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Book Title: The Queen's Necklace|
The author of the book: Antal Szerb
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Loaded: 1219 times
Reader ratings: 3.5
Edition: Pushkin Press
Date of issue: April 1st 2010
ISBN 13: 9781906548087
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 691 KB
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This book revisits the story of Marie Antoinette’s necklace in order to present a portrait of the age. In August 1785, Paris buzzed with a scandal that had everything - an eminent churchman, a female fraudster, a part-time prostitute and the hated Queen herself. Its centerpiece was the most expensive diamond necklace ever assembled, and the tangle of fraud, folly, blindness and self-delusion it provoked. The humiliation the affair brought on the royal family contributed to their appalling deaths in the Revolution just four years later.
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Read information about the authorSzerb was born in 1901 to assimilated Jewish parents in Budapest, but baptized Catholic. He studied Hungarian, German and later English, obtaining a doctorate in 1924. From 1924 to 1929 he lived in France and Italy, also spending a year in London, England.
As a student he published essays on Georg Trakl and Stefan George, and quickly established a formidable reputation as a scholar, writing erudite studies of William Blake and Henrik Ibsen among other works. Elected President of the Hungarian Literary Academy in 1933 - aged just 32 -, he published his first novel, The Pendragon Legend (which draws upon his personal experience of living in Britain) the following year. His second and best-known work, Utas és holdvilág, known in English as Journey by Moonlight, came out in 1937. He was made a Professor of Literature at the University of Szeged the same year. He was twice awarded the Baumgarten Prize, in 1935 and 1937.
In 1941 he published a History of World Literature which continues to be authoritative today. He also published a volume on novel theory and a book about the history of Hungarian literature. Given numerous chances to escape antisemitic persecution (as late as 1944), he chose to remain in Hungary, where his last novel, a Pirandellian fantasy about a king staging a coup against himself, then having to impersonate himself, Oliver VII, was published in 1942. It was passed off as a translation from the English, as no 'Jewish' work could have been printed at the time.
Szerb was deported to a concentration camp late in 1944, and was beaten to death there in January 1945, at the age of 43. He was survived by his wife, Klára Bálint, who died in 1992.
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