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The Cardinal and the Queen: Sexual and Political Disorders in the Mazarinades

Jeffrey Merrick
French Historical Studies
Vol. 18, No. 3 (Spring, 1994), pp. 667-699
Published by: Duke University Press
DOI: 10.2307/286688
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/286688
Page Count: 33
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The Cardinal and the Queen: Sexual and Political Disorders in the Mazarinades
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Abstract

During the Fronde pamphleteers discredited the regency government by accusing Anne of Austria and, especially, Cardinal Mazarin of misconduct as well as misrule. They condemned him, literally, for violating the unwritten constitution of the kingdom and, figuratively, for disrupting the interconnected structures of authority and subordination in the cosmos, self, household, and state. They projected the disorders of the Fronde onto the person of the prime minister, whose unruly genitals had broken down the distinctions between law and license that regulated both sexuality and politics. According to the Mazarinades, the tyrannical and sodomitical Mazarin had switched roles in anal intercourse, from passive to active, but remained effeminate and, therefore, both ridiculous and dangerous. Enslaved by unnatural passions, he enslaved the French people. The absolute monarchy reappropriated cosmic, bodily, and familial metaphors after the Fronde, but eighteenth-century pamphleteers exploited the theme of depravity and despotism against Louis XV and Marie-Antoinette.

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