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The Great Scandalous (Philippe Valode)

The Great Scandalous of Philippe Valode are female characters who have marked History with scandals and / or acts, words, attitudes which indignant their contemporaries, especially with regard to the period during which they lived, when their actions and their positions were limited. These are women who have gone to the end of their conviction, having a fierce desire for independence and success, yet being able to go against good morals.

The "scandalous" of the Ancien Régime ...

We already know some of them like Diane de Poitiers, Anne of Austria informing Spain while saving France during the Fronde or even Marion de Lorme offering herself to the old and repulsive president of Mesme (according to Tallemant des Reaux) to obtain the release of his brother Etienne, seducing Richelieu, becoming the Queen of the Marais in Paris, and establishing the codes of “refined love”; Madame de Maintenon, born in prison, marrying Scarron to avoid the convent and ending up as tutor of the royal bastards and morganatic wife of the Sun King for 32 years.

... and the following

Others are less well known like Hortense Schneider, companion of Offenbach, nicknamed "the biggest pain in the ass" because she is capricious, angry, transforming the texts of plays to attract the attention of the public, obtaining great popularity for such. not that crowned heads will kneel down; La Castiglione, putting her great beauty at the service of Italy to seduce Napoleon III and obtain his help, knowing how to get the best of her lovers with always the same idea: to play a political role, until his downfall, ending his life alone , ugly, toothless at 62; Marie Curie came from Warsaw, starting from nothing, without a diploma, learning French in 10 months, embarking on research on radium with her husband, obtaining the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1911 for herself, causing a great scandal by becoming the mistress of Paul Langevin after the death of her husband Pierre, succeeding in installing X-ray machines to treat the sick during the war, receiving all the honors abroad, but rarely in France; Marie Marvingt born in 1875, free and emancipated, 34 decorations, 17 world sports records in all fields, speaking 7 languages, waging war dressed as a man in the 42nd battalion of hunters on foot and crossing the sound barrier at 80; or Mademoiselle Coco Chanel whose parents were simple merchants in the Cévennes, creating her first milliner salon in 1910 next to the Ritz hotel in Paris, then two years later in Deauville and Biarritz, launching "Chanel" fashion during war using Rodier jersey, with 300 employees in 1918, increasing its range by launching the first unpublished perfume, all chemical, without a floral note in 1921 until 1936 when its 4000 employees went on strike, finally getting up to create in 1955 the famous “Chanel tailor”, and died alone, abandoned at 87 years old in Paris.

Without forgetting

Madame du Barry "the sex worker" reviving the forgotten or almost unknown desires of Louis XV loving her so long as he abandons his many little mistresses; Madame Steinheil giving herself to Félix Faure so that her husband's business could survive; Colette whose husband will use her name to make a fortune in novels, making headlines with her friends at heart; the English aristocratic Mitford sisters, seduced, subjugated and almost possessed by the verve and the words of Hitler until being regularly invited to him.

Our opinion

In this really interesting book, the reader takes pleasure in discovering great independent women, all endearing ones more than the others, who by dint of work and will, have made people talk about them by succeeding in their lives, at the a time when the media hype did not exist so much. Let us remember Marie Marvingt's motto “knowing how to want is to be able”!

Les Grandes Scandaleuses, by Philippe Valode. First Histoire, January 2015.

Video: Sergei Polunin. Virtual Motion by Sensorium. (January 2022).