Introducing Princess Marie Bonaparte

Princess Marie Bonaparte @ the time of her marriage to Prince George of Greece & Denmark, 21 November 1907.

“If anyone writes the story of my life,they should call it THE LAST BONAPARTE, for I am the last. My cousins of the Imperial line are only Napoleons”–Princess Marie Bonaparte


Argument about the possible redundancy of royalty in today’s 21st Century world remains a matter that cannot, by logic, be refuted. But, sometimes, through one’s position, acquired by accident of birth, one can still attain achievement that goes beyond being photographed at ceremonial functions & other ritual often associated with members of royal families.
One such exception was The Princess Marie Bonaparte. She could have easily lived a life of total leisure, without worry as to means or method. It turned out that she was not content being just another pampered, European aristocrat, whose claim to status was that she was a great-grandniece of Emperor Napoleon I of France.
She studied human sexuality, with her own problems in this area as a primary impetus. In the course of things, she became acquainted with & eventually, befriended Sigmund Freud. Her studies helped to expand the arena of what became known as psychoanalysis, well beyond what was originally envisioned by her mentor. In part because of her obsession with her own sexual issues, it is now permissible & commonplace for women to be open about these problems. Prior to her studies & writings upon these matters, such discussion would have been almost impossible, or certainly delayed by another couple of generations. She helped to end the stigma of silence about the sexual identity & realities of human women, which had been long-overlooked.
Far more information is available about her than can be published here, but one point I do wish to mention: She saved the life of Sigmund Freud from almost certain murder at the hands of NAZI exterminators shortly before the outbreak of World War II. It was Princes Marie Bonaparte who drove him across the frontiers into France & helped make arrangements for the resettlement of him & his daughter Anna, into safety, eventually allowing them to have a final home in London.
Her life was, indeed, one that may have had its moments of seeming eccentricities, but her lasting legacy is still with us in terms of advancements in mental health care & breaking taboos that were once thought immutable.

Ancedote: “On 2 June 1953, Marie and her husband represented their nephew, King Paul of Greece, at the coronation of Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom in London. Bored with the pageantry, Marie offered psychoanalysis to the gentleman seated next to her, who was the future French president François Mitterrand. Mitterrand obliged Marie, and the couple barely witnessed the pomp and ceremony, finding their own activity far more interesting.”






Currently, taking computer-related classes @ City College of San Francisco & Project Mgt classes @ San Francisco State University, College of Extended Learning.  I enjoy reading, films, art, and music.  Generally, I enjoy many activities, only regretting that I don’t have enough time to properly devote to them as I would like.
Of particular interest, are films from the Silent Era, much of which I learned about through the annual San Francisco Silent Film Festival, held  in the early part of July, at the Castro Theatre.  Two events related to that endeavour were most significant in 2012.  One was the screening of the 1927 Able Gance film Napoleon.  This was in February/March @ the Paramount Theatre in Oakland, California.  The other was a screening of a Pola Negri film, The Spanish Dancer, as part of this year’s film festival line-up.  It was the first time that the Festival had screened anything from her long-neglected body of work.

One resource for seeing Silent Era Films throughout the year, is the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, 37417 Niles Blvd.  Fremont, California  94536 (–It provides a weekly showing of Silent Era films that are accompanied by a musician, playing a simple upright piano–creating much the same atmosphere that our great-great grandparents would have experienced throughout much of the country 80+ years ago.

About Petula Clark

Petula Clark

Photograph of British singer, Petula Clark, taken in the mid-1960s.


An Evaluation of the Web 2.0 Aspects of the Official Petula Clark Website

By: Thomas Outt CNIT129 – Official Site, discography, filmography, theatre, photos, concert information and the home of the International Petula Clark Society.

As it says in the beginning of the this “Official” website for Petula Clark, “This site chronicles the career of Petula Clark, CBE.” It does so via several methods that we have studied that are consistent with the methodogies we have learned about in the Web 2.0 class.

To begin with, I located it on the Internet, using google as my search engine, simply by keying in the name of the singer, Petula Clark. Stricly speaking, you do not have to be concerned with upper & lower case letters when doing this type of search. Once you have done this, the site opens to the public & provides users who are not members of her International Fan Club an opportunity to register online by providing a user name, email address, and once your password is accepted, the protocol of this Websited invites fan club members to share in special information that is not available to non-members. In this process, you will observe that there are You Tube videos, and other information such as the Wikipedia biography that are not in the official website.

The site is indexed with several specialty keys for narrowing searches within the actual website, itself, for specific types of information that allow club members to keep current with the singer’s concert touring schedule. If I may digress, at 80 years of age, she is still able to sing in full voice & continues to entertain fans, both old & new throughout much of the world. Being fluent in French (via her husband who was born there), her career has been international in scope since the 1950s. She has also recorded in German, Italian, Dutch, and Spanish.

In Petula Clark’s website, you will find it starts with a voicethread type of personal introduction spoken by Petula, herself. From there you will see the “Home” page, IPCS News (an acroynim for the International Petula Clark Society), Site Index, Career (this is a detailed history of her work, starting as a 9-year-old singer, during WWII, entertaining British troops as a way to lift their morale), Fan Resources, Members Only, Site Search, Contact Info, and Charities.

Most of these are self-explantory. Contact information, is usually understood to mean that is is the method used by concert backers to contact her managers, to book her for a concert at a given location. & time. Her career continues to be a sort of family business with her husband, Claude Wolff, operating the international end of things from their offices in Geneva, Switzerland. They have been married since 1961, but you will find that information under Career as well. So, there is some overlap in information.

Here is a sample from the actual site about how she got her start in radio:

“A radio star is born. . .

Huddled in London’s underground Criterion Theatre, the sounds of World War II reverberating above them, Petula and her father had come to the “It’s All Yours” radio show intending to record a message for an uncle stationed in North Africa. Before the show went on the air, an air raid siren sounded and the producer asked if anyone would like to sing a song, tell a joke or recite a poem, anything to calm the atmosphere. Nine*-year old Petula Clark (*age depending on source) raised her hand. She announced that she’d like to do Nellie Wallace, but was persuaded to sing a song instead since her father didn’t think an impersonation of the raucous comedienne was quite appropriate. Confiding that she could also do Vera Lynn, Sophie Tucker and Jimmy Durante, little Petula was led to the microphone. In order to reach it, she was placed on a box. The room hushed as she began to sing a very plaintive rendition of “Mighty Lak a Rose.” Just like in the movies, the orchestra joined in and by the time she had finished, the audience was spellbound and the musicians rose en mass to applaud her.
Later, when the show went on the air, Petula was asked to sing for the broadcast and when letters by the hundreds (begging to hear more from the little girl whose “voice was crystal clear and sounded as sweet as chapel bells on a Sunday morning in England”) began to pour into the BBC, a new star was born. For the duration of the war, Petula would make hundreds of radio appearances. By war’s end, she had become quite an established star.”

The website is full of minutely detailed historical information about these early radio appearances, and has many photographs of her during various stages of her life. The photographs are arranged chronologically, to convey the sense of her history & longevity as a performing artist.

As as matter of taste & no doubt family preference, there are very few photographs of a personal family nature posted on the site, as she makes every effort to keep her personal life & public life separated.

The business reasons to operate this site are farily conventional, to keep fans informed of her proposed concert tours, and to sell merchandise, DVDS of films and CDs of her recordings. The site does not provide “free listening,” videos. leaving that specialty to You Tube.

As with many websites of entertainers who are still professionally active, this site is a mixture of source material for archival information (concert & other performance history) and a living document, fully intended to continue to generate business for her till such time as she may decide to retire from concert singing.

Of note, is the section that enumerates the enormous amount of charity work that she has done in a career that now spans 7 decades.

A a viewer, you may follow her Wesite via a number of options such as Facebook, Twitter, & many others. I hope that you will enjoy this site & learn about the career of someone who simply was good at what she did, never making tabloid headlines with lurid tales of an excessive life style & has given unstintingly of herself for others in her charity work & still finds the time & energy to meet & greet fans after a concert, making them feel, if only for a moment, part of her life.

[Petula Clark]

Mapped Life

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