Damien Tricoire, “Attacking the Monarchy’s Sacrality in late Seventeenth-Century France: The Underground Literature against Louis XIV, Jansenism and the Dauphin’s Court Faction”, French History 31/2 (2017), 152-173.

While historians have considered the pamphlets attacking the sacrality of the monarchy to be a major cause of the French Revolution, they have largely overlooked the fact that such criticisms went back much further. Additionally, studies of Louis XIV have primarily explored the fabrication of the king’s image, but largely neglected the discourse produced by his critics, because they have mistakenly attributed the underground literature to Huguenots in exile. By analysing four libelles in particular, this article demonstrates that there was a desacralization campaign around 1690 and asks why. It proposes three reasons for these attacks on religious legitimacy. First, the king himself violated in several ways norms upon which the sacral monarchy had been built in the first half of the seventeenth century. Secondly, moral rigorism was rising after 1650. Thirdly, a new court faction emerged around Louis XIV’s son, Louis de France, better known as Monseigneur le Dauphin (1661–1711). This faction, whose role has been greatly neglected in recent historiography, brought together several groups critical of the king and used the monarchy’s break with established religious norms to develop their political arguments