odd couples

A secret drive to crave disgrace or an insane desire to please? …

Louise Mignot, the daughter of Voltaire’s sister, had in 1738 married Monsieur Denis of the Commisariat Department, who died in 1744. Her uncle on the occasion of her marriage had presented her with a dowry of thirty thousand francs. On the death of madame de Chatelet his niece became his mistress and constant companion; they lived together until the day of his death.

Read More:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/germany/8774566/Son-claims-90-year-old-German-beer-baron-was-killed.html ---Bruno H. Schubert, who sold the family's famous Henninger brewery more than thirty years ago, shocked Frankfurt high society when he married Meharit Kifle, an attractive woman of Ethiopian origin, who was then 64 years his junior in August 2009. His poodle, Sissy, was an official witness at a garish marriage that attracted tabloid headlines and which took place just five months after the death of Ingeborg, his first wife of 68 years. The second marriage to Ms Kifle, who had a four-year-old son by another relationship, came to an abrupt end when Mr Schubert, who was known nationally as an environmental philanthropist, died on October 17 last year of apparent old age. But following a legal dispute over Mr Schubert's will, Hanns Peter Nerger, his illegitimate son from an extramarital affair in the 1940s, has accused his young widow of withholding liquids from his father, causing his death by dehydration.---

His friends were perplexed by this infatuation. Madame Denis was ugly, unintelligent, a bad housekeeper, snobbish and intellectually pretentious. It seemed strange indeed that Voltaire, who was so fastidious and tidy in his habits, could have loved, or even tolerated, this dull and slatternly woman. What was even worse, she had extravagant tastes, and Voltaire, who was very careful about money, much resented her gift for ostentation and the lavish expenditure which she indulged in when hostess at the estate in Ferney.

---The twice-widowed Duchess’s children feared Diez was a gold-digger – so he has relinquished his rights to her £3billion fortune in an effort to appease them. A crowd of several hundred clapped and roared its approval as the Duchess waved and danced on a red carpet following her wedding to Diez at Palacio de las Duenas, her opulent 15th-century residence in the cobble-stoned old quarter of Seville. The duchess, who is a distant relative of Winston Churchill and Princess Diana, went ahead with the marriage despite her children’s qualms. It emerged in August that she has divided her fortune between her six children to convince them that her suitor is besotted with her rather than her money. And she certainly seemed like a young girl in love, celebrating after the ceremony by kicking off her shoes and dancing a bit of flamenco. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2045627/Duchess-Alba-marries-toyboy-Alfonso-Diez-lavish-wedding-ceremony.html#ixzz1agXhsud3

She had no taste for country life and was not reticent in expressing her longing for Paris. In fact in 1768, Voltaire gave her leave of absence for eighteen months, and profited by the interlude to cut down expenditure and to give to Ferney a thorough spring cleaning. On her uncle’s death she became his residuary legatee. She immediately disposed of Ferney and sold his library to Catherine the Great. Being now an heiress, she married a young man of the name of du Vivier: she died unlamented in 1790.

Read More: http://www.militantesthetix.co.uk/adorno/twaprimer.htm ---Dialectic of Enlightenment proposes a radical sexual politics that addresses issues of domination and race with none of the liberal concepts of the abstract citizen that make people so impatient with 'political correctness'. Horkheimer and Adorno actually develop a criticism of sexual oppression by a sympathetic reading of the Marquis De Sade, thus anticipating the arguments of feminists like Angela Carter and Pat Califia. Saint-Fonds, the royal minister, declares when a girl he is torturing breaks into tears: 'That's how I like women ... if only I could reduce them all to such a state with a single word!'. Man as ruler denies woman the honour of individuation. Socially, the individual is an example of the species, a representative of her sex; and therefore male logic sees her wholly as standing for nature, as the substrate of never-ending subjection. ... But the desperate will to destroy everything that embodies the allurement of nature, the attraction of the physiological, biological, national and social underdog, shows that Christianity has miscarried. Wholly to expunge the odious overpowering longing to return to a state of nature is the cruelty produced by an abortive civilisation ... The justification of hatred for woman that represents her as intellectually and physically inferior, and bearing the brand of domination on her forehead, is equally that of hatred for Jews. (Dialectic of Enlightenment p. 112) Adorno sees sexism and racism as stemming from a fucked-up morality that seeks to deny natural biology. The sex object is hated because she is a reminder that we inhabit bodies. The criticism that Adorno 'never thought about sexual politics', and was only interested in proselytizing for an ivory-tower, dead-white-male culture, says more about people's memories of their music teachers at school than anything he actually wrote....


When Denis died, six years later, Marie became the mistress of her famous uncle. Now in her early thirties she began to receive passionate letters from the philosopher. An example:
I shall be coming to Paris only for you, and if my miserable condition permits, I will throw myself at your knees and kiss all your beauties.. In the meantime I press a thousand kisses on your round breasts, on your ravishing bottom, on all your person, which has so often given me erections and plunged me into a flood of delight.

Read More: http://forums.canadiancontent.net/history/74937-royal-mistress-nell-gwyns-expenses.html Nell Gwyn. ---Gwyn was born in Coal Yard Alley in London, and when she met the King she became known for her "expenses". She ordered anything that she wanted, no matter the cost. But she was also generous, once giving a beggar sixpence (£5 in today's money). She was also very popular with the people, too, especially neing a Protestant. Whilst out riding in a coach one day, a mob of people mistook her for the hated Catholic Louise de Keroualle, the Duchess of Portsmouth, who was also French. The mob rocked her coach and pelted it with mud, until she stuck her head out and shouted: "'Pray good people, be civil. You are mistaken. I am the Protestant wh*re!' After 11 years of republican dictatorship (which is one of the reasons why the British are so anti-republic today) until the monarchy was restored in 1660 when Charles II took to the throne, Nell Gwyn lifted the spirit of the nation.... Royal mistress Ne

wyn's expenses would shame our MPs but she was worth every penny

Marie had several other well-known lovers at the same time. One of them, the poet Marmontel, remembered her with somewhat less passion.
Her easy and unaffected character had imbibed a tincture of that of her uncle. She had much of his taste, his gaiety, his exquisite politeness; so that her society was liked and courted.

When Voltaire went to Berlin as an unofficial philosopher in residence to Frederick the Great, he wrote Marie asking her to come and share wealth and attention. She preferred to remain in Paris, but wrote warning her uncle that the nature of royalty was such that he would soon find himself a prisoner or servant. Voltaire gave the letter to Frederick, who pretended his feelings were hurt, “I should prefer your happiness to my extreme pleasure in possessing you.”

Read More: http://mydailyculture.wordpress.com/author/mydailyculture/ ---One of the most famous mistresses of all is Madame La Marquise de Pompadour. She had great influence over King Louis XV and was in actuality quite an interesting, educated woman. Common as she was, she managed to embrace all of the more intellectual and sophisticated aspects of royal life. She became very involved in politics, managed to create a less than hostile relationship with the Queen, and was constantly reading books, painting, playing music – guitar and clavichord, reciting theater, and – in one perspective, inspiring. The LARGEST PASTEL PAINTING in the world was painted of her by Maurice Quentin De La Tour. The detailing is gorgeous, meticulous yet romantic. He painted her in an interesting, beautiful setting that was meant to showcase her intellect as well as her passion for music. She is pictured with her satchel, which is filled with what could be either more music or drawings, both of which she frequently carried outside to the gardens of Versailles on a beautiful, idyllic afternoon.---

When Voltaire moved to Switzerland, to his estate called Les Délices (The Delights), Marie joined him to supervise the domestic side of his life. Mme d’Épinay arrived for a visit from Paris in 1757 and described Marie, now aged 45 years old, as, a fat little woman, as round as a ball, about fifty years of age…ugly and good, untruthful without meaning it, and without malice. She has no intellect, and yet seems to have some; she…writes verses, argues rationally and irrationally…without too great pretentiousness, and above all without offending anyone…. She adores her uncle, both as uncle and as a man; Voltaire loves her, laughs at her, and worships her. In a word, this house is a refuge for an assemblage of contraries, and a delightful spectacle for lookers-on.

---Mademoiselle O’Murphy was born in France in 1737, the daughter of an Irish officer who had fought for the French crown. At the age of 14, she was ‘talent-spotted’ by Casanova, who mentioned her in his infamous diaries. Boucher painted her nude lying on her stomach in a tousled bed. The picture is now one of the treasures of the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, where it is sometimes known as ‘Our Lady of the Potatoes.’ Boucher showed the picture to Louis. For the next two years, the teenaged Marie-Louise was the king’s mistress, and had a daughter by him. She lost her place in court only when she became too ambitious and tried to oust the older and wiser mistress, Madame de Pompadour. The Irish teenager was then married off to a French aristocrat, the Count de Beaufranchet. The count was killed in battle soon after. But Marie-Louise was unsinkable. She survived the Revolution and the Terror, and married twice more, once to a man who had done well under Napoleon. The gateway to her grand Parisian house in the 9th arrondissement is still marked with a plaque. According to family history, the three marriages left the aging ex-courtesan with enough money that, by the early 19th century, some of her children could return to the O’Murphy’s native city of Cork. In 1856, the family founded Murphy’s Brewery, as famous in Cork as Guinness is in Dublin. Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/article-1157183/MARY-ELLEN-SYNON-Casanova-Our-Lady-Potatoes-Cardinal-Murphy-OConnors-racy-pedigree.html#ixzz1aggiO0N4

Regarding Emilie more as a colleague than a lover, Voltaire’s lust for her was unwontedly abashed; with his niece Mme Denis he candidly expressed his passion. Perhaps intimidated by Mme du Chatelet’s noble birth (though her family was by no means wealthy), he warned a friend to hide from the “Sublime and delicate Emilie” some pornographic verses he had composed . He felt more at ease with his sister’s daughter, who shared his bourgeois roots. The personalities of the two women resemble Jude Fawley’s wives in Thomas Hardy’s immortal novel: the mercenary, voluptuous Arabella Donn and the erudite, slender, ethereal feminist Sue Bridehead. On the other hand, both Emilie and Marie Louise, like Candide’s Cunegonde, were buxom and rosy-cheeked, suggesting that they embodied Voltaire’s physically robust ideal of woman, rather than the eighteenth-century French stereotype of female beauty as pale, slim, and fragile. Indeed, Candide’s paramour Cunegonde is in large measure a composite of the physical, sensual Mme Denis and the more cerebral, aristocratic, austere Mme du Chatelet. Read More:http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-142613_ITM

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