The Last of the Duchess (Paperback)

The Last of the Duchess Cover Image
By Caroline Blackwood, James Fox (Introduction by)
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In 1980, Lady Caroline Blackwood was commissioned by "The Sunday Times" to write an article on the aging Duchess of Windsor, who was said to be convalescing in her French mansion in the Bois de Boulogne. Yet what began as a curiosity was to become for Blackwood one of the most challenging experiences of her writing career, launching her into a battle of wits with the Duchess's formidable lawyer, Maitre Suzanne Blum.
Maitre Blum refused to let Blackwood near the Duchess, spinning elaborate excuses as to why she was unavailable and threatening anyone who dared suggest that she was in anything other than the best of health. Still, while Blum's machinations restricted Blackwood's ability to publish a frank interview, it only served to pique her interest in the bizarre relationship between the infamous Duchess a woman who once inspired a king to abdicate his crown and her eccentric, domineering gatekeeper. Sixteen years later, Blackwood turned her experiences into this riveting and excoriating modern classic about the frailties of old age, the foibles of society, and the dual-edged nature of celebrity.

About the Author

Caroline Blackwood est nee a Londres en 1931 dans une riche famille aristocratique anglo-irlandaise (elle est une heritiere Guinness par sa mere). A 19 ans, elle rencontre Lucian Freud avec qui elle s'installe un temps a Paris. En 1953, ils retournent vivre a Londres ou ils se marient. Elle frequente differents cercles d'artistes et ecrit pour des revues (Encounter, London Magazine). Apres avoir quitte Lucian Freud, elle part pour New York et Hollywood ou elle tourne dans plusieurs films. Elle epouse alors le pianiste americain d'origine polonaise Israel Citkowitz, qui lui donne trois enfants. De retour a Londres, Caroline Blackwood rencontre Robert Lowell, deja reconnu comme un des plus grands poetes du XXe siecle aux Etats-Unis. En 1970, ce dernier quitte l'ecrivain Elizabeth Hardwick pour epouser sa nouvelle muse. Leur relation passionnelle est bouleversee par les tendances maniaco-depressives de Robert Lowell. Il retourne a New York ou il meurt dans un taxi alors qu'il allait rejoindre son ex-epouse, un portrait de Caroline peint par Lucian Freud serre dans ses bras. Caroline retourne aux Etats-Unis en 1987. Elle continue d'ecrire, activite qu'elle a poursuivie tout au long de sa vie, publiant une dizaine de livres. Elle meurt a New York a l'age de 64 ans.

James Fox was born in Washington, D.C., in 1945. He worked as a journalist in Africa, and later at the "Sunday Times" in London. He is the author of the bestselling "White Mischief."

Praise For…

“A sharply observed (and sometimes very funny) portrait of the frivolous world of wealth and luxury inhabited by the Windsors.” —Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times 
“Beguiling. . . . Blackwood is witty, understated and perceptive.” —The Washington Post 
“The central character in The Last of the Duchess never appears at all but, like Godot in Beckett’s play, becomes more powerful by her absence. . . . Brilliant—and brilliantly entertaining—journalism.” —Chicago Tribune
“A fierce, scintillatingly funny report on a dying social circle.” —The Independent (London)

Product Details
ISBN: 9780345802637
ISBN-10: 0345802632
Publisher: Vintage Books
Publication Date: October 2nd, 2012
Pages: 295
Language: English