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The Racine de Monville Home Page

The best source on the internet for information about

The Désert de Retz

An Extraordinary 18th Century Garden in Chambourcy, near Paris

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The Racine de Monville Home Page is the world's first and most authoritative web site devoted to the Désert de Retz and its creator, François Racine de Monville (1734-1797).


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Prochainement, début avril, Monville, l'inconnu des Lumières sera disponible.

François Nicolas Henri Racine de Monville (1734-1797) was a quintessential representative of the French Enlightenment: a virtuoso musician, sportsman and bon vivant, he was also a visionary architect whose Column House in his country estate, the Désert de Retz in Chambourcy, was described by art historian Ernest Ganay as "the most interesting building of the 18th century."

Monsieur de Monville's circle of friends, guests and acquaintances ranged from Queen Marie Antoinette to Thomas Jefferson and included the lexicographer Doctor Samuel Johnson, the courtesan Madame du Barry and portraitist Madame Vigée-Lebrun. His closest friend was the playwright and secret agent Pierre Caron de Beaumarchais, who wrote a poetic tribute to his friend that is published in this book for the first time.

This biography incorporates virtually everything that is currently known about Monville's life and includes much information from source material that has been out of print for over a century. Monville: Forgotten Luminary of the French Enlightenment runs to 224 pages and over 45,000 words and is complemented by a fourteen-page index, a bibliography of over three score references and reproductions of three engravings of the Désert de Retz after Constant Bourgois, originally published in 1808.

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Click on the link to read a description and order the definitive edition from CreateSpace.

Click on these links to read a description, look inside and order the definitive edition of Monville: Forgotten Luminary of the French Enlightenment from Amazon.com in the United States, Amazon.co.uk in the United Kingdom, Amazon.fr in France, Amazon.de in Germany, Amazon.it in Italy or Amazon.es in Spain.

Current prices of the definitive edition on Amazon are $14.36, €13.17 and Ł10.95. Please note that prices may vary slightly higher or lower depending on the vendor, exchange rates, VAT or sales tax and shipping, which may or may not be included, depending on the policy of the vendor. Gift wrap available. All credit cards accepted. The Kindle version of Monville: Forgotten Luminary of the French Enlightenment can be read free of charge by members of AmazonPrime.

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Latest update March 16, 2015.
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Entire contents copyright © 1996-2015 by Ronald W. Kenyon. All rights reserved. Copying of any portion of this website without the written authorization of the author is forbidden. Permission to publish content from this website in print or online will be granted by the author upon request. Links to this site are welcome; no authorization is required but notification is requested.