Louis XIV

Louis XIV

Book - 2004 | First Carroll & Graf edition
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Baker & Taylor
Written with great psychological insight, this nuanced portrait of France's legendary "sun king" reveals a monarch who half-believed the mythology surrounding him but nevertheless felt tremendous guilt about the poverty, corruption, and violence that convulsed his kingdom beneath the veneer of royal wealth.

Perseus Publishing
A nation exceedingly rich and extraordinarily powerful, its arts unparalleled in elegance and excellence, France in the seventeenth century mirrored the monarch who ruled it: Louis XIV, heritor not only to the throne of his country but also, supposedly, to the powers of the mythological sun god Apollo. Known as le roi soleil?the sun king?and vested with unprecedented power and privilege, for fifty years Louis epitomized the glory that was France. On the dark underside of the monarchy's grand, gilded looking glass, however, lurked peasant starvation, financial bankruptcy, military defeat, and the deaths of thousands?all of which would plague the conscience of the king. It is in the struggle of the lofty sun king, who at least half-believed in his quasi divinity, to reconcile his extravagant persona with the shortcomings, flaws, miscalculations, and failures of an ordinary mortal that the fascination of this new, intricate, and controversial illustrated biography lies. Indeed, at the heart of Anthony Levi's probing study brews the conflict between Louis XIV's regal infallibility and his human, often tragic and far-reaching errors. Out of it emerges a complex personal portrait of one of the most politically effective monarchs ever to reign in Europe.

Blackwell North Amer
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.

Publisher: New York : Carroll & Graf, 2004
Edition: First Carroll & Graf edition
ISBN: 9780786713097
Branch Call Number: BIO Louis XIV 2004
Characteristics: xvii, 391 pages : illustrations (some color), maps ; 24 cm
Alternative Title: Louis Fourteenth


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