Today I’m continuing to showcase the history blogs I read/love/admire by interviewing the writer behind Party Like 1660, a site devoted to all things Louis XIV written by Aurora Von Goeth.
I’ll let Aurora introduce herself…
I am Aurora, a German 17th century historian with a passion for the time of Louis XIV, his court, its occupants and etiquette. Hopefully soon published author, orange tea drinker and mother of cats.
When did you start your blog and what was your motivation? How did you pick its name?
I started Party Like 1660 at the end of last year, so it is relatively new. My motivation for creating it was my love for French history, especially everything Louis XIV – something I have been fascinated with since my teen days. Over the years I collected a bit of knowledge about his court, something I used to call useless knowledge, since I had no place to share it. I always had the longing to share this knowledge, but was not quite sure how I should do it. I might also have been a little insecure. By the end of last year, Party Like 1660 was born and my first post was about Louis XIV being beaten up by his little brother Philippe.
The name for my blog dates back to a old picture sharing one I used to run years ago, but do not have anymore, and I thought it was the perfect name for what I had in mind with this history blog. The 1660’s were certainly the fun years during the Sun King’s reign, with plenty of festivities and gossip. The first ever garden party in Versailles was held in the 1660’s and it lasted a week.
Has your blog turned out the way you anticipated?
I anticipated and still anticipate for this blog to be a bit of a encyclopedia on the court of Louis XIV: something that features short biographies of the people who lived there, articles on important events, court gossip, a easy guide on 17th century etiquette, which is one of my favourite topics, and place to share little known but very interesting happenings. After a bit less than a year of blogging, we are well on the way of getting somewhere and the resonance is quite satisfying.
What is your best blog-related moment?
My best blog related moment or moments are the kind comments and messages I receive for my reviews of the BBC Two series Versailles. In them I invite my readers to have a closer look at the history behind the show and explain what we see on screen in a historical context.
What’s your favourite post?
There are several that I like much, like the Versailles reviews or Louis XIV’s morning routine, but my favourite is the one about Philippe de Lorraine also know as the Chevalier de Lorraine. It was the first “larger” thing I wrote, already before the blog was born, and currently it is the most detailed article on the internet about him, of which I am a little proud. He is one of my favourite historical persons as well and very interesting. Information about him is quite sparse too. I guess that is another reason why it is my fave post.
How to you pick what to write about?
It is pretty much always random. I have a little self created calendar of important dates, thus I write about those when they come up, but mostly I pick the topics randomly. There are many things I want to write about in the future, like Nicolas Fouquet and Vaux-le-Vicomte or how one of Louis’ mistresses chased after the Queen’s carriage. Some topics I wrote about so far have been suggested or influenced by my lovely Twitter followers. For example “The Last Days Of Louis XIV”, in this case my followers wished for day-today updates instead of one long post on the matter.
Do you have a schedule for posting and/or a favourite social media platform?
I do not have a schedule and post whenever I find time. Twitter, clearly. I love Twitter because it is quite simple to use and you can meet great people there.
What are your go-to sources for research?
My collections of books, both in English and German, various diaries, like the one of Dangeau. It is brilliant. Also the archives of Chateau de Versailles and Gallica of the Bibliothèque nationale de France along with the letters of the time.
Do you have other writing projects you are involved in?
Yes. My first book, which I made together with Jules Harper, is nearly finished. It is a short biography of Louis XIV, that also covers topics that aren’t too well known, like various health issues. Another book is in planning: it will be a collection of court anecdotes, and after it perhaps a short biography about Versailles or Louis XIV’s brother Philippe.
If you could go back in time and be one historical character or live in one era which would it be?
If I could go back in time, I certainly would be a mignon. Those were the closer friends of Philippe de France. I would live in Saint-Cloud, the little sister of Versailles, and be merry. If I could travel back in time for commercial use, I would probably be some kind of tour guide that helps 21th century people to survive court life by teaching the who-is-who and etiquette.
Are you a historical fiction fan? If yes, what/who do you love to read? If not, why not?!
I don’t read much historical fiction. I never really did. There are some great stories out there, but I am a rather critical reader, especially when the work is French history related. I pay attention to details nobody else would probably notice, which is a bit of a kill joy for myself. On the other hand, it is rather great for helping authors of historical fiction, something I do as well, with their work. Sometimes the devil is really in the detail.