Category Archives: Libertines

The Husband’s Best Friend

Saint Guerluchon is a medieval fertility saint whom the XVIII century turned into a patron saint of cuckolds. This conversion is a complicated process by which letter u was deleted, and letters e and r traded their positions; the XVIII … Continue reading

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Versailles Vice

Casanova spent a good part of his life trying to convince us that vice has nothing to do with crime. A waste of time, try telling a judge today that all you meant was to have some innocent fun! There … Continue reading

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Versailles and its Critics, from Sévigné to Montesquieu

Madame de Sévigné is ambivalent on the subject: there are days when she likes Versailles, and there are days when she does not. Let us hear her out, “The court is at Saint-Cloud. The king wants to go to Versailles. … Continue reading

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Virginity According to Boilly

Jean-Baptist Greuze puts a dead bird in the painting to grieve over the innocence lost; to Pierre-Léopold Boilly the same moment in the life of a woman means discovery of some extra joy; consequently, his bird is out of the … Continue reading

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If You Are a Libertine, It’s Probably Due to Your Temperament; Only in Paris It’s a Matter of Principles

1791. We are right in the middle of the French Revolution: in just a few months the royal heads will roll; meanwhile at the Salon Jean-Baptiste Regnault presents his painting Socrates Pulling Archibald Away from the Voluptuousness; and if we were … Continue reading

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Henriette of England at the French Court

It was Madame de la Fayette who told us the following anecdote from the life of Henriette of England; this English princess was the first wife of Monsieur, Duke of Orleans (1); his second wife, Princess Palatine later claimed in one of her … Continue reading

Posted in Court, Courtiers, Duke of Orleans, Libertines, Louis XIV, Louvre, Madame de La Fayette, Princess Palatine | Leave a comment

In the Temple of Reason

“For as long as I live,” said Cardinal Fleury to Bernis, “you will not be a priest.” The future Cardinal Bernis agreed, “OK,” he said, “I’ll wait.” Perhaps he was right and faith is not a necessary condition for priesthood: … Continue reading

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