Jeanne du Barry, splendor and loneliness
A podcast to listen to on Radio France
Venal and manipulative woman: it is a sinister portrait of the last favorite of the monarchy which has often been drawn by literature and history, victim of a long tradition of caricatures. Against the grain, producer Philippe Collin tries to get as close as possible to this woman: behind the myth, who was Jeanne du Barry? What was the real role of the mistress of King Louis XV?
From his illegitimate birth in 1743 to his beheading in 1793, this podcast reveals the story of the ultimate favorite in a new light. Rejected by her mother, not recognized by her father, it is “the absolute need for social recognition” that drives her throughout her life. Explaining through unpublished archives his rise to the court and the beginnings of his affair with Louis XV, it is also the political and cultural context of the 18th century that is unraveled here with clarity.
“A young woman found guilty of everything”
Between shenanigans and respect for etiquette, under the scandalized gaze of the court which sees in her an upstart, Jeanne becomes the official mistress of the king. Hated by part of the aristocracy, despised by Marie-Antoinette who made her her rival, scrutinized by public opinion, she nevertheless remained at the side of Louis XV until his death in 1774. After his exile outside Versailles, it is finally the young Republic which condemns it to the guillotine.
This podcast denies, in the light of new sources, the dark legend of Jeanne du Barry and sheds new light on her unique trajectory. Many historians and curators shed light on this figure and the place she occupied in the society of the time. Punctuated by dialogues from the 1954 film by Christian-Jaque, illustrated by readings of letters and memoirs, the production by Juliette Médevielle and Éric Lancien is unquestionably successful. This podcast brilliantly and subtly reveals the life of this remarkable female figure “at the crossroads of two worlds”, whose destiny “illustrates the entire end of the 18th century”.