The Sun King

( 3 )

Overview

The Sun King is a dazzling double portrait of Louis XIV and Versailles, recreating the daily life of the King, his court,
and his ministers during France’s golden age. Nancy Mitford introduces us to the architects, artists, and gardeners tasked with transforming a modest hunting lodge into the most magnificent palace Europe had ever seen, delves into the complex and deadly court intrigues afoot in the new capital, and chronicles Louis’s love affairs with a succession of ...
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The Sun King

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Overview

The Sun King is a dazzling double portrait of Louis XIV and Versailles, recreating the daily life of the King, his court,
and his ministers during France’s golden age. Nancy Mitford introduces us to the architects, artists, and gardeners tasked with transforming a modest hunting lodge into the most magnificent palace Europe had ever seen, delves into the complex and deadly court intrigues afoot in the new capital, and chronicles Louis’s love affairs with a succession of mistresses including the brilliant feuding marquises of Montespan and Maintenon. Along the way we find Jean-Baptiste de Lully and his fiddlers, floating behind the King’s gondola on summer nights in Versailles; Racine translating Latin aloud to his insomniac monarch; the Premier Médecin du Roi, Guy Crescent Fagon, bleeding one royal after another to death—and at the center of them all the demanding, mercurial, but remarkably resilient personality of France’s sovereign for nearly three quarters of the Grand Siècle.

Brimming with sumptuous detail and delicious bons mots, and written in a witty, conversational style The Sun King restores a distant glittering century to vibrant life.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“Irreverently lifts the skirts of the dolls of Versailles and rummages about underneath, exposing one gem of irresistible detail after another. . . . A glorious tribute to a glorious age.” — The Irish Times

“[Mitford’s] interest is focused on the human beings whose hopes, frustrations, and tragedies are hidden behind the stiff brocade of the period. The splendid century had its seamy side, and her racy narrative alternates between the glory and the grime, the ermine and the vermin.” — The New York Times

“History, like the kingdom of heaven, has many mansions, Nancy Mitford’s being, I suggest, a ravishingly pretty one, where anyone would be happy to spend time—and many have.”  — Antonia Fraser

“Nancy Mitford excels in depicting both the brilliant romantic showcase and the recessed world of power. . . . No historian writing in English has given a better pen-picture of Versailles in its heyday.” —Time

“A brilliant son et lumière performance.” —Guardian
 
"Nancy Mitford was particularly well-equipped to write about Louis XIV: She spent much of her adult life in France and possessed a sharp eye for detail." — Washington Post Book World
 
“Nancy Mitford gives vivid, indeed searching, portraits of the Grand Monarch, and of his awe-struck relations and courtiers . . . she summarizes a wealth of information about the king’s long, eventful life at Versailles . . . Readers will wish that her book were twice as long.” — Sunday Times (London)
 

 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781590174913
  • Publisher: New York Review Books
  • Publication date: 5/8/2012
  • Series: New York Review Books Classics Series
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 548,725
  • Product dimensions: 5.34 (w) x 7.82 (h) x 0.46 (d)

Meet the Author

Nancy Mitford (1904–1973) was the eldest of the “Mitford girls,”
the sisters who captured the attention of the English public and press with their literary talents and unpopular politics. Nancy Mitford herself was famous for her novels, for her forays into social science, and for her biographies of famous figures from French history, including Madame de Pompadour, which is available from NYRB Classics.
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Table of Contents

Introduction Vii

Acknowledgments 7

I The House 9

2 The Builders 18

3 The Mortemarts 26

4 The Envelope 32

5 The Governess 42

6 Poison 53

7 A City Of The Rich 63

8 The Grand Dauphin 70

9 The Queen's Staircase 75

10 The Young Generation 83

11 The New Régime 92

12 The Faculty 100

13 Saint-Cyr, The School 106

14 Saint-Cyr, The Convent 114

15 Lord Portland's Embassy 122

16 The Turn Of The Century 132

17 Mourning 140

18 Martial Noises Off 145

19 Three In Eleven Months 157

20 The End 166

Sources 170

Index 172

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting

    The book centers around the king's inner circle at Versailles and the social life of the court. Very little about politics and international events of the era. Interesting in that the king's personality comes through warts and all. Worth the time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2002

    The Sun King Review

    The book "The Sun King" is amazing providing much information on the Louis XIV, the Grand Dauphin, and the rest of the family. The family life, polotics and other is displayed gracefully in this informative and fun-to-read book.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 13, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews

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