Author Topic: Empress Elisabeth, Part I  (Read 352954 times)

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Offline brnbg aka: liljones1968

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Empress Elisabeth, Part I
« on: December 16, 2004, 12:00:40 PM »
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« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 06:31:13 AM by Svetabel »
"when i die, i hope i go like my grandfather --
peacefully in my sleep; not screaming & in terror,
like the passengers in his car."

-- anonymous
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Offline crazy_wing

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Re: Empress Elisabeth, Part I
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2004, 07:50:12 PM »
Sisi had a sad life.  Her beauty was an asset to the empire.  Franz Josef would bring her around to hungary and italy, both places where his popularity was declining, hoping her beauty would make him and the Austrian rule more popular.

Sisi had a not very caring husband (he was submissive to his mother and he a lot of political issues to worry about) and bad mother-in-law who took her eldest children away and mock her with other members of the court.  The only asset she felt she had control of was her beauty and youth.  She was obsessed with her beauty esp her long hair.  She did a lot of exercises and ate very little (few fruits, meat juice and milk) to keep her figure slim.

Her wishes were met when she died.  She said she wanted to die away from her family, near the water and suddenly.  Ironically, all those three criteria were met.

Offline Martyn

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Re: Empress Elisabeth, Part I
« Reply #2 on: December 17, 2004, 04:21:13 AM »
Sisi seems to have had in full measure the Wittelsbach propensity for eccentricity.  She was very much a victim of her own beauty as it rather overtook her life.  I have to say that I have some sympathy for Franz Josef; whilst I don't think that he ever really understood her, he did try to accommodate her wish to travel for lengthy periods, and to be away from the court.
The Wittelsbach repautation for eccentricity was manifested in its severest form in Ludwig's brother (Otto, I think) who was mentally ill; Ludwig himself cannot be said to have been entirely balanced.  The bond between Sisi and Ludwig  may have had some basis in the fact that they felt unique amongst the other royal personages - their eccentricity might have been part of this.
Another Wittlesbach who also shared this reputaion for eccentrictiy was Queen Elisabeth of Belgium - I may be wrong but I think that her nickname was 'The Red Queen'.  Adored by her people, she was sometimes controversial; there is a great picture of her wearing her tiara upside down on her head (sounds bonkers but looks quite original).  She was an admirable woman who channeled her unconventional approach to life into doing good for others.
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline Lisa

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Re: Empress Elisabeth, Part I
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2004, 07:28:25 AM »
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by Lisa »

Offline brnbg aka: liljones1968

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Re: Empress Elisabeth, Part I
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2004, 01:21:48 PM »
Ludwig II seemed to suffer from a severe form of bipolar-disorder, with extreme manic episodes (ie: his building mania and narcissism).

Elisabeth appears to have been unipolar-deppressive (no ups & downs like bipolar-disorder; just a constant, dull depression).   it can develop at any point or can be inherited --- i inherited a chemical imbalance from my father that manifests itself as unipolar-depression.    i also seem to share at least 2 other illnesses with her:   obsessive-compulsive-disorder (aka: OCD) and severe social-anxiety-disorder.  
   her "mania" about her hair, her extreme devotion to excercise & her figure are typical of OCD compulsions; and her narcissistic "mania" about her beauty is a classic example of an OCD obsession.    unfortunately, it's a short trip from those behaviors to anorexia, bulemia, body-dismorphic-disorder and several other illnesses that are more common today than they were in her time.    
    she also seems to have had something in common with Howard Hughes (another OCD sufferer):   their extreme OCD behaviors appear to have been triggered by having been given sexually transmitted diseases by people they trusted.    Sisi contracted an STD (i can't recall which one) from Franz Josef, and it completely destroyed her "knight in shining armor/prince-charming" view of him, as well as whatever sense of security she may have felt.  very shortly thereafter, her wandering began.  
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« Last Edit: January 23, 2010, 06:32:12 AM by Svetabel »
"when i die, i hope i go like my grandfather --
peacefully in my sleep; not screaming & in terror,
like the passengers in his car."

-- anonymous
.

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Empress Elisabeth, Part I
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2004, 01:40:33 PM »
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Elisabeth appears to have been unipolar-deppressive (no ups & downs like bipolar-disorder; just a constant, dull depression).   it can develop at any point or can be inherited ---  
     Sisi contracted an STD (i can't recall which one) from Franz Josef, and it completely destroyed her "knight in shining armor/prince-charming" view of him, as well as whatever sense of security she may have felt.  


It seems that the Crown Prince, Sisi's son, inherited her clinical depression, hence this is why he constantly felt suicidal and finally succeeded.  

I didn't know that Sisi got an STD from FJ, was this one of the main reasons for the deterioration of their relationship?

Offline Martyn

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Re: Empress Elisabeth, Part I
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2004, 02:26:00 PM »
Is there evidence that this was the reason for her restlessness?  I have scoured the Joan Haslip book 'The Lonely Empress' which admittedly was written a long time ago (1964) but can find no mention of it.  
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline brnbg aka: liljones1968

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Re: Empress Elisabeth, Part I
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2004, 03:30:18 PM »
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Is there evidence that this was the reason for her restlessness?  I have scoured the Joan Haslip book 'The Lonely Empress' which admittedly was written a long time ago (1964) but can find no mention of it.  



depression, as an illness, wasn't really recognized in 1964.    you might check-out the book titled DEATH BY FAME (i don't have the book here in front of me and at the moment, i can't recall the author).



Posted by: helen_azar      Posted on: Today at 11:40am
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I didn't know that Sisi got an STD from FJ, was this one of the main reasons for the deterioration of their relationship?


pretty-much....i think the shock destroyed her dreamy view of her young husband and she ceased to truly trust him.  for his part, FJ apparently, spent the rest of his life feeling guilty about it.    he did truly love his wife, but i suspect his "over-indulgence" of her stemmed from his sense of having "soiled" (in a sense) his idealistic young wife.

from what i remember, FJ had contracted some-sort of STD or other before his marriage.   i assume it wasn't syphilis, since it never seemed to affect his over-all health or mental-state.   also, it didn't seem to affect Sisi's child-bearing.    
"when i die, i hope i go like my grandfather --
peacefully in my sleep; not screaming & in terror,
like the passengers in his car."

-- anonymous
.

Offline Martyn

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Re: Empress Elisabeth, Part I
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2004, 03:52:48 PM »
That is really interesting Brian.  She ceratinly would not be the first woman to have that happen to her.  I really ejoyed the Joan Haslip book, but felt at the end that it glossed over certain issues somewhat.  It was only when I had finished reading it that I realised that it was written way back in 1964; obviously back then, things were maybe less frankly discussed.
Thanks for the book recommendation; I will add it to the long list of things that I need to read......
By the way, the black dress with the train is stunning.  Do you know which collection it is in?
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline crazy_wing

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Re: Empress Elisabeth, Part I
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2004, 06:22:45 PM »
Quote
Posted by: helen_azar      Posted on: Today at 11:40am

from what i remember, FJ had contracted some-sort of STD or other before his marriage.   i assume it wasn't syphilis, since it never seemed to affect his over-all health or mental-state.   also, it didn't seem to affect Sisi's child-bearing.    


That seems to make sense.  The book by Joan Haslip mentions at the beginning of their marriage Sisi always FJ was cheating on her.  It said she was devastated b/c she couldn't believe he cheated on her since she was the most beautiful woman in europe.  
« Last Edit: December 31, 1969, 06:00:00 PM by crazy_wing »

Offline Helen_Azar

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Re: Empress Elisabeth, Part I
« Reply #10 on: December 18, 2004, 07:52:29 AM »
Quote
depression, as an illness, wasn't really recognized in 1964.    you might check-out the book titled DEATH BY FAME (i don't have the book here in front of me and at the moment, i can't recall the author).


I believe they used to refer to it as "melancholia", but in general they didn't know what to make of it. Looking back in history, so many historical figures seem to have suffered from it, but were not able to be treated. The medical professionals, and everyone else, recognized something was wrong, but they really couldn't understand what it was or what to do about it...

Offline Martyn

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Re: Empress Elisabeth, Part I
« Reply #11 on: December 18, 2004, 06:51:23 PM »
I'm quite sure that they were expensive.  There was a Winterhalter exhibition some years ago that toured - I saw it at the National Portrait Gallery - and these two paintings were amongst the ones exhibited.  They were the largest paintings in the exhibition.  Obviously full length portraits were more expensive than half or three quarters and these two were bigger than any of the other full length single portraits.  I couldn't help feeling that Sissi completely overwhelmed and dominated the companion piece of Franz Josef; there is something incredibly wistful and elusive about the picture of her which might be to do with the backward glancing pose.  It is almost as if Winterhalter has caught her in mid-flight - an appropriate metaphor perhaps for the way that her life ultimately developed.......
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV

Offline brnbg aka: liljones1968

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Re: Empress Elisabeth, Part I
« Reply #12 on: December 18, 2004, 09:18:22 PM »
Quote
By the way, the black dress with the train is stunning.  Do you know which collection it is in?




it's in the collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum in Vienna.    besides an extensive collection of various court uniforms, they, apparently, have a rather large collection of Sisi's clothes.    i'm just fascinated by the length of that train and how it's actually the skirt and not of the detachable type.     she certainly knew what clothing suited her, didn't she?


"when i die, i hope i go like my grandfather --
peacefully in my sleep; not screaming & in terror,
like the passengers in his car."

-- anonymous
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Offline brnbg aka: liljones1968

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Re: Empress Elisabeth, Part I
« Reply #13 on: December 18, 2004, 09:27:19 PM »
Quote
By the way, the black dress with the train is stunning.  Do you know which collection it is in?



by the way, this and all court-gowns, were referred to as "Hofkleid".
this gown, in particular, is referred to thusly:

"Schwarzes Hofkleid der Kaiserin Elisabeth von Osterreich und Ungarn"
"when i die, i hope i go like my grandfather --
peacefully in my sleep; not screaming & in terror,
like the passengers in his car."

-- anonymous
.

Offline Martyn

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Re: Empress Elisabeth, Part I
« Reply #14 on: December 19, 2004, 05:20:10 AM »
Brian thanks so much for the information about the black dress; you're right that train is immense and must have been so difficult to handle.  it is abit of a mystery why it has such a long train - after all it would appear to be an ordinary toilette (could be for mourning, although Elisabeth was inordinately fond of black) and not a court dress.  Any thoughts?
'For a galant spirit there can never be defeat'....Wallis Windsor

'The important things is not what they think of me, but what I think of them.'......QV