Perhaps next only to Casanova himself, the most well-known figure in our novel, at least in the popular imagination, is that of Louis XV’s chief mistress, Madame de Pompadour. We’ve kept her role pretty faithful to what we know about her historically. She played a major part in the political, cultural and economic life of France as well as the social life of the Louis XV. She had already met Casanova on a visit he had made to Paris several years before his escape from Il Piombi and not only was she a friend of Abbé de Bernis but she had elevated him from obscurity to the king’s chief minister. She was also a significant influence in the establishment of the Paris lottery in which Casanova was heavily involved. She thus has something of an enabler role, bringing de Bernis and Casanova into the orbit of the court and, therefore, centres of power and influence that would otherwise be barred to them. She voices the interests of the king (for the most part) – both from a political and personal perspective. In many ways, she creates the framework within which the actions of others take place. For example, the establishment of the lottery is central to the deal between Casanova and de Bernis that sets the whole of the rest of the plot in motion. It is also Pompadour who is behind the plan to make Gabrielle one of the king’s mistresses.
‘The Prologue’, and chapters 1 to 6 of ‘Casanova in Paris: The Shadows of the King’ are now freely available here.
6 long form articles on Casanova’s life and times are freely available here.
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