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Solar Power

The British historian Philip Mansel is fascinated by splendour and eclipse—the firework ascent of cities and courts, their fizzling out and falling to earth. After the Bonapartes, Louis XVIII, and the entire Levant, now it is the turn of Louis XIV, who more than three centuries after his death feeds France’s view of itself, and the world’s view of France. Depending on perspective (and year), Louis was the divinely sanctioned “Sun King”, the new Apollo, cynosure of Europe, courageous marshal, gifted tactician, patron of the arts, embodiment of perfection—or bankrupter of France, disturber of European peace, bearer of grudges, bigot,…

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