A King's Ransom (inbunden)
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Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.
8 bw illustrations
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A King's Ransom (inbunden)

A King's Ransom

The Life of Charles Theveneau de Morande, Blackmailer, Scandalmonger & Master-Spy

Inbunden,  Engelska, 2010-03-03

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If Charles Theveneau de Morande was a character in a novel, he would be considered the ultimate anti-hero. He has variously been described as 'the incarnation of an eighteenth-century rogue', 'a minor prince among blackmailers', and 'a man so cunning that he outwitted Figaro himself.' Morande (1741-1805) was notorious among his contemporaries for successfully blackmailing Louis XV and his mistress Madame Du Barry, and inspiring a veritable extortion industry to develop in London. To historians he is even better known as and archetypical 'Grub Street' hack and the author of the Gazetier cuirasse. However, Morande's historical significance far transcends his success as a blackmailer and scandalous pamphleteer. For, having extorted the monarchy, he turned coat and during the War of American Independence and throughout the 1780s was France's leading political spy in London. In addition, he was a highly successful police agent among his fellow exiles and one of the most influential journalists of his time. Morande's life story is a tale of intrigue, blackmail, espionage, duels, kidnap, murder, politics, conspiracy and crime. At the same time, it offers a chance to examine some of the most important issues of French history and revolution.
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Recensioner i media

[Morande's] life reads like the script of a film, but in this minutely researched and well-written book the author uses his extraordinary life to demonstrate the scope and importance of the world-changing events Morande lived through and chronicled. -- Good Book Guide Morande's career [is] finely illuminated in Simon Burrows's biography -- Colin Jones, New York Review of Books Good review in Standpoint. -- Standpoint [An] excellent resurrection of Morande ... pacily written with a delicious sense of absurdity -- Literary Review Simon Burrows, in the first attempt to reconstruct [Morande's] shadowy life since 1886, pursues him relentlessly through print and archive and the mists of obfuscation that were his natural habitat, and produces a fascinating portrait of a paradoxical man who lived by his poisonous pen. -- Times Literary Supplement ... Burrows' lively, authoritative, and comprehensive narrative will make the compelling story more widely available... In [his] exemplary biography of Morande, libertine morality and political liberalism are situated uncomfortably, but convincingly side by side. -- European History Quarterly, Vol. 41 No. 4 A King's Ransom helps us understand how a corrupt and self-serving individual such as Morande came to be both a valued agent of the French monarchy and a contributor to the development of modern journalism in the years prior to 1789. -- English Historical Review, vol. CXXVI, no 523 A King's Ransom is meticulously researched: the collections of all of the pertinent major and even minor libraries and archives have been examined along with primary and secondary sources. It has been over a century and a quarter since the last biography of Theveneau de Morande was written. After Simon Burrows' definitive work, future scholars will not need another. One final comment about presentation is in order: this book is refreshingly free of typographical errors (I counted only four). At a time when publishers have become more and more dependent on computers and their spelling checkers, it is evident that the editors and the author reviewed the manuscript thoroughly before publication. -- H-France Review Vol. 11 After reading the biography, one could argue that if Morande had not existed, he would have been a very unlikely creation in fiction, but Simon Burrows has produced a readable work on him that it is doubtful it will need a new biographical revision for some time to come. -- Alan Marshall, Bath Spa University * French History, vol 26, no 3 *

Övrig information

Simon Burrows is Professor of Modern European History at the University of Leeds. He is the author of Blackmail, Scandal, and Revolution: London's French Libellistes, 1758-1792 (MUP), and co-editor of Press, Politics and the Public Sphere in Europe and North America, 1760-1820 (CUP) with Hannah Barker.


Introduction; Crimes of Youth; The Armour-Plated Gazeteer; A King's Ransom; Figaro's Nemesis; On His Majesty's Secret Service; Poacher turned Gamekeeper; The First Revolutionary Journalist?; Morande in History; Bibliography; Index.