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Memoirs of the Duc De Saint-Simon: 1715-23 v. 3 (Prion lost treasures) [Paperback]

Duc De Saint-Simon , Lucy Norton
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Book Description

7 Feb 2000 Prion lost treasures
This is the third volume in Lucy Norton's three-volume abridgement and translation of the the memoirs of the Duc de Saint-Simon, first published in the 1960s. The court of Louis XIV, the Sun King, at Versailles was unequalled for splendour in Europe's history, a hotbed of intrigues and jealousy, passion both political and personal, as well as artistic and literary excellence - this is its memorial. This, like the previous volumes, is peppered throughout with character sketches which bring the period to life. The third volume starts with the funeral of Louis XIV, the ensuing violent quarrels of the Duc d'Orleans, the Regent, and the Duc de Maine, senior of the late king's bastards, espionage and intrigues concerning the Stuart pretender to the English throne, the debauched life of the Regent and his "public Harem", the persecution of Voltaire, French reaction to the union of Scotland and England, the death of the Regent - and much more.

Product details

  • Paperback: 536 pages
  • Publisher: Prion Books Ltd; New edition edition (7 Feb 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1853753548
  • ISBN-13: 978-1853753541
  • Product Dimensions: 21.4 x 13.6 x 4.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,086,005 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Louis de Rouvroy, Duc de Saint-Simon (not - as he would immediately have pointed out - your average, two-a-penny Duc, but a Duc et Pair de France) was practically a midget, had a hump and was a ferocious snob. This did not in any way make him unacceptable at the Court of the Sun King, though it gave plentiful opportunities to his many enemies to poke malicious fun at him.
However, he got his own back in his renowned Memoires - written up in 1740-46 from notes he had kept at the time. Almost no-one of any importance escaped his sharp tongue and barbed assessments. In fact many of the characters he describes would be just dry names on tombs but for his work.
From the King himself (who completely pervades the first two volumes of Lucy Norton's excellent translation) to the Duchess who could never contain her bowels at long card games, and left a trail across the floors of Versailles like a snail, Saint-Simon breathes squirming, intense life into the stiff portraits of periwigged worthies and tight-bodiced noblewomen.
Ironically, he is often at his funniest when describing pompous snobs (the Bishop who has two huge family trees painted on his walls showing his descent from both the Roman and Byzantine Emperors, the infamous bore who was appointed to the Academie Royale solely so that the King and the entire court could laugh at his fantastically vain acceptance speech).
But he is also capable of providing images that fix themselves indelibly in the mind, such as the aged Archbishop, exiled from court to his country estate, walking in his gardens with his mistress - whilst behind them his servants sweep away the traces of their footsteps.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the great classic of Memoirs 8 Oct 2009
By Amelrode TOP 1000 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback
Louis de Rouvroy, duc de Saint-Simon (1675 - 1755), French soldier, diplomatate and politican. At the age of 18 he followed his father as the 2nd Duke of Saint-Simon and Pair de France. He was raised with the "enfants de France, the cildren of the royal family, and developed a great freindship with the future Duke of Orleans and Regent of France.
He was very proud of his status and quite pompous. His life was was and long and high as was his position, he did not achieve many noteworthy things. Louis XIV did not like and so only after the Sun King's death in 1715 he became a memember of the Regency Council and later ambassador to Spain. But he did not carry much political weight. Witht the death of the Regent he retired from Court life. Only in 1739 he srated to write his Memoirs. These cover the period from 1691 bis 1723 and were finished only in 1750.They were fully published only in 1829/30.

He wrote from an early age, collected an huge amout of gossip and information which all formed the basis for his memoirs. He showed a great skill for narrative and for character-drawing. His French was superb and inventive. Of course that is lost now as it has became part of the French langauge. In the English version this is totally lost. His Memoirs are far from being fair or an objective account. He quite clearly shoed his preferences and views. His special hate was however reserved for the
"the bastards," the illegitimate children of Louis XIV. It does not appear that this hatred was founded on moral reasons or fear that these bastards would be intruded into the succession. The true cause of his wrath was that they had ceremonial precedence over the peers that is so say over himself.He was gratified by the degradation of "the bastards who lost their royal status.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Third Volume of the Duc de Saint-Simon's Memoirs 17 Dec 2001
By shane - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Memoirs of the Duc de Saint-Simon is one of those rare books that compel one to pick up a pen and try their own hand at the literary caper. The easy flow of the narrative, and, as the Memoirs progress, his delightful vitriol read as if receiving a letter from a long lost friend. The very fact that Saint-Simon's everyday life revolved around the French court of the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries makes it all the more fascinating for the modern reader. A word of warning - the long-winded French names and the plethora of ever changing titles can get confusing.
There would be few who could not be moved by Saint-Simon's rapturous delight at the defeat of his enemies, where his writing is at its unequalled best. However, by far the greatest strength of these Memoirs is the authors humbleness. Time and again he apologies to his reader for lengthy diversions, and for his inability to handle the material well, yet it cannot be denied that he is the greatest memoir writer to have lived, in all senses of the word. His conclusion, admiting that he can be repetitive and long winded is a tour de force, and we are allowed a knowing smile when we recollect that his pride has so often shone through elsewhere - there is nothing more pleasant to read than the work of a HUMAN author, with all the quirks and failings of our own. The translator's (Lucy Norton) footnotes are extremely helpful without being cumbersome. While the length of the three volumes will alienate many a potential reader, they are well worth any time invested in their perusal.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful detail! 26 Aug 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I am a diehard fan of European royal history and I loved this book. It is the first part of the memoirs of a Duke who lived in France during the last years of Louis XIV and during the regency of Duc de Orleans, Louis XV's minority. He is very detailed, telling stories about all of the people at court. Lucy Norton has done a great job of leaving the interesting tidbits in and leaving out the dull, long stories on politics, treaties, etc. I am more interested in biographies and this book was just what I love, you really get to know a lot about court life during this period. This third volume deals with the regency of the Duc d'Oreleans and the coronation of Louis XV.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful detail! 26 Aug 2001
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I am a diehard fan of European royal history and I loved this book. It is the first part of the memoirs of a Duke who lived in France during the last years of Louis XIV and during the regency of Duc de Orleans, Louis XV's minority. He is very detailed, telling stories about all of the people at court. Lucy Norton has done a great job of leaving the interesting tidbits in and leaving out the dull, long stories on politics, treaties, etc. I am more interested in biographies and this book was just what I love, you really get to know a lot about court life during this period. This first volume deals with the reign of Louis XIV and all of the intrigues as he is 53-71 years old.
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