls in Paris: 1839 -18405. A fair lady meets Pygmalion: 1840-16. The baby of a traviata: Versailles, May 18417. Stallions and flaneurs on the Boulevard des Italiens: 1841-18428. An old count in Baden-Baden: July 18429. Partying in Paris and London with Antinous: 1842-184310. A summer idyll on a bend in the river: 184311. Sin and luxury at 11 Boulevard de la Madeleine : 1844 - 184712. Alexandre Dumas fils, Lola Montez and Olympe Aguado: 1844-4513. The pianist, the baroness, and the actress: October 1845 - February 184614. A registry wedding in London: 21 February 184615. A summer sunset in the spas of Europe: 184616. Agony and death of a maiden : October 1846 - 3 February 184717. Two winter funerals in Montmartre18. Auction at 11 Boulevard de la Madeleine19. La Dame aux Camelias, by Alexandre Dumas fils: 184820. La Dame aux Camelias at the Vaudeville: February 185221. The genesis of La traviata: 1852-322. La traviata : Teatro La Fenice, Venice, 6 March 185323. When the music stopped: the triumphs of Traviata and Marie Duplessis: 1853-2013NotesIndex

Editorial Reviews

"The sad life of Marie Duplessis, a young woman fictionalized by Dumas, fils and then immortalized by Verdi, has often been told; but never with such a compelling blend of historical accuracy, cultural breadth, and simple humanity. Beautifully written, Rene Weis's book makes the story of Latraviata newly tragic." --Roger Parker, editor of The Oxford Illustrated History of Opera