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The Queen's Necklace

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Wikipedia article

'The Queen's Necklace' is a novel by Alexandre Dumas that was published in 1849 and 1850 (immediately following the French Revolution of 1848). It is loosely based on the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, an episode involving fraud and royal scandal that made headlines at the court of Louis XVI in the 1780s.

The Novel

The novel first appeared in serialised form in La Presse. The story takes place between 1784 and 1785.

This novel presents an idealized portrait of Queen Marie Antoinette, but it also shows the decadence of the nobility of the time, with its ending seeming to suggest the "beginning of the end" of the nobility.


The first chapters of the novel, which feature a dinner hosted by the old Marshal of Richelieu, were inspired by a text by Jean-Franois de La Harpe called 'The Prophecy of Cazotte'.[http://www.miscellanees.com/l/laharpe.htm 'La Prophtie de Cazotte'] In this passage, the Count of Cagliostro predicts the various guests (Laprouse, the Countess of Barry, Condorcet and Gustav III of Sweden, the count of Haga), the tragic end that awaits them, and the execution of Louis XVI. This foreshadowing throws light on the tragic plot, as the reader already knows that the efforts of the protagonists, including the queen, to prove their innocence is doomed to failure.

* Mme Campan, Memoirs of the Private Life of Marie Antoinette, Baldwin, 1823.


The plot of the novel was fully or partially included in adaptations for film and television, which also drew on the historical facts:

*'Le Collier de la reine', a short, silent film, directed by Etienne Arnaud and Louis Feuillade, released in 1909;

*'Le Collier de la reine', directed by Tony Lekain and Gaston Ravel, released in 1929;

*'LAffaire du collier de la reine', directed by Marcel L'Herbier, released in 1946;

*'The Affair of the Necklace', directed by Charles Shyer, released in 2001, whose plot follows that of the Affair of the Diamond Necklace, but whose elements have been drawn from the novel by Alexandre Dumas.


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