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Clandestine Correspondence at Court (Niklas-Cartwright lecture)

Professor Catriona Seth (Oxford)

During over 20 years Marie Antoinette exchanged notes and letters with the Imperial Ambassador to France, count Mercy. Was she a naive puppet of the Habsburgs, betraying French secrets? Is there any foundation to the accusations of political scheming made at her trial? The more than 100 letters and notes, many of them unpublished, which she wrote to the diplomat during her time in Versailles and at the Tuileries give answers to these and to many other questions. Catriona Seth was appointed to the Marshal Foch Chair at Oxford three years ago after a career spent in France. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and a membre associé of the Académie Royale de Belgique. She has worked extensively on French literature, editing Les Liaisons dangereuses and the works of Germaine de Staël for the Pléiade. She has published autobiographical texts by women along with a book-length study of inoculation and an intellectual biography of the poet Parny.

Event details

French Studies, History, Women's Studies, letter writing


Queens Building LT1