Marie Antoinette’s Head

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The Devil Wears Prada comes to Versailles.

marie antoinette's head“An informative examination of a little-known player on a great stage. An entertaining, well-researched work…”—Kirkus Reviews

“I have nothing but praise. The book is so well researched, so well written, so totally readable that it will appeal to a very wide public.”—David Wingeate Pike, AmericanGraduateSchool of International Relations and Diplomacy, Paris

“Bashor continues to offer original perspectives on the last Bourbons and those who served them. . . . Marie Antoinette’s Head not only entertains, it conveys both the events and the character of the age.”—Reed Benhamou, PhD, Professor Emerita, IndianaUniv.

 “This is a new and riveting account, in a clear and attractive style, of significant historical events that lead to the French Revolution of 1789, as seen through the eyes of Marie Antoinette’s ambitious hairdresser.”

—Aleksandra Gruzinska, School of International Letters and Cultures, ArizonaStateUniversity

Marie Antoinette has remained atop the popular cultural landscape for centuries, mostly for the daring style and fashion she brought to 18th-century France. For the better part of the queen’s reign, one man was entrusted with making her elaborate hairstyles the talk and the envy of France. Who was this minister of fashion who wielded such tremendous influence over the queen’s affairs?

Lyons Press, an imprint of Globe Pequot Press, is proud to announce the release of MARIE ANTOINETTE’S HEAD: The Royal Hairdresser, the Queen, and the Revolution, by Will Bashor (October 16, 2013, 978-0-7627-9153-8; $26.95 hardcover), the story of Léonard Autié, Marie Antoinette’s hairdresser and confidant, the man responsible for the style that made her the envy of French and partly for the uproar that dragged her to the guillotine. MARIE ANTOINETTE’S HEAD charts Léonard’s rise, from his humble origins as a provincial barber in the south of France to the inventor of the pouf and his role as premier hairdresser, trusted messenger, and loyal friend to Queen Marie Antoinette at the court of Versailles.

By unearthing the memoirs of the key players and a variety of sources from the 18th and 19th centuries, including Léonard’s own autobiography, court documents, and archived periodicals, Professor Will Bashor reveals Léonard’s mostly unknown story, his impact on events at the dawn of the French Revolution, the role he played in the life of his most famous client, and the chaotic and history-making world in which he rose to prominence.  Besides his proximity to the queen, the hairdresser also had a most fascinating life filled with seduction (he was the only man in a female dominated court), intrigue, espionage, theft, exile, treason, and possibly, execution.

Will Bashor received his doctorate from the AmericanGraduateSchool in Paris and teaches at FranklinUniversity, Columbus, Ohio. His interests have ranged over many fields, among them the study of international law and business, linguistics, cultural anthropology, and European history. A member of the Society for French Historical Studies, he earned his MA in French from OhioUniversity. Visit him at

One thought on “Marie Antoinette’s Head

  1. Pingback: Coiffing Marie Antoinette | Lyons Press

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