In the News: Marie Antoinette Letters

October 31, 2021 at 1:47 pm (history, news) (, )


Getting out of email, I today spotted an interesting article on tests done, using the method of X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy [XRF], on LETTERS of Marie Antoinette. In looking up the “news”, though, I see an article ran in the The New York Times at the beginning of October. So a bit “old hat”.

The New York Times outpaces the article I originally saw, by including images of a redacted letter. It also includes a FASCINATING discussion of the various trials because the inks – the letter’s original AND the etched out blackened areas – were so similar. Believe me, when I say, I wish I had such at my fingertips whenever passages (and usually the “best” passages!) in crossed letters are difficult to read!

A CNN article also shows the letter in two “states” for comparison. Must admit, I’ve also seen similar redacted areas, especially in diaries. Ah, the marvel of modern science! You can also see an image of the scanner used.

Of course, the goal was to see _if_ any revelations came, concerning Count von Fersen and Queen Marie Antoinette’s relationship. Ask any Beethoven aficionado about the word BELOVED and you will at once hear of a strong emotional relationship, but not necessarily proof of sexual relations. Remember too, Marie Antoinette was Austrian – one must look at her interpretation of GELIEBTE(R), no matter the language of the Fersen letters, before jumping to conclusions.

For those interested, here is the link for the full Science Advances‘ article, “2D Macro-XRF to reveal redacted sections of French Queen Marie Antoinette Secret Correspondence….

I also will take a look a companion article, “Who Censored Marie Antoinette’s Letters?

Happy READING for what is, in my part of New England, a very grey and rainy Halloween Day.

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