Biography. Anka Muhlstein's lively biography, translated by Teresa Waugh, introduces American readers to Astolphe de Custine, a passionate literary figure, a poet, playwright, essayist, traveler, aristocrat and homosexual adventurer. Against the fascinating background of early-19th-century France, Anka Muhlstein presents the gifted if at times deplorable Custine with vivacity, elegance, and insight. It is a splendid introduction to the Marquis and his world and to his famous 1839 tour of autocratic Russia -- Daniel Aaron. Briliant, visionary, beautiful Astolphe -- man of letters and man of society -- finally gets his biography . . . -- French elle Magazine.