Year Published: 2006 (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd)
Year Purchased: 2010
Source: A gift from my lovely Momma.
About: Even though an autobiography exists under her name, there is so much about Madame Tussaud’s life that has been lost to time. A lot of the information that remains is untrustworthy or muddled. This only adds to the burden carried by any biographer. Kate Berridge’s account is better than expected yet still suffers in spots from lack of original source material. Fortunately, she almost makes up for that deficiency by her unusual approach of treating her subject as a historian, instead of merely as an artisan-impresario. By the end of the book, she succeeds in making Madame Tussaud at least as life-like as her statues-not a small feat given the circumstances.
Motivation: History + Biography + Unusual Female Subject= an irresistible trio for me. My Mother knows this!
Times Read: 1
Random Excerpt/Page 21: “The waxworks were the ideal forum to cater for a phenomenal human interest in public figures that was distinct from respect for their work. In fact cultural achievement was not necessary at all to appear there: the admission requirement was to have attained sufficient public interest to guarantee a crowd; notoriety was as compelling as admiration. From the recently executed criminal to society beauties, Curtius guaranteed a close-up view of the most talked-about people of the day. As each person had their time in the spotlight of public interest, they would take their turn in his pantheon.”