Graf Shuvalov
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Louis XVI - A Mature Stud ?!

user image 2012-02-07
By: Graf Shuvalov
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While we have a common view of the man namedLouis Auguste de Bourbon, Dauphin (in 1773 Versailles RP) and king historically by 1774, at one point or another, we found his man...nay a boy, we found him a boy. A boy who liked to play with locks, and eat all his time, shy and a push over, who would take him seriously..did the court? HisSubjects? His Wife?


The Author of the Blog, Tea at the Trianon , posted anarticleseveral years ago, questioning if our currently view, which hasuniversallyaccepted, is true.

A King Maligned

Fron Tea at the Trainon

Some biographers, in seeking to change public opinion about Marie-Antoinette, attempt to redeem her at the expense of her husband, King Louis XVI. Louis-Auguste is portrayed as a repressed, impotent, dull-witted, indifferent husband, who drove his wife to gambling , dancing and spending exorbitant amounts of money as an outlet for her thwarted impulses. Stefan Zweig, a disciple of Sigmund Freud, was one of the first to impart to the public the image of the sexually frustrated teenage princess, which successiv e authors continue to promote to this day.

The drawback of the Freudian theory is that it does not explain why others at the French court, who were enjoying unmitigated pleasures of the flesh, were spending much more money than eighteen year old Marie-Antoinette. In vindicating Marie-Antoinette, still falsely perceived as the queen who took lovers and who danced while the people starved, it is necessary to gain a true perspective of her spouse, beyond the archetype of the fat, indolent husband, spoiling a wife he could not satisfy. One must look behind the myths, deliberately propagated and perpetuated in order to sell boo ks and movies about alleged extramarital love affairs, as well as to justify the excesses of the French Revolution. The reality about this tragic royal couple may not be as sensational as some biographies tell it, but it is as exciting, heart-rending and beautiful as any make-believe romance.

Louis XVI is systematically shown as being ugly, obese, smelly, and stupid. By contemporary standards, however, he was considered handsome, with his aquiline nose, deep set blue-grey eyes, and full sensual mouth. As a youth he was tall and thin, the tallest man at Court, and enjoyed intense physical exercise, such as hunting and hammering at his forge (he was a locksmith by hobby.) His physical strength was legendary; he could lift a shovel to shoulder height with a young boy standing on the end of it. Possessing the hardy Bourbon appetite, he developed a paunch as he approached his thirties. He was awkward and shy in his manner although not without dignity in his bearing. The efforts of his detractors to make him unattractive and therefore unlovable serves the purpose of giving his wife an "excuse" for chronic infidelity, another highly-popularized myth. Continue reading here...

Read the Rest of the Article on the main page, from Tea at the Trainon , don't forget to leave your comments and views here!!

Best Regards,


Lady Hartfield
08 Feb 2012 12:56:40PM @lady-hartfield:

It's well known that people who spend all their time applying Freudian theory are sexually frustrated. Quod erat demonstratum, no?

The truth is that both Louis-Auguste and Marie-Antoinette have gotten a bad rap, she is neither as glittering and frigid nor he as lumbering and galumphing as they have been made out to be. Louis, in particular, was always able to command a majestic bearing in front of his subjects (often to the surprise of his courtiers), and reading the events of the Revolution is often heartbreaking, seeing how at times like the Confederation of 1790 (the anniversary of the storming of the Bastille) he could win the hearts of all simply by being present, and serve as a rallying point. I think his story, his and Antoinette's, is truly a tragedy in the classical sense because it involves two well-meaning people who are moved ever closer to a doomed destiny by unstoppable events. If only Corneille or Racine (whom Louis knew by heart) had lived after them, instead of before, they would have found this couple fit subjects for an excellent work.

MarieLouise Harcourt
11 Feb 2012 07:25:07AM @marielouise-harcourt:

Very interesting! I'm afraid that with all the different views on these figures, we'll never be able to completely tell what they were like. I have been meaning to read a interesting biography on Louis XVI, so, if you have any suggestions those would be very welcome :)

Aimee Wheatcliffe
29 Feb 2012 10:31:17AM @aimee-wheatcliffe:

Here we can see one example of one of the greatest mistakes of thehistorians: change the history to give a favorable look to one figure. Marie Antoinette wasn't a monster, but she wasn't an angel either. She was human, she had virtues and vices, like all of us.