Arguably a turncoat, possibly a degenerate (his last mistress was his niece by marriage and the daughter of a former lover), certainly a shameless flatterer and world-class bribe-taker, Talleyrand was also the most skillful and farsighted diplomat of his age and a man of arresting grace, wit, and style. No wonder that during his American sojourn he developed an intense friendship with that most glamorous, coolly intelligent, and winning of the Founders, Alexander Hamilton (years after his return to France, Talleyrand kept Hamilton’s portrait over his mantelpiece). Like Hamilton, he had a rare rapport with and understanding of women—he counted many of the most intelligent, attractive, and influential of them as his friends or lovers, though one suspects they often adored him despite themselves.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Colorful diplomats ...
... Talleyrand and his biographer: Charm Offensive.