A new biography of Madame de Maintenon, by Veronica Buckley

Madame de Maintenon Veronica Buckley

Madame de Maintenon Veronica Buckley

New in the United States, that is, because it was published last year in the UK. I saw this review in the New York Times.

What the NYT reviewer does not mention is that Ms. Buckley’s book had created quite a stir, in that it cited as a prominent source the Secret Diary of Louis XIV. The problem was that the diary in question had not been written by the Sun King but by French historian François Bluche. The UK publication date had to be postponed to allow for required corrections.

Fellow historical novelist Sandra Gulland, who has read the book (I have not) pointed out her blog, Baroque Explorations, other, less spectacular errors.

I visited Madame de Maintenon’s chateau this summer, and will post shortly on this beautiful place and its extraordinary owner…

Madame de Maintenon

Madame de Maintenon

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3 Comments to “A new biography of Madame de Maintenon, by Veronica Buckley”

  1. Ammie Trites says:

    I’m definitely seeking for this facts. Finally, I determined it and with thanks to you.

  2. Catherine Delors says:

    Quite so, Suzanne. We have seen the problem with various biographies of Marie-Antoinette. The problem here was not that the author was not scrupulous, but it seems that she was not familiar enough with the context to distinguish between an authentic document and a modern work of fiction.

    Oddly enough the most meticulously researched book about Madame de Maintenon may be a work of historical fiction, Françoise Chandernagor’s magnificent L’Allée du Roi (The King’s Way.)

  3. Suzanne says:

    It’s a travesty that the main criterion in history and biography (even, or perhaps especially, popular history and biography) seems to be, “is it entertaining?” rather than “is it factual?” or “is the author scrupulous about his or her sources?”

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