Why They All Came to Versailles
By FREDERIC RAPHAEL
'Every man has two countries, his own and France" was once the motto of any good diplomat. In 18th-century Europe, social, military and intellectual power was concentrated in and around Paris. To take part in the Old World's game required command of French courtesies and nuances. It was a coveted privilege to be selected even to wipe the royal behind.
When the World Spoke French
By Marc Fumaroli
New York Review, 519 pages, $18.95
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