In many minds Madame de Pompadour has remained an upstart, disparaged and disparaged commoner.
Pierre de Nolhac, in his " Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour ", Offers us a very different portrait of the royal mistress, telling us about her life, proving her intelligence, perhaps the self-sacrifice of this courageous woman.
The life of Madame de Pompadour has been much criticized, because it is told on the basis of Memoirs of her enemies such as the disgraced Minister of Argenson who went after her. She also had against her the Church and the Revolutionaries who accused her of the King's excesses as well as of the dismal state of the kingdom's finances. The envious, the spiteful have thus succeeded in drawing up a wicked and a bad portrait of the Marchioness.
Pierre de Nolhac admirably repaints Madame de Pompadour for us, tells us about her life and her struggle against slanderers and envious people "because she sincerely loved the King", using the Memoirs of serious characters, such as the Abbot of Bernis who became a cardinal , the Duke of Croÿ who was one of the few to “have seen” while the others “have heard spoken”, the Duke of Luynes and his precious journal; letters from M. Poisson, father of the Marchioness, addressed to his son the Marquis de Marigny, those from the farmer general M. Le Normant de Tournehem, who had become Director of the King's Buildings; finally, documents concerning the family, deposited in the National Archives, as well as the correspondence of diplomatic agents abroad.
The work begins in 1746 on the occasion of the marriage of the Dauphin with the Infanta of Spain, and ends in October 1752 when Madame de Pompadour has just obtained the much desired "stool".
Pierre de Nolhac therefore does not mention the last twelve years of the new Duchess but the day when the Memoirs of the Duke of Choiseul will be analyzed, it may well be that Madame de Pompadour will be completely rehabilitated and that we will really know her political role.
In parallel with the life of the Marquise de Pompadour, the reader deliciously immerses himself in this typical 18th century atmosphere, with among others the parties given during alliances, dances, ballrooms in public places, trips , the various residences, the incessant displacements because "the king is always by way and by way". But we must not forget the reluctance of the Church, the constant opposition of the King and the Dauphin, the very first signs of a revolution because the people are dissatisfied with the actions of the royal mistress ... all based on letters, passages from memoirs of great men who have worked with the King and Madame de Pompadour.
The whole book is therefore a real pleasure to read, fluid, concise, very erudite. The reader delves with joy into the work of this great humanist who is the academician Pierre de Nolhac!
Louis XV and Madame de Pompadour. by Pierre de Nolhac. Editions Graines d'autor. September 2011.