Publication Date: October 27, 2016
Binding: Kobo eBook
In An American Princess, Laurie Dennett relates the remarkable story of a New England girl whose wealth, intelligence, and charm took her to the heart of aristocratic and intellectual Europe. Marguerite Chapin (1880-1963) was the product of two cultures: her father's enterprising American one, and her mother's French heritage, which enabled her to move to Paris when she inherited a fortune at age twenty-one. There, she studied singing with the greatest tenor of the age, commissioned paintings from artists such as Pierre Bonnard, Edouard Vuillard, and André Derain, and drew upon her many friendships with writers to found and edit the pioneering literary review Commerce. Her marriage, in 1911, to the composer Prince Roffredo Caetani, a member of one of Italy's oldest dynasties, added a whole new dimension to her life. Not only did it bring her a title, but happiness, two children, and a set of extraordinarily talented in-laws. When Marguerite and Roffredo moved to Rome in 1932, Ninfa, the estate where the Caetani family had created a garden among the ruins of a medieval town, offered a refuge from fascism and an outlet for creativity. At age sixty-eight, having survived the death of her son, the war and the occupation, Marguerite launched the international review Botteghe Oscure. Its aim was to reclaim respectability for Italian writing, but through her discerning and generous editorial vision, it became a showcase for writers everywhere. An engrossing biography based on extensive original research, An American Princess celebrates Marguerite Chapin Caetani's impressive accomplishments and legacy.