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 Mme. DuBarry's Pet Name For Louis XV 
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Post Mme. DuBarry's Pet Name For Louis XV
(from UNESCO Courier, 1997)

There were so many modes of communication, and they intersected and overlapped so intensively, that one can hardly picture their operation. Let me give as an example an anecdote which might be likened to a modern "news flash". It was incorporated in a best-selling biography of Mme. Du Barry, the mistress of Louis XV:

"There is a report, carefully spread about by some courtiers, which proves that Mme du Barry has not lost any favour or familiarity with the king, as some had suspected. His Majesty likes to brew his own coffee and, by means of this innocent amusement, to get some relief from the heavy burdens of government. A few days ago, the coffee pot began to boil over while His Majesty was distracted by something else. 'Hey, France!' called out the beautiful favourite, 'Look out! Your coffee's going to pot!' We are told that 'France' is the familiar expression utilized by this lady in the intimacy of the petits appartements. The details should never circulate outside of them, but they escape, nonetheless, thanks to the malignity of the courtiers."

The anecdote is trivial in itself, but it illustrates the way a news item moved through various media, reaching an ever-wider public. In this case, it went through four phases: it began as a mauvais propos, or insider gossip at court. Then it took the form of a bruit public, or general rumour, in Paris. Next it was consigned to writing in a manuscript news sheet, or gazette a la main. And finally it figured as an episode in a libelle, that is, a printed book which belonged to a genre of scandalous and highly illegal political literature


Sun Mar 15, 2009 4:40 pm
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Joined: Sat Jan 12, 2008 2:50 pm
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Post Re: Mme. DuBarry's Pet Name For Louis XV
Thank you Artois for posting this. Interesting anecdote, I find it cute.

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Sun Mar 15, 2009 9:59 pm
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Joined: Wed Mar 07, 2007 10:21 am
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Post Re: Mme. DuBarry's Pet Name For Louis XV
Exact! In French she said 'Eh, France!Ton café fout le camp!" Fout comes from "foutre" which is a swear word (to f***k) and "foutre le camp" literally means to scarper, get lost. And she uses the familiar 'tu" form to the King....after all she was one of the common people and a lady of leisure and pleasure before she was placed in the King's way. :wink:

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Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:32 pm
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