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the great classic of Memoirs,
This review is from: Memoirs of Duc de Saint-Simon, 1691-1709: A Shortened Version (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.
Volume 1 covers the period 1691-1709, volume 2 1710-1715 and finally volume 3 1715-1723. It is a must read when interested in the rule of Luois XIV and the regency period.But do not take erveything face value. One needs to remember where the author did come from. But it makes a great read. Indeed the great classic of Memoirs.