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 What was this 'petit' operation'? 
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Louis I guess was also rather shy and gauche and not one to force intercourse against his wife's will. Nonetheless I have been doing some reading and rather a lot of sources do seem to subscribe to the impotence that was corrected by medical intervention theory. How can we know for sure which is the correct view?


Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:43 pm
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You have to go back to the original sources. Even Joseph's letter would not lead one to believe that Louis was impotent. Also, some of the more up -to -date works, such as Simone Bertiere's L'Insoumise, totally demolish the impotence/phimosis theory. I would also recommend Vincent Cronin's book.

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Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:50 pm
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But some of Marie-Therese's correspondence suggests that she believed that Louis was impotent doesn't it ?


Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:52 pm
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You're right, Therese. This theory of an operation to cure some kind of impotence was invented by Zweig, who mistook rumors for facts. Actually, he did not have this letter written by Joseph, that completely shows that Louis was not impotent at all !

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Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:53 pm
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It was the policy of the Austrians to believe that there was something wrong with Louis when in reality the problem was more likely with Antoinette. Some scholars, such as the Girault de Coursacs, go so far as to say that Antoinette was deliberately refusing to have sex with her husband.

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Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:54 pm
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I've never seen this theory before in anything that I've read - though admittedly what I have read has been limited to a few biographies.


Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:58 pm
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Marie-Antoinette could be frustrated during a rapid moment, but it is all… because she also did not much insist to have sexual relations… her mother reproached her, and she asked Marie-Antoinette to multiply the caresses… Thus these 7 years of not consumed marriage are do not come only from Louis XVI.
For that the Coursac's book are interesting indeed!

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Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:59 pm
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Quote:
Marie-Antoinette could be frustrated during a rapid moment, but it is all…


I don't think sha was frustrated at all. She first of all was scared to death ! She was afraid of these sexual intercourses, that were so painful, and also from childbirthing, even if she wanted to become a mother. She would prefer to have the child and not the pains ! "I would like to have it all done", she wrote several times to her mother.

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Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:04 pm
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Moose wrote:
I've never seen this theory before in anything that I've read - though admittedly what I have read has been limited to a few biographies.


I would recommend the Coursacs, Bertiere, and Cronin. I forget what Nesta Webster says about this but I do not think she blames Louis for it all.

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Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:04 pm
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Pimprenelle wrote:
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Marie-Antoinette could be frustrated during a rapid moment, but it is all…


I don't think sha was frustrated at all. She first of all was scared to death ! She was afraid of these sexual intercourses, that were so painful, and also from childbirthing, even if she wanted to become a mother. She would prefer to have the child and not the pains ! "I would like to have it all done", she wrote several times to her mother.


Yes, and this is where her friendship with Madame de Polignac helped her very much, and why Louis encouraged the friendship. Gabrielle helped her to overcome her fears about these things.

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Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:06 pm
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It's surely natural for a first time mother to be terrified of childbirth though, and for a virgin to be terrified of intercourse. I've never seen evidence that she was more terrified of those things than anyone else would be.


Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:08 pm
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I would recommend reading the Coursacs and Bernard Fay's bio of Louis.

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Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:19 pm
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It is difficult to read the Coursac if we admire Marie-Antoinette, because they criticize her almost all the time, but I recommend also their books because their point of view is interesting and detailed.
There is not only truth in their criticisms, but there is not only mistakes either. :D

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Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:26 pm
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Well I am not a huge Antoinette devotee - I find her fascinating and think that she was probably a better person than history has sometimes presented her as being but I am not slavish towards her so I don't mind reading a biography that might be critical :)


Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:29 pm
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Louis-Charles wrote:
It is difficult to read the Coursac if we admire Marie-Antoinette, because they criticize her almost all the time, but I recommend also their books because their point of view is interesting and detailed.
There is not only truth in their criticisms, but there is not only mistakes either. :D


Yes, that is very true, and Bernard Fay is VERY critical of Antoinette as well. But still they give another side of the story which is not often included in the Zweig-inspired bios of the queen.

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Tue Feb 27, 2007 8:29 pm
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