Even in this modern age, the allure of royalty still manages to hold some mystique. While much of our fawning and fandom now falls to the celebrities of stage and screen (and their incredibly sordid lives), the fascination with the ancient human institution of monarchy continues to find favor amongst our thoughts. Recent years have given much limelight to the British sovereigns in particular, but history is full of intriguing figureheads – many of whom lived lives of a juicy caliber to make even the naughtiest monarch melodramas seem like child’s play (I mean, really, when’s the last time anybody lost a head up in here?). Ditch hunting for those latest paparazzi pics of the Princess and dial the focus back a few hundred: join author Robert Massie this upcoming Thursday, September 27th, at 7pm as he presents his new book, Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman, at the Louisville Free Public Library’s Main branch.
The most renowned and longest-ruling female leader in Russian history, Catherine the Great ushered in the Golden Age of the Russian Empire during the 18th century. A woman of both power and wit, Catherine swelled the borders of Russian rule while also encouraging the principles of the Enlightenment into widespread favor. Considered an Enlightened Despot, the details of Catherine’s life story – from coup d’etat to her love of Voltaire – make for intriguing fodder as award-winning author Robert Massie depicts the Empress in the book, Catherine the Great: Portrait of a Woman.
Adding to his repertoire of Russian royalty, Catherine the Great joins Massie’s other explorations into the history of the Russian monarchy, including the titles Peter the Great, Nicholas and Alexandra and The Romanovs (Anastasia conspiracies, anyone?). A Pulitzer Prize winner himself, Massie studied both American and European history at Yale and Oxford, going on to write for both Newsweek and the Saturday Evening Post. A former President of the Author’s Guild, Massie is also known for his famous call to boycott any store refusing to carry Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses (which every single last one of you should start reading. Like, right now.)
Prince Harry’s Vegas hoopla not hot enough to turn your head? Turn it back a bit further on the timeline and join this great historian for some truly captivating royal shenanigans. Check out Robert Massie this upcoming week at the Library for a look at Catherine the Great – and don’t forget to look up Rushdie while you wait.
The Louisville Free Public Library’s Main branch is located on 301 York Street.
Image: Courtesy of the Louisville Free Public Library’s website www.lfpl.org