From Libertine to Liberty and Back

A soldier, a diplomat, a spy, and a writer of erotic novels, Andrea Nerciat had lived a life as picturesque as that of any of his characters. But unlike his erotic novels, joyous and free of any violence, his life was full of danger and fantastic reversals.

At the beginning of his military career he belonged to a secret libertine club, and since the profession of arms is never a lucrative one, supplemented his income by writing erotic texts.

With the onset of the French Revolution, Nerciat, like many people of his time and social standing, found himself in a situation of schizophrenic ambivalence: his views were probably republican and pacifist, while his actions brought him on the inside of too many royalist conspiracies.

The only label to make sense of what he was doing would be that of a double agent; for example, he came to Austria to serve as a colonel in the anti-revolutionary army of Condé, but the Austrians threw him out of their country; he was on the payroll of the French Republic, but the Napoleon’s chief-of-stuff, Berthier, rotted Nerciat in jail until the opposite camp freed the already deathly-ill adventurer.

Of course, the example of  General Berthier is not any better: tattered and torn between too many loyalty oaths he had sworn, Berthier committed suicide on the eve of Waterloo. Difficult times, difficult decisions. The difference between Berthier and Nerciat is that the latter has left us over fifteen light-spirited erotic tales inspiring two centuries of lively illustrations.


About versaillesgossip, before and after Francis Ponge

The author of the blogs Versailles Gossip and Before and After Francis Ponge, Vadim Bystritski lives and teaches in Brest France. The the three main themes of his literary endeavours are humor, the French Prose Poetry, the French XVII and XVIII Century Art and History. His writings and occasionally art has been published in a number of ezines (Eratio, Out of Nothing, Scars TV, etc). He also contributes to Pinterest where he comments on the artifiacts from the Louvre and other collections. Some of his shorter texts are in Spanish, Russian and French.
This entry was posted in Court, Courtiers, French Revolution, Libertines, Napoleon, Toys of Revolution and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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