Louis XIV

Louis XIV

3.3 (43 ratings by Goodreads)

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Anthony Levi's compelling new life of Louis XIV gives prominence to a very important question. Louis was four when he acceded to the throne in 1643 on the death of Louis XIII. While the facts of his accession are not in doubt, the identity of his father is. There is good reason to believe it was not in fact Louis XIII, but Cardinal Mazarin, the man with his hands on the reins of power during the regency. A psychological portrait of the king is explored in the context of this possibility, the historical consequences of which are extraordinarily wide reaching.In the seventeenth century France was Europe's most glorious nation and Louis XIV was the incarnation of Apollo, the sun god, popularly referred to as Le Roi Soleil. He was invested with unprecedented power and privilege and endowed with life's finest pleasures, in the arts, music, poetry and material elegance. France was an exceedingly rich, diverse and powerful country: Louis was its magnificent public face, the pinnacle of its glory, for almost 50 years. But though he was one of the most politically effective monarchs ever to reign he was also a man irredeemably flawed and one who ultimately proved damaging both to France and its monarchy.Levi examines with an expert touch the lifelong clash between Louis' role as the sun king, custodian of the greatness of France, and his guilt, as a human being, at the effect of his reign on France and its people. He questions the wisdom of training one person to be the symbol of absolute authority without allowing or obliging them to act as the embodiment of that authority. Invested with such power, how did Louis use it? Was he tyrant or populist? What was behind the prodigal expenditure on pomp and finery - did he confuse his own glory with that of France? Levi creates a rich, intricate portrait of this legendary ruler, assessing his character and the mixture of devotion and promiscuity that is his hallmark. This intricate, controversial and absorbing account fully examines the lengthy and testing role that fate cast for the Sun King in European history.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 391 pages
  • 165 x 238 x 38mm | 807g
  • United States
  • English
  • Illustrations, unspecified
  • 0786713097
  • 9780786713097

Rating details

43 ratings
3.3 out of 5 stars
5 21% (9)
4 19% (8)
3 33% (14)
2 26% (11)
1 2% (1)
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