CHRISTINA, QUEEN OF SWEDEN: The Restless Life of a European Eccentric

Veronica Buckley, Author . Fourth Estate $24.95 (370p) ISBN 978-0-06-073617-0

Christina abdicated the throne of Lutheran Sweden in 1654, at age 28, presumably in order to convert to Catholicism. Buckley presents a wide-ranging, entertaining exploration of the dynamics of the queen's decision and unusual life. The author, in her debut, convincingly demonstrates that it wasn't religion that drew Christina to Rome, but a love of art and the ancients. Nor did a true love of philosophy encourage her fateful invitation to Descartes to come to Stockholm, but a restless, clever mind and a belief in her own great potential. Nor, says Buckley, did homosexuality lead her to decline marriage but a larger sexual ambivalence. Attracted to both men and women, yet disgusted by the idea of sex, Christina was most comfortable in masculine garb, critical of women and bitterly aware of the limitations society placed on women. Buckley weaves these threads together in a lively portrait, laying out the background to her story in fluid prose, from political and military aspects of the Thirty Years' War to machinations of the papal and French courts and the fragile state of the monarchy in Sweden. Against this background, Christina emerges as a complex and difficult character who transcends the attempts of others to mold her to their uses and expectations. Illus. not seen by PW . Agent, Victoria Hobbs. (Oct. 1)

Reviewed on: 09/06/2004
Release date: 09/01/2004
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 494 pages - 978-0-00-729136-6
Paperback - 370 pages - 978-0-06-073618-7
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