Monday, December 2, 2013

December 2

Lads in denim:

François Le Metel de Boisrobert

French lawyer, playwright, poet, courtier of Cardinal Richelieu and audacious, irreligious cleric, Boisrobert (1592-1662) was a founding member of the French Academy (Académie française). While Richelieu is given credit for establishing the French Academy, it was in fact Boisrobert who suggested to Richelieu the plan of that august institution whose forty governing members are referred to as “the immortals”. Boisrobert was one of its earliest and most active members.

He was also never far from scandal, and his blatant homosexual proclivities resulted in his being banished from courts and high society time and again, but never for long. His wit, humor and gifts as a  raconteur made him a favorite of both Cardinal Richelieu and Pope Urban VIII.

Although not high born, he became quite wealthy and gained access to the court of King Louis XIII, easily insinuating himself into the circles of noble women, whom he flattered and entertained. His sexual dalliances with the handsome male pages and servants of those in high places earned him the moniker “the Mayor of Sodom.” A contemporary remarked that, “He could have given the Greeks lessons in how to make love.” As a token of his favor, Richelieu conferred the title of canon at Rouen on Boisrobert, but this title of respectability did nothing to change his lifestyle, which was marked by the practice of feminine pursuits of gossip, sartorial excesses, entertainment, literature and art. His innate charm enabled him to play the role of courtier with skill and audacity.



Encyclopedia of Homosexuality (Dynes, 1990)

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