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Madame Tussaud: A Life in Wax


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About the Author

Kate Berridge is the author of Vigor Mortis and has contributed to Vogue, the Spectator, the Sunday Times, and Town & Country, among other publications. She lives in London, England.


Before photography, TV, or film came Madame Tussaud. Her waxworks allowed French and English citizens to gaze upon the personalities of their age. Born Marie Rosholz in Strasbourg, France, in 1771, Tussaud learned her craft from the indomitable showman Philippe Curtius. She mingled with the elite of France before the eruption of the revolution and, at the height of that period of brutal repression known as the Reign of Terror (1793-94), she re-created the heads of such guillotined luminaries as Louis XVI and Robespierre. By the time of her death in 1850, her waxworks, moved to London's Baker Street, had become an institution. Freelance writer Berridge (Vigor Mortis) evokes the struggles of this singular female entrepreneur during an era when a woman's place was at the hearth. She does an exemplary job of capturing the temper of those times and placing Tussaud within the context of European popular culture. In fact, those contextual dimensions make this biography a worthy purchase for public or academic libraries, even those that already own Pamela Pilbeam's competent Madame Tussaud and the History of Waxworks.-Jim Doyle, Sara Hightower Regional Lib., Rome, GA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

"An interesting look at how the instability of the French Revolution helped spawn a profitable enterprise."--Miami Herald
"Vigor Mortis glitters with ideas and insights."--The Guardian (London) for Vigor Mortis
"an exemplary job of capturing the temper of the times and placing Tussaud within the context of European popular culture."--Library Journal
"Brilliantly odd and sympathetically clever."--The Spectator for Vigor Mortis
"Full of fascinating and unexpectedly lively stuff."--New Statesman for Vigor Mortis

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