The Age of Louis XIV

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VOLTAIRE The Age of Louis XIV Voltaire's "History of the Age of Louis XIV.," was published when its author (see p. 259), long famous, was the companion of Frederick the Great in Prussia--from 1750 to 1753. Voltaire was in his twentieth year when the Grand Monarque died. Louis XIV. had succeeded his father at the age of five years, in 1643; his nominal reign covered seventy-one years, and throughout the fifty-three years which followed Mazarin's death his declaration "L'État c'est moi" had been politically and socially a truth. He controlled France with an absolute sway; under him she achieved a European ascendency without parallel save in the days of Napoleon. He sought to make her the dictator of Europe. But for William of Orange, Marlborough, and Eugene, he would have succeeded. Politically he did not achieve his aim; but under him France became the unchallenged leader of literary and artistic culture and taste, the universal criterion.
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May 1, 2013
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