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Rachel-K
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Louis Auguste

What kind of man and what kind of king is Louis Auguste ? What can we make of him through Marie Antoinette’s eyes?
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marcialou
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Re: Louis Auguste

I see Louis Auguste as being a rather ordinary man (boy when we first meet him) stuck in extraordinary circumstances. He wasn't cut out to be King; he wasn't meant to be King. In some ways he was as much a prisoner of the Court as Marie Antoinette. He worked at his forge as a way of escaping the pressures of court life just as MA first took to the fast life and then retreated to her private quarters with her children.

I am currently reading Tale of Two Cities and have met the unjustly imprisoned doctor who took to shoe making to relieve himself of the misery of prison life. Shoe making and iron working: they seemed to fill similar functions in the two men's lives.

Marcia
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katknit
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Re: Louis Auguste

As I was reading, not only Abundance but other MA bios, the thought kept recurring that Louis was either secretly homosexual by nature or struggling to repress his (latent?) inclinations. He certainly seemed disinterested in the physical side of his marriage to a beautiful young bride. You also have to wonder about inbreeding in the royal family and what effect that had on Louis's more general makeup and intellectual capacity. He strikes me as remaining exceedingly childish. I don't think he was retarded but he doesn't seem like the sharpest knife in the drawer.
No two persons ever read the same book. [Edmund Wilson]
jd
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jd
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Re: Louis Auguste

I also found the king to be slow and dull. His decisions effecting the situation of France at the time were awful and when he got good advice he was unable to see it. The children and MA suffered for it. Both of these people were raised to be royal, and yes they were young but they had the best available minds at their command. Somehow they couldn't or would'nt see where this was leading them and died for their bad decisions. I also wonder how a country could support a revolution and not expect the revolution to show on their own shores? Wikipedia has a lot of info on Louis and MA and the revolution and reign of terror. -jd
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viva2
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Re: Louis Auguste


katknit wrote:
You also have to wonder about inbreeding in the royal family and what effect that had on Louis's more general makeup and intellectual capacity. He strikes me as remaining exceedingly childish. I don't think he was retarded but he doesn't seem like the sharpest knife in the drawer.




You raise an interesting question when you speak of inbreeding. I tested the theory by looking at the children of the King and Queen and came to the ultimate conclusion that we did not have nearly enough information to say that inbreeding entered into the equation.

Admittedly, this is far from the designated subject for this thread, just as a warning.

The first son, the Dauphin, Louis Joseph, was small and sickly from birth and died in childhood from complications from something like scoliosis with attendant breathing problems. This was likely an unfortunate genetic combination. Population genetics does not suggest that spinal problems are associated with inbreeding, that I know of.

On her birthday in 1783, the Queen had a miscarriage, but there was no probative information regarding the cause of the miscarriage, insufficient information.

Then, lastly, the second daughter, the infant Sophie, large at birth, suffered failure to thrive and died of a fever accompanied by convulsions, attributed at the time to complications from teething. Even today, it is not uncommon for infants with a high fever to have convulsions. They usually survive with no sequelae with the help of antibiotics.

Then there is the question of Sophie's failure to thrive. We know nothing of the care and feeding of the royal infants and children of France. However, in the pre-Elizabethan period in England, royal infants were fed diets which by today's standards would be considered examples of neglect or abuse. Such diets could easily explain why royal infants failed to thrive. If such care and feeding was still in practice much later in France, it might explain failure to thrive.

I just could not come up with any real evidence of inbreeding definitively causing harm to the children of the King and Queen. Interesting to examine what we were given in the book to work with.

This post is so far off subject for this thread. I'll have to consider a genuine answer tomorrow.
jd
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jd
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Re: Louis Auguste

It was common for first and second cousins to marry and thus at some point have a spoiled gene pool. I thought one of the reasons for going outside of France for a bride was to increase the gene pool selection as well as shore up relations with Austria-jd
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driamaria
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Re: Louis Auguste

He strikes me as incredibly dull. Other than that, I don't really have anything to say about him, because he really doesn't seem to do a whole lot....
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viva2
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Re: Louis Auguste


jd wrote:
It was common for first and second cousins to marry and thus at some point have a spoiled gene pool. I thought one of the reasons for going outside of France for a bride was to increase the gene pool selection as well as shore up relations with Austria-jd




Good point. You are absolutely right about first and second cousins marrying. In Hawaii and in ancient Egypt royals married their siblings with bad results for some, of course.

I remembered Louis Joseph and thought I would play around with the question of the offspring of Louis XVI, just for fun and late at night, to see what came up. I tend to go off on a tangent now and then for my own amusement.

This still does not speak to the lineage that produced Louis XVI, about which I know nothing. I may look into it if I stay up very late again.
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marcialou
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Re: Louis Auguste

I don't think Louis Auguste was stupid. He was well read and understood the issues of his times. I think he said to MA that the trick was to keep the nobles happy while providing for the masses. But it takes more than intelligence to lead. He lacked leadership qualities.

As for his sexual inadequacies, he may have had physical problems. He was shy and awkward and married to a stranger at 15. If he were alive today as a non royal he'd probably be a computer programmer or in some other solitary profession where being different was more tolerated. He'd probably never marry. To paraphrase the Wizard of Oz, he was a good man, just not a very good king.

Marcia
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viva2
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Re: Louis Auguste


marcialou wrote:
I don't think Louis Auguste was stupid. He was well read and understood the issues of his times. I think he said to MA that the trick was to keep the nobles happy while providing for the masses. But it takes more than intelligence to lead. He lacked leadership qualities.

To paraphrase the Wizard of Oz, he was a good man, just not a very good king.

Marcia


I agree that the King understood the problems but that is a far cry from knowing how to solve the problems and yet another far cry from being able to implement the solutions. He understood the problems and was overwhelmed by the enormity of the problem and vascillated endlessly. In Act IV, when the family at last is fleeing Paris the Queen voices her last frisson of frustration regarding her husband:

"I can see that he is changing. He spoke to Fersen with unusual and resolute firmness. But of what merit is firmness if it represents a wrong choice?"

It was all too soon after that point that both the King and Queen began to be stripped of the last vestiges of royal denial about the hopelessness of their situation.

From that point on, both showed exquisite sensitivity to the feelings of the other and an unswerving loyalty, closeness and caring for each other that is a tribute to their belated adaptibility in the face of realization of the likelihood that either or both would die at the hands of the mob.

This change builds on the earlier facile skill of the Dauphine/Queen at making all comers feel at ease and comfortable in the presence of royalty. What was first part of her duty as Dauphine, later helped her to soothe hostile and menacing crowds, utimately becoming genuine humility in appreciation of the smallest generosity and kindness that could come her way - an amazing evolution of awareness.

Both the King and Queen finally understood at the most basic level their simple humanity, and did not give in to recrimination or bitterness or revenge.

The Queen expressed the greatest admiration for the King for his final letter to the young Dauphin, entreating him not to seek revenge for his father's assassination.
She came to a simple, spiritual understanding of the nobility of her husband.

The two mirrored each other and were amazing examples of grace under fire. In a very short period of time they came to face their fates with true nobility of spirit.
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Fozzie
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Re: Louis Auguste



viva2 wrote:

I remembered Louis Joseph and thought I would play around with the question of the offspring of Louis XVI, just for fun and late at night, to see what came up. I tend to go off on a tangent now and then for my own amusement.





I thought it was a very interesting tangent!
Laura

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Fozzie
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Re: Louis Auguste



rkubie wrote:
What kind of man and what kind of king is Louis Auguste ? What can we make of him through Marie Antoinette’s eyes?



Based on what MA "taught" me about Louis Auguste, I would describe him as a quiet, caring, supportive, loyal, honest man.

I don't feel I have the information with which to judge him as King.
Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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viva2
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Re: Louis Auguste


Fozzie wrote:


viva2 wrote:

I remembered Louis Joseph and thought I would play around with the question of the offspring of Louis XVI, just for fun and late at night, to see what came up. I tend to go off on a tangent now and then for my own amusement.





I thought it was a very interesting tangent!




Thanks. I felt a bit self indulgent in posting it since it was so off subject.
I use some of my posts as a way of puzzling through my reactions to the book, (again, a little self indulgent as I do not think it through before I write).
Thank you for forgiving my ramblings, one of many.
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SenaJeterNaslund
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Re: Louis Auguste

Marcia, I love your commparison of Louis at the forge and Doctor Manet at his cobbler's bench. Antoinette also liked to do needlework, as a creative outlet and a way of keeping busy.




marcialou wrote:
I see Louis Auguste as being a rather ordinary man (boy when we first meet him) stuck in extraordinary circumstances. He wasn't cut out to be King; he wasn't meant to be King. In some ways he was as much a prisoner of the Court as Marie Antoinette. He worked at his forge as a way of escaping the pressures of court life just as MA first took to the fast life and then retreated to her private quarters with her children.

I am currently reading Tale of Two Cities and have met the unjustly imprisoned doctor who took to shoe making to relieve himself of the misery of prison life. Shoe making and iron working: they seemed to fill similar functions in the two men's lives.

Marcia


jd
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jd
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Re: Louis Auguste

Marie Therese - mother of MA, had 16 children and most of them married into royal houses in other countries of europe. MT was responsible for possibly changing the gene pool, unfortunately, MA was unable to complete her reign in France. Her mother was a great role model but MA was too young and really not allowed to express an opinion or thought to have an opinion on how to proceed - jd
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