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  • Mémoires de Messire Jean de Plantavit de La Pause, seigneur de Margon, chevalier de l’ordre de Saint-Louis, lieutenant de roy de la province de Languedoc, colonel d’un régiment de dragons et brigadier des armées de Sa Majesté by Jean de Plantavit de la Pause
  • Michaël Green
Jean de Plantavit de la Pause, Mémoires de Messire Jean de Plantavit de La Pause, seigneur de Margon, chevalier de l’ordre de Saint-Louis, lieutenant de roy de la province de Languedoc, colonel d’un régiment de dragons et brigadier des armées de Sa Majesté. Édités et présentés par Hubert de Vergnette de Lamotte. (Collection de documents inédits sur l’histoire de France.) 3 [of 4] vols. Paris: Éditions du Comité des travaux historiques et scientifiques, Centre de recherche du château de Versailles, 2011–. i (2011), xxx + 376 pp., ill.; ii (2012), 389 pp., ill.; iii (2013), 496 pp., ill.; [iv (forthcoming)].

The memoirs of Messire Jean de Plantavit de La Pause (1646–1726), seigneur de Margon, a figure familiar only to a small number of specialists, cover a surprisingly broad range of topics and will be of interest to political and military historians, musicologists, and literary scholars alike. Written around the same time as the memoirs of the duc de Saint-Simon, Plantavit’s own memoirs offer new insights into the period from a different perspective. Hubert de Vergnette de Lamotte’s four-volume edition, of which three have been published to date, is based on a transcription of the original manuscript held by the author’s family, but with spelling and punctuation somewhat modernized to make the text more accessible. The first volume contains a brief Preface by Béatrix Saule, director of the Centre de recherche du château de Versailles, and a biography of Plantavit by the editor. Each chapter has its own table of contents and an index of names. The life story of Jean de Plantavit is in itself quite typical for a man of his position and provincial origin. Many of his contemporaries wrote autobiographies, either because they wished to teach their children the lessons of life, or to inform the broader public about certain events they witnessed. Plantavit explains that he wants to preserve what would otherwise escape the memory and to tell his family the story of his own life. He promises to write truthfully as far as possible, although inevitably his account is coloured by subjectivity and, given that he was recalling events that had occurred many years earlier, susceptible to omission or inaccuracy. Plantavit was born in 1646 in Lodève, Languedoc, to a moderately positioned family. He was educated first by Oratorians and [End Page 94] then by Jesuits, who gave him the necessary background in studia humanitatis and also developed his interest in the arts and mysticism. After his studies, he participated in the life of the local nobility of Pézenas, but then turned to a military career, taking part in various military exploits, including the Flanders campaign of 1667. In 1672 he married Jacquette de Valras (d. 1726), daughter of a local noble family. As the memoirs reveal, their family life continued happily for almost forty years, yet they separated several years before their respective deaths. Crucially, this marriage provided opportunities for Plantavit at the court of Louis XIV, where so many ambitious men and women came in an attempt to improve their social and financial position. Plantavit’s brother-in-law Sérignan was in the Royal Guard and was highly regarded by the king. Plantavit himself had the opportunity to discover the cultural and artistic side of Versailles, and, with the help of his brother-in-law, he obtained various nominations from the king. In 1710 he retired from his state and military missions and spent the next sixteen years trying to save his fortune and position. He had to sell his castle at Margon, and the family moved to a smaller estate in Pézenas. Plantavit died in Pézenas on 13 November 1726, leaving the remaining part of his fortune to his daughter-in-law. Why are...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1468-2931
Print ISSN
0016-1128
Pages
pp. 94-95
Launched on MUSE
2015-02-13
Open Access
No
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