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Brother to the Sun King: Philippe, Duke of Orleans [Paperback]

Nancy Nichols Barker
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

1 Dec 1998
In battle he fought with legendary valor . . . At court, dressed in silks and ribbons, he openly favored his male lovers . . . Despised but feared by his brother, he was the perpetual loser in a lifelong sibling rivalry . . . Brother to the Sun King: Philippe, Duke of Orleans.

Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press (1 Dec 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801861640
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801861642
  • Product Dimensions: 23 x 15 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,515,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description


Combines archival research with twentieth-century psychological insights to illuminate a sad life of Philippe d'Orléans... Skillfully portrays Philippe's personality and that of others.

(Wilson Library Bulletin)

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First Sentence
On Christmas night 1639 Louis XIII, king of France, allegedly startled his court with the order to prepare his bed in the chamber of the queen. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Tragic Life... 12 April 2014
Having ploughed my way through a pile of Louis XIV related tomes, I was keen to learn more about his brother - the perfumed, powdered (rumoured) wife-poisoner, Phillipe Duc de Orleans / Monsieur. Having high hopes, I wasn't disappointed, but at times, I felt a little bogged down by the the in-depth details of Phillipe's financial wheelings & dealings, and I wasn't wholly convinced by the psycho- babble employed to analyse Phillipe's sexual orientation and thorny relationships with his mother and brother. That being said, I was sad to finish the book, and experienced a wave of profound sadness and sympathy for a sensitive, intelligent and brave soul who was programmed from birth to sublimate any sense of self and abandon any hope of political or military success in order to live in the shadow of his controlling older brother. The sun king's light shines a little less brightly when you see the dirty tricks he deployed in order to keep his younger brother debauched, docile and firmly in his shade.
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Amazon.com: 3.3 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent study of Philippe, Duke of Orleans 25 Feb 2001
By Dana Keish - Published on Amazon.com
As only brother to the Sun King, Louis XIV of France, Philippe, Duke of Orleans lived forever in the shadow of his older brother. Because of the numerous uprisings in France by a younger brother of the King, Philippe was taught from birth that he could never outshine his brother or be given any prominent place in his government. Because of this, Philippe led a fairly "wasted" life, perhaps best known for his flagrant homosexuality. Yet author Nancy Nichols Barker points out that when allowed to shine, the Duke was a competent soldier, lover of fine arts, good father and the founder of the Orleans dynasty which eventually ruled France. While the progeny of Louis XIV died out with the revolution, the descendants of Philippe populated the great Catholic thrones of Europe.
The author does a good job with source material and especially the "psychological" background of her characters, such as Philippe and his two wives, Henriette of England and Elizabeth Charlotte of Palatine. The first marriage was a disaster but the second marriage flourished for a long time. Elizabeth Charlotte or Liselotte is given a major part of the biography and her background is presented in a very interesting manner. I would recommend this book highly to anyone interested in French history.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars That is the best book I ever read! 27 Jan 2001
By Elena Steingrad - Published on Amazon.com
The story of Philippe, brother of Louis XIV (also known as Sun King) is very exciting and iteresting. The book provides knowledge not only about Philippe, but also about his surroundings and with link to all possible things that were happening in France of that time. The description of his life is not like in most history books - you can even feel the atmosphere as you were there! You can also learn about Louis XIV from it and about their family realtions. The book covers both official and privat aspects of Philippe's life. Great book and very good work of the author!
1.0 out of 5 stars Psychiatry, not history 13 Aug 2014
By Paul Laplante - Published on Amazon.com
Although in the Preface the author states that this is not a psychobiography and that she will not "subordinate factual evidence.... to a theoretical model or to cognitive assumptions," she proceeds for the next 200+ pages to what amounts to the report of a lifelong session on the couch with Philippe d'Orléans, specifically citing Freudian theory at every turn to explain almost everything Monsieur did or was. This is not history, this is not a biography, this is a clinical case report. Especially interesting is her explanation of Philippe's homosexuality as a guilt-ridden obsession (because he hated his brother/father) to "debase" himself.
1.0 out of 5 stars Did not think much of the authers anti-gay sentiment. 23 Nov 2013
By Stacy Watford - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This book has a bias against anything Gay and uses Freud to make the case. It does give some insight into the life of Philippe, Duke of Orleans but it gives much more insight into the prejudice of the day in which the book was written.
8 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Philippe we hardly knew you 3 May 2002
By M. A Newman - Published on Amazon.com
This book sets out to right a great wrong. The Duke of Orleans comes across as a petty and, at times, annoying figure in the Memoirs of St Simon. Ms. Barker's work does much to make up for what St Simon has done in the past. However, the work is flawed by Ms Barker's use of Freudian psychology to explain the Duke's homosexuality. This is probably the only real flaw in this book, but it is sufficient to undermine an unqualified recommendation.
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