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concerning La Jeunesse de Louis XIV

        Dumas wrote this five act prose comedy in 1853, when he exiled himself to Brussels in opposition to the regime of Louis-Napoleon. The play was to be performed in Paris, but was banned by the censor. It was produced in Brussels in 1854, and finally produced in Paris in 1874, after Dumas' death, with revisions by Alexandre Dumas fils.
        The play is set at the Chateau of Vincennes in 1658. Its hero is King Louis XIV, aged 20, and King since the age of four. Actual power is wielded by the Queen Mother, Anne of Austria, and the Chief Minister (and notorious cheapskate) Cardinal Jules Mazarin. All of these characters will be familiar to readers of Dumas' Les Trois Mousquetaires and its various sequels.
        Louis is in love with a commoner, Mazarin's niece, Marie de Mancini, while Anne plots to have him meet a more politically eligible noble.
        With the assistance of a young lady who hides under a table when Mazarin and Anne are making plans, Louis learns of the plot. He disguises himself as one of his own musketeers, and learns the secret motivations of the people who surround him. He uses this information to become King in deed, as well as in name, but at the cost of sacrificing his love for Marie de Mancini.

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