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Lillie Langtry: Manners, Masks and Morals by [Beatty, Laura]
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Lillie Langtry: Manners, Masks and Morals Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Length: 352 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Amazon Review

Just the name evokes images of scandal, gossip and decadent beauty. Emily Le Breton was born on Jersey in 1853, the sixth child of the Dean of St Heliers. By the age of 24 she was Lillie Langtry, one of the best-known women in England, whose postcard was sold in every town. The lover of the Prince of Wales (among others), adored by Oscar Wilde, and painted by Millais, she could only fall from grace.

Laura Beatty's imaginative biography concentrates on the tight band of years that cover her ascendancy. 1877 was her annus mirabilis; her entry to London society, after months of waiting to be discovered, was dazzling, and the hordes of journalists and artists that descended termed her variously the Jersey Lily, Venus Annodomini, the modern Helen. What was a girl to do? In her trademark black dress she sat for the painters, simpered for society, and pondered her future. Beatty deals passionately with this time of quandary, as Lillie considers a woman already irrevocably scarred by the public's attentions, resulting in the mix of insecurity and self-confidence necessary for her subsequent career on the stage. Lillie ended her life in comparative calm, successful in business, with, ironically, the companionship of a woman after so many years in the company of increasingly dissolute men.

Lillie Langtry was a beautiful, haunted woman, who became a moderate, if hardworking, actress. Importantly, she survived. By the end of this sympathetic and thoughtful book one is left wondering what she might have achieved had she not been blessed, or cursed, with such a pretty face. --David Vincent

Review

"The most original and penetrating book on Mrs. Langtry that has been written... fresh and revealing." - "Literary Review""Beatty writes with wit and gusto--The tone of her book - racy, sharp-witted and elegantly aphoristic - is nicely appropriate to its subject matter." - "Sunday Times"

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 2002 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Digital; New edition edition (31 Jan. 2012)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006X0M0QS
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #192,519 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Top customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
I enjoyed this book immensely. Having set out to write a 'life', rather than a straight-forward 'biography', Beatty succeeds brilliantly in probing to the heart of the beautiful, driven and enigmatic woman at the centre of her story. Langtry's origins in provincial Jersey and her miserable marriage to a feckless drunkard are explored in some depth, helping the reader to understand why she subsequently dedicated herself so whole-heartedly to the pursuit of wealth and celebrity. Beatty has a great 'feel' for her period and her descriptions of London Society in the 1870s are wonderfully evocative.

The first two-thirds of Beatty's book proceed at a languid pace, taking us through no more than the first thirty years or so of Langtry's life. The style, although highly individual, is polished and elegant and Beatty's thoughtful asides really serve to draw the reader into the life of her subject. If I have one complaint, it is that Langtry's later years, from the turn-of-the-century until her death in 1929, are dealt with in a mere handful of pages - a slightly anti-climatic end to a fascinating story. But this is really the only 'charge' I can bring against such a beautifully written, psychologically penetrating and thought-provoking book.
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Format: Hardcover
This book adds a lot to Lillie Langtry's life story that has been missed or glossed over in previous biographies. You finally get to see inside the woman.
She was the equivilent to a supermodel in her day, and her life appeared one of unparalled success. She succeded where no 'lady' should. However, this all came at a price, and if nothing else this book proves that looks can be deciving, especially for actors.
Lillie gained emense wealth in her liftime, but it all came at a terrible cost, and you wonder in the end if it really made her happy. Somehow I doubt it.
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Format: Hardcover
An evocative but often sad story of a gloriously beautiful Victorian woman who was, in some ways, ahead of her time. With the resourcefulness, courage and strength of character she possessed, not to mention her ability to be outrageously outspoken at times, she would have not been out of place in the late 20th century. However, as she also had great charm and impeccable manners, perhaps not. I found the references to her time at Portelet, on her home island of Jersey quite moving, especially the fact that the author feels it is the location in which you can most feel her presence. Having read other books on Lillie's life story I found this one to have more in-depth analysis of her character than ever before. A wonderful read with one or two surprise facts. Highly recommended.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is an ideal read for those with an interest in the C19th. The book not only tells of the life of one of the Prince of Wales most famous mistresses (& he had many), but describes beautifully the lives of the 'idle rich'. One wonders after reading this how England managed to survive a revolution unlike France who's rich behaved in much the same manner. A brilliant read.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this well researched and interesting book . I wanted to read this as I have recently enjoyed watching the 70s series being rerun on Encore tv.channel. I have previously read a biography of Lillie Langtry, The Prince and the Lily and this was just as interesting
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