Philippe, Duc D'Orleans: Regent of France

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9780871136954: Philippe, Duc D'Orleans: Regent of France

When Louis XIV died in 1715, having ruled France for over seventy years, his five-year-old great-grandson became the king. To the alarm of most Frenchmen, however, real power passed to the new regent, Louis XIV's nephew Philippe, duc d'Orleans. A proven soldier and a gifted artist and musician, Philippe was better known as a philanderer and rake. So depraved was Philippe, it was rumored, he had slept with his own daughter. Philippe worked diligently, despite conspiracies against him by other nobles, to restore France's fortunes after the defeat of the War of the Spanish Succession and established himself, in talks with Great Britain and as a proponent of colonial expansion in America, as a skillful and important leader. Christine Pevitt's exciting biography provides an intimate portrait of this compelling figure and reaffirms his historical significance.

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Review:

When he became Regent to France's 5-year-old King Louis XV in 1715, the Duc d'Orleans was considered dangerously irreligious, shockingly promiscuous, and too irreverent to make a good statesman despite his evident intelligence. Yet as Christine Pevitt demonstrates in a gracefully written text, Philippe tried to modernize and reform the government, keeping France at peace and prosperous until his death in 1723. Aided by caches of deliciously gossipy contemporary letters, Pevitt recreates the luxurious, licentious society of 18th-century France and rehabilitates the reputation of its most notorious ruler.

From Kirkus Reviews:

A tantalizing glimpse of a lost world. Although she asks the question in her preface, Pevitt never directly reveals an answer as to why someone at the end of the 20th century would become obsessed with someone dead for 300 years. Readers are forced to answer that question themselves, and they might be glad that Pevitt became so involved in a figure who, until now, has not received sympathetic treatment in English. French historians have for some time now been taking a new look at the duc d`Orl‚ans, recognizing that he was much more than the philanderer and intellectual lightweight he had been made out to be. When his uncle the Sun King, Louis XIV, died in 1715, a remarkable era came to an end. While the five-year-old Louis XV became de jure king, it was Philippe who actually ruled as regent. In some ways a Renaissance man (he was a musician and artist as well as a soldier and statesman), Philippe delighted in shocking the more conventional members of the royal family and court. Extraordinary rumors (including the claim that he had slept with his own daughter) circulated through aristocratic circles. This, though, seems to have been a calculated strategy to hide his rather formidable talents. As regent, Pevitt argues, he displayed considerable iamgination and energy. He worked hard to rebuild the country's armed forces, began negotiations with England, France's ancient antagonist, and did what he could to spur on emigration to North America. (His efforts are indicated by the fact that New Orleans was named in his honor). Pevitt is not a professional historian, but this in no way detracts from her work; in fact, readers might find her style refreshing and thankfully free from academic pretensions. It seems that she wrote the book for no other reason than that the subject fascinated her--and what better reason could a reader ask for in an author? -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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Pevitt, Christine
Editore: Atlantic Monthly Pr (1997)
ISBN 10: 0871136953 ISBN 13: 9780871136954
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Descrizione libro Atlantic Monthly Pr, 1997. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. Never used!. Codice libro della libreria P110871136953

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Descrizione libro Condizione libro: Brand New. Book Condition: Brand New. Codice libro della libreria 97808711369541.0

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Descrizione libro Atlantic Monthly Pr. Hardcover. Condizione libro: New. 0871136953. Codice libro della libreria K10-701

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