Fiction and Reality in the Mémoires of the Notorious Anne-Marguerite Petit Du Noyer
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It is rather difficult to form a neutral opinion of Anne-Marguerite Petit Du Noyer. From her native Nîmes in a Huguenot family, to Geneva, London, Paris, most of Europe and her final exile in The Hague, the amazing life of unique woman born during the reign of Louis XIV could easily become the subject of a film if not of a soap opera. The truth of the matter is that after reading her works and more particularly what she wrote about herself and those around her, one either admires her or dislikes her. During her career as a woman journalist she acquired a wide readership and an increasing number of enemies. Because it is sometimes nearly impossible to sort facts from fiction in her own Mémoires and in what others wrote about her, she remains, to some extent, an enigma. Like all painters of self-portraits, whether or not she was aware that she looked at herself in a warped mirror, and whether or not we find in convincing, Mme Du Noyer probably believed that the image she presented was real. Our task as readers is to reconcile this image with the other, less pleasant, that insidiously appears and grows through her work, and to prevent it from stealing the limelight from the prima donna, Anne-Marguerite Petit Du Noyer herself.