Princes and Poisoners: Studies of the Court of Louis XIV

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TWELVE months ago I had the honour of introducing M. Frantz Funck-Brentano to the English public by my translation of his Legendes et Archives de la Bastille, and in my preface to that book I gave a rapid sketch of his career which need not be repeated. If history is to be continually reconstructed, or rather, perhaps, to undergo a process of destructive distillation, there is no one more competent than M. Funck-Brentano to perform the feat. We lose our illusions with our teeth; the fables that charmed our childhood dissolve in the modern historian's test-tube, and the mysteries that fascinated our forebears become clear with a few drops of his critical acid. In his former book, M. Funck-Brentano solved once for all the mystery of the Man in the Iron Mask, showed up the impostor Latude in his true colours, and gave us surprising information about the latter days of the Bastille.
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October 14, 2013
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