Thursday, January 30, 2014

My Past by Countess Marie Larisch

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★
Obtained from: Personal Library
Read: January 29, 2014

The personal reminiscences of life in the courts of Austria and Bavaria, together with the 'true' story of the events leading up to the tragic death of Rudolph, Crown Prince of Austria by his cousin, Countess Marie Countess Marie Louise Larisch-Wallersee.

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Ostracized by the royal court and bitter at having to bear the burden of responsibility for the deaths of Crown Prince Rudolf and Baroness Marie Vetsera, Countess Marie Larisch is a woman with a grudge. Chock-full of venom, her memoirs are positivity brimming with antipathy and thus cannot be trusted as a truly objective source of information. 

Trading largely in contemporary gossip, Larisch isn't interested in promoting truth so much as her own self-importance and ultimate innocence in the tragedy with which she is associated. Utilizing her work as a platform to air her grievances, she also goes to great lengths to discredit those whom she holds responsible for her subsequent social downfall, characterizing Crown Prince Rudolf as a wolfishly immoral schemer and the Empress Elizabeth as vain and insecure adulteress.

All things considered, I think one would be exceeding naive to take Larch’s vague, unsubstantiated, and often contradictory explanations at face value, but that being said, My Past presents a fascinating psychological portrait of Larisch and affords an intriguing firsthand account of her duplicitous nature and less than sparkling personality.

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"Do the Emperor and Empress realise that I have been treated shamefully? I have been the cat's paw in this affair. I've been deceived throughout..."
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