Why They All Came to Versailles

Wall Street Journal
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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