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Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King

by

Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The self-proclaimed Sun King, Louis XIV ruled over the most glorious and extravagant court in seventeenth-century Europe. Now, Antonia Fraser goes behind the well-known tales of Louiss accomplishments and follies, exploring in riveting detail his intimate relationships with women.

The kings mother, Anne of Austria, had been in a childless marriage for twenty-two years before she gave birth to Louis XIV. A devout Catholic, she instilled in her son a strong sense of piety and fought successfully for his right to absolute power. In 1660, Louis married his first cousin, Marie-Thérèse, in a political arrangement. While unfailingly kind to the official "Queen of Versailles," Louis sought others to satisfy his romantic and sexual desires. After a flirtation with his sister-in-law, his first important mistress was Louise de La Vallière, who bore him several children before being replaced by the tempestuous and brilliant Athénaïs, marquise de Montespan. Later, when Athénaïss reputation was tarnished, the king continued to support her publicly until Athénaïs left court for a life of repentance. Meanwhile her childrens governess, the intelligent and seemingly puritanical Françoise de Maintenon, had already won the kings affections; in a relationship in complete contrast to his physical obsession with Athénaïs, Louis XIV lived happily with Madame de Maintenon for the rest of his life, very probably marrying her in secret. When his grandsons child bride, the enchanting Adelaide of Savoy, came to Versaille she lightened the kings last yearsuntil tragedy struck.

With consummate skill, Antonia Fraser weaves insights into the nature of womens religious livesas well as such practical matters as contraceptioninto her magnificent, sweeping portrait of the king, his court, and his ladies.

Review:

"Prolific royal biographer Fraser (Marie Antoinette) has assiduously researched her measured yet engrossing study, shedding welcome light on the galaxy of influential women who orbited the dazzling Sun King. The most important woman in Louis XIV's life, in Fraser's telling, was probably the first — his mother, Anne of Austria. The voluptuous, pleasure-loving but pious and dignified queen regent inculcated Louis with the notion that he was a godlike miracle who was nevertheless accountable to the deity for his sins. As this narrowly focused history suggests, Louis was constantly trying to reconcile his gargantuan sexual appetite with his duty to his people and his God. Louis gave up his first love, the bold and amusing Marie Mancini, to marry his graceless first cousin, the Spanish princess Maria Teresa. A serious flirtation with his charming sister-in-law Henriette-Anne, sister of England's Charles II, ended when Louis fell for Charles and Henriette's decoy, the timid virgin Louise de La Vallire. In sexual thrall to the intelligent, magnetic Athnas, the Marquise de Montespan, the king intriguingly threw her over for Franoise Scarron, the puritanical governess to their bastards. Lastly, Louis gave his heart to his spirited granddaughter-in-law Adlade, who died of measles within days of her husband, the Dauphin." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"'Kings want for nothing except the pleasures of a private existence,' the 17th-century moralist Jean de La Bruyere observed of Louis XIV's all-consuming devotion to royal duty. For the monarch who declared 'I am the state,' the distinction between public and private held little meaning. To consolidate his power, Louis XIV conceived of all his actions (from the tiniest costuming decisions to the grandest... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Synopsis:

With consummate skill, Fraser pens a magnificent, sweeping portrait of the self-proclaimed Sun King Louis XIV, who ruled over the most glorious and extravagant court in 17th-century Europe, and explores in riveting detail his intimate relationships with women.

About the Author

Since 1969 ANTONIA FRASER has written many acclaimed historical works that have been international bestsellers. She is the recipient of many literary awards, including the Wolfson Prize for History, the Saint Louis Literary Award, and the 2000 Norton Medlicott Medal of Britain’s Historical Association. Her works include the biographies Mary Queen of Scots, Cromwell, the Lord Protector and Royal Charles: Charles II and the Restoration. Four highly praised books focus on women in history: The Weaker Vessel, The Warrior Queens, The Six Wives of Henry VIII and, most recently, Marie Antoinette: The Journey. She is editor of the book The Lives of the Kings and Queens of England. Antonia Fraser is married to Harold Pinter and lives in London.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780385509848
Subtitle:
The Women in the Life of the Sun King
Author:
Fraser, Antonia
Publisher:
Nan A. Talese
Subject:
Royalty
Subject:
History
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Moral conditions
Subject:
General Biography
Copyright:
Publication Date:
20061024
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
2-8 PAGE 4 COLOR INSERTS
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
9.3 x 6 x 1.5 in 1.7525 lb

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Related Subjects

History and Social Science » Europe » France » 18th Century and Revolutionary
History and Social Science » World History » France » General

Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King Used Hardcover
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$10.95 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Nan A. Talese - English 9780385509848 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Prolific royal biographer Fraser (Marie Antoinette) has assiduously researched her measured yet engrossing study, shedding welcome light on the galaxy of influential women who orbited the dazzling Sun King. The most important woman in Louis XIV's life, in Fraser's telling, was probably the first — his mother, Anne of Austria. The voluptuous, pleasure-loving but pious and dignified queen regent inculcated Louis with the notion that he was a godlike miracle who was nevertheless accountable to the deity for his sins. As this narrowly focused history suggests, Louis was constantly trying to reconcile his gargantuan sexual appetite with his duty to his people and his God. Louis gave up his first love, the bold and amusing Marie Mancini, to marry his graceless first cousin, the Spanish princess Maria Teresa. A serious flirtation with his charming sister-in-law Henriette-Anne, sister of England's Charles II, ended when Louis fell for Charles and Henriette's decoy, the timid virgin Louise de La Vallire. In sexual thrall to the intelligent, magnetic Athnas, the Marquise de Montespan, the king intriguingly threw her over for Franoise Scarron, the puritanical governess to their bastards. Lastly, Louis gave his heart to his spirited granddaughter-in-law Adlade, who died of measles within days of her husband, the Dauphin." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , With consummate skill, Fraser pens a magnificent, sweeping portrait of the self-proclaimed Sun King Louis XIV, who ruled over the most glorious and extravagant court in 17th-century Europe, and explores in riveting detail his intimate relationships with women.

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