The Sun King

The Sun King


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The Sun King is a dazzling double portrait of Louis XIV and Versailles, the opulent court from which he ruled. With characteristic élan, Nancy Mitford reconstructs the daily life of king and courtiers during France’s golden age, offering vivid sketches of the architects, artists, and gardeners responsible for the creation of the most magnificent palace Europe had yet seen. Mitford lays bare the complex and deadly intrigues in the stateroom and the no less high-stakes power struggles in the bedroom. At the center of it all is Louis XIV himself, the demanding, mercurial, but remarkably resilient sovereign who guided France through 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781590174913
Publisher: New York Review Books
Publication date: 05/08/2012
Series: NYRB Classics Series
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 484,727
Product dimensions: 5.34(w) x 7.82(h) x 0.46(d)

About the Author

Nancy Mitford (1904–1973) was born into the British aristocracy and, by her own account, brought up without an education, except in riding and French. She managed a London bookshop during the Second World War, then moved to Paris, where she began to write her celebrated and successful novels, among them The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate, about the foibles of the English upper class. Nancy Mitford was also the author of four biographies: Madame de Pompadour (1954; available as an NYRB Classic), Voltaire in Love (1957), The Sun King (1966), and Frederick the Great (1970). In 1967 Mitford moved from Paris to Versailles, where she lived until her death from Hodgkin’s disease.

Philip Mansel is the author of six books dealing with French history, including a life of Louis XVIII (1981), The Court of France, 1789–1830 (1989) and Paris Between Empires (2001). He is currently at work on a life of Louis XIV.

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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The Sun King 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
lucybrown on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Mitford's biography the Louis XIV is vividly written and well researched. While not as exhaustive as more scholarly works, it is eminently readable and informative. Of course, Mitford who is as well known for her novels as her non-fiction is a great stylist. In this work she prove to be as always entertaining and interesting as ever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OldWahoo More than 1 year ago
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.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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.