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King Louis XIV

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Book Categories: The King, Reign, Mazarin and Mancinis, Mistresses, Affair of the Poisons, Saint-Simon, Parents, Brother, Grande Mademoiselle, Wars, Iron Mask, Other, Fiction, Versailles, French Royalty, DVDs

The King

The Sun King by Nancy Mitford. This classic biography covers the daily life of the king, the court, and the government, and reconstructs the course of Louis's love affairs.

Louis XIV by Ian Dunlop. This biography brilliantly achieves the author's aim "to help my readers see [Louis] as his contemporaries saw him." (Review © Amazon.com)

Louis XIV by Anthony Levi. Biography that examines the conflict between the French king's lofty persona and his human, often tragic and far-reaching errors.

King of the World: The Life of Louis XIV by Philip Mansel. This comprehensive biography of the hypnotic, flawed French king pays special attention to the culture of the court.

Louis XIV: The Power and the Glory by Josephine Wilkinson. Biography. The Sun King's story includes beguiling women, court intrigue, a mistress immersed in the dark arts, and a romantic central character with a frighteningly dark side.

Louis XIV by Richard Wilkinson. This biography focuses on the French king's personal life and argues that his rule resulted in the suffering of millions.

Louis XIV: The Real Sun King by Aurora von Goeth and Jules Harper. Gives a personal glimpse into the Sun King's life and times as he rose in power and influence. Illustrated with little-known artworks.

A Lust for Virtue by Philip F. Riley is about Louis XIV's attack on sin in 17th century France.

His Reign & Court

The Splendid Century: Life in the France of Louis XIV by W.H. Lewis. Concise and interesting account of the king's reign and era.

The Essence of Style: How the French Invented High Fashion, Fine Food, Chic Cafes, Style, Sophistication, and Glamour by Joan DeJean. According to the author, Louis XIV set the standards of fashion and luxury that still rule today.

Europe in the Age of Louis XIV by Richard C. Hatton and Ragnhild H. Hatton.

The Fabrication of Louis XIV by Peter Burke. An account of representations of Louis XIV in paintings and engravings, medals and sculptures, plays, ballets, and operas.

The Dream of Absolutism: Louis XIV and the Logic of Modernity by Hall Bjørnstad. Argues that the exuberance of Louis XIV's reign was not propaganda, but a collective dream.

Politics and Monarchy

Sunspots and the Sun King: Sovereignty and Mediation in Seventeenth-Century France by Ellen McClure. Discusses Louis XIV's attempts to legitimize his reign.

Louis XIV and the Parlements: The Assertion of Royal Authority by John Jeter Hurt. The first scholarly study of the political and economic relationship between Louis XIV and the parliaments of France, the parliament of Paris, and all the provincial tribunals.

Louis XIV and Absolutism: A Brief Study With Documents by William Beik. Explores the meaning of absolute monarchy by examining how Louis XIV became one of Europe's most successful rulers.

Feminism, Absolutism, and Jansenism: Louis XIV and the Port-Royal Nuns by Daniella Kostroun. The abbey of Port-Royal-des-Champs was disbanded by Louis XIV in 1709 as a threat to the state. Its nuns responded to royal persecution with a defense of women's equality and the autonomy of the individual subject, challenging the foundations of absolutism.

Cardinal Mazarin & His Family

Mazarin: The Crisis of Absolutism in France by G. R. R. Treasure is about the cardinal who advised the young Louis XIV and, some say, fathered the Man in the Iron Mask.

1652: The Cardinal, the Prince, and the Crisis of the Fronde by David Parrott. This book raises questions about the rule of Cardinal Mazarin, Richelieu, and the absolutism of Louis XIV.

The Kings' Mistresses: The Liberated Lives of Marie Mancini, Princess Colonna, and Her Sister Hortense, Duchess Mazarin by Elizabeth C. Goldsmith. The Mancini sisters were brought to the court of Louis XIV their uncle, Cardinal Mazarin. Their scandalous behavior became a sensation.

Memoirs by Hortense Mancini and Marie Mancini, edited and translated by Sarah Nelson. Through their writings, the Mancinis sought to rehabilitate their reputations.

Prince Eugen of Savoy by Nicholas Henderson. Prince Eugen was the son of a French count and Cardinal Mazarin's niece Olympia Mancini, but it was rumored that his real father was Louis XIV. He became an Austrian military hero.

The King's Mistresses & Wives

Love and Louis XIV: The Women in the Life of the Sun King by Antonia Fraser. About the king's mother; his mistresses Louise de la Valliere and Athenais, Marquise de Montespan; his wife, Marie Therese; his children's governess, Madame de Maintenon; and his daughters, granddaughters, and grandson's wife.

Athenais, the Real Queen of France by Lisa Hilton. Biography of Athenais de Montespan, mistress of Louis XIV. The greatest beauty of her day, Athenais' life was lived sensationally until accusations of witchcraft forced her from power.

The Secret Wife of Louis XIV: Françoise d'Aubigné, Madame de Maintenon by Veronica Buckley. Biography. Born in a bleak prison in 1635, Françoise d'Aubigné eventually won the heart of the Sun King and became the uncrowned queen of France.

Queen of Versailles: Madame de Maintenon, First Lady of Louis XIV's France by Mark Bryant. How the dynamics of power and gender operated in the Sun King's court.

The Affair of the Poisons

The Affair of the Poisons: Murder, Infanticide and Satanism at the Court of Louis XIV by Anne Somerset. About the scandal that implicated a number of prominent persons at the court of the Sun King.

The Affair of the Poisons by Frances Mossiker. Louis XIV, Madame De Montespan, and one of history's great unsolved mysteries.


Saint-Simon and the Court of Louis XIV by Emmanuel Le Roy Ladurie, translated by Arthur Goldhammer. Offers a portrait of life under Louis XIV, focusing on hierarchy and rank in a tightly controlled setting. This book is not only about Saint-Simon's place in the court at Versailles but also about the court itself and political life during the Old Regime.

Memoirs of the Duc de Saint-Simon, Volume 1 translated by Lucy Norton. The Duc de Saint-Simon was a man of political skill and influence at the heart of Louis XIV's court. This first volume of his memoirs covers the years 1691-1709.

Memoirs of the Duc de Saint-Simon, Volume 2 edited by Lucy Norton. This volume covers the years 1710-1715, including the wars with the coalition led by the Duke of Marlborough, the death of the dauphin and two of the king's grandsons, and the death of Louis XIV himself.

Memoirs of the Duc de Saint-Simon, Volume 3 translated by Lucy Norton. Covers 1715-1723; describes the funeral of Louis XIV; the ensuing violent quarrels of the Duc d'Orleans and the Duc de Maine; espionage and intrigues concerning the Stuart pretender to the English throne; the debauched life of the regent, the persecution of Voltaire - and much more.

Louis XIII and Anne of Austria

Louis XIII, the Just by A. Lloyd Moote. Biography.

Anne of Austria: Queen of France by Ruth Kleinman is a biography of Louis XIV's strong-willed mother.

Portrayal of Anne of Austria in Modern French Literature: Spanish Infanta or French Queen? by Michael G. Paulson and Tamara Alvarez-Detrell. Although many biographies of Louis XIV's mother exist, this is the first to evaluate her as a literary figure.

Philippe, Duke of Orleans

Brother to the Sun King: Philippe, Duke of Orleans by Nancy Nichols Barker. Excellent biography of the king's much-maligned brother.

Philippe's First Wife

Books About Princess Henrietta Anne

Philippe's Second Wife

Letters From Liselotte edited and translated by Maria Kroll. This book is simply great. Liselotte (Elisabeth Charlotte, Princess Palatine and Duchess of Orleans), called Madame at court, was the German-born second wife of Louis XIV's brother Philippe. She did not get along with her husband, and in fact was said to be in love with the king. Her lively, frank letters give an intimate look at royal life.

A Woman's Life in the Court of the Sun King by Elisabeth Charlotte, translated by Elborg Forster. Another nice collection of Liselotte Von Der Pfalz's letters.

The Princess and the Philosopher: Letters of Elisabeth of the Palatine to Rene Descartes by Andrea Nye.

La Grande Mademoiselle

La Grande Mademoiselle at the Court of France: 1627-1693 by Vincent J. Pitts. Biography of a princess who was a cousin of Louis XIV. She is still remembered for her unconventional life, heroic deeds, and literary works.

Against Marriage: The Correspondence of La Grande Mademoiselle by Anne-Marie-Louise D'Orleans, Duchesse de Montpensier; edited by Joan DeJean. In 17th-century France, women were legally subservient to their husbands. The duchesse de Montpensier - a first cousin of Louis XIV - was an exception, thanks to the wealth she inherited from her mother. In these daring letters, she condemns the alliance system of marriage. Bilingual edition.

War & Military

The Wars of Louis XIV, 1664-1714 by John A. Lynn. For 40 years, France was continuously at war. The campaigns secured little territory and almost bankrupted the country, and the consequences for the French monarchy were dramatic.

Absolute Monarchy on the Frontiers: Louis XIV's Military Occupations of Lorraine and Savoy by Phil McCluskey. Investigates the aims of the French monarchy in occupying these regions, the problems of administering them, and relations with local elite groups.

The Dynastic State and the Army Under Louis XIV: Royal Service and Private Interest 1661-1701 by Guy Rowlands. Asserts that the key to the development of Louis XIV's armed forces was the king's determination to satisfy the aspirations of his officers and maintain the standing of the Bourbon dynasty.

Louis XIV and the Origins of the Dutch War by Paul Sonnino. Racine eulogized the war as a brilliantly executed venture; Saint-Simon saw it as a disaster. Professor Sonnino explains the agonizing decisions that preceded one of the most dramatic conflicts of the 17th century.


The Man Who Outshone the Sun King: A Life of Gleaming Opulence and Wretched Reversal in the Reign of Louis XIV by Charles Drazin. The rise and fall of Nicolas Fouquet, Louis XIV's first minister, in the lavish and hazardous world of the royal court in 17th century France.

Princesse of Versailles by Charles Elliott. Entertaining biography of the king's beloved granddaughter-in-law, Marie Adelaide of Savoy.

Facing the Revocation: Huguenot Families, Faith, and the King's Will by Carolyn Chappell Lougee. The Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, issued under Louis XIV in 1685, criminalized Protestantism. This book is about how members of one noble family reacted to the law.

Scenes From the Marriage of Louis XIV: Nuptial Fictions and the Making of Absolutist Power by Abby E. Zanger. Examines "the fictions that emerge from visual, narrative, and ceremonial representations of (and reactions to) the 1660 marriage of Louis XIV."


The Sun King's Garden: Louis XIV, Andre le Notre and the Creation of the Gardens of Versailles by Ian Thompson. Warmonger, womanizer, and autocrat, Louis XIV was also a fanatical gardener. Assisting him was low-born gardener André Le Nôtre. This lavishly illustrated book tells the intertwined stories of an extraordinary garden and an extraordinary friendship.

Andre Le Notre: Gardener to the Sun King by Erik Orsenna, translated by Moishe Black. About the landscape gardener who worked for Louis XIV at Versailles. Includes photos and illustrations.

Books About Versailles

Art, Drama, Literature

Woven Gold: Tapestries of Louis XIV by Charissa Bremer-David. Tapestries were displayed in the royal palaces when the court was in residence. This illustrated catalogue accompanies an exhibition at the J. Paul Getty Museum.

Louis XIV Outside In: Images of the Sun King Beyond France, 1661-1715 edited by Tony Claydon and Charles-Édouard Levillain. Examines the use of images of Louis XIV abroad, and how his power was frequently denied, subverted, or appropriated.

Scene Design at the Court of Louis XIV - The Work of the Vigarani Family and Jean Berain by Frederick Paul Tollini. Theatrical scenery at the court of Louis XIV.

The Poet and the King by Marc Fumaroli, translated by Jean Marie Todd. Looks at how the French poet La Fontaine survived King Louis XIV's attempts to enforce an official cultural style.


Before Versailles: A Novel of Louis XIV by Karleen Koen. Twenty-two-year-old King Louis willfully takes everything he can get -- including his brother's wife. But there are problems lurking: a boy in an iron mask has been seen in the woods, and the king's finance minister could become a dangerous foe.

Enchantress of Paris: A Novel of the Sun King's Court by Marci Jefferson. Louis XIV is captivated by Marie Mancini's charm. Her rival for his attention is her own sister, Olympia.

Louise De La Valliere by Alexandre Dumas. Novel about Louis XIV's first mistress.

Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland. Novel about Louise de la Vallière, mistress of France's Louis XIV, the Sun King.

The Shadow Queen by Sandra Gulland. Novel about a personal attendant of Athénaïs de Montespan, mistress to French king Louis XIV.

In the Shadow of the Sun King by Golden Keyes Parsons. A Protestant in Catholic France, Madeleine Clavell tries to save her family by calling on her past love affair with King Louis XIV. (Christian fiction.)

Books About the Man in the Iron Mask
Versailles and Other French Royal Palaces
Books About French Royalty

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The Man in the Iron Mask
Marie Antoinette
Napoleon Bonaparte
French Royalty

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