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The Figaro Plays 
by Pierre deBeaumarchais, translated by John Wells.
Dent, 290 pp., £20, December 1997, 0 460 87923 5
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... Was the creator of Figaro on the side of the angels or simply president of Beaumarchais Enterprises? In his lifetime, he was an upstart in the eyes of the great and the good, and governments suspected his motives. The middle classes envied his wealth and rejoiced at his failures, but saw him as the embodiment of successful enterprise and the defender of their cause ...

Handsome, Charming …

David A. Bell: Beaumarchais, 22 October 2009

BeaumarchaisA Biography 
by Maurice Lever, translated by Susan Emanuel.
Farrar, Straus, 411 pp., $26, May 2009, 978 0 374 11328 5
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... social mobility, including that of a Sephardic cabin boy from Amsterdam called António de Vieira, whom he plucked from the crew of a Dutch merchant ship in 1697, brought back to Russia as a page, and eventually made a count and adjutant-general of police for his new capital of St Petersburg. Among parvenus from other parts of Europe, few did ...

Denunciations

Ruth Scurr: Foucault in the Bastille, 14 December 2017

Disorderly Families: Infamous Letters from the Bastille Archives 
by Arlette Farge and Michel Foucault, edited by Nancy Luxon, translated by Thomas Scott-Railton.
Minnesota, 328 pp., £28.99, January 2017, 978 0 8166 9534 8
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... to life’. His death was figurative – he had been held in the Bastille for 18 years by lettre de cachet. The king’s sealed letter, authorising the detention of a man or woman without trial for an indeterminate period of time, was one of the Ancien Régime’s most reviled mechanisms. The letters began to be used by the king for the maintenance of public ...

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