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The Visit of the Royal Physician by Per Olov Enquist

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The Visit of the Royal Physician by Per Olov Enquist

Post by Melisende » Sat August 30th, 2008, 7:59 am

"The Visit of the Royal Physician" by Per Olov Enquist, and translated by Tiina Nunnally.

This novel of personal and political intrigue is set in the court of King Christian VII of Denmark at a time when the monarch was merely a figurehead, and real power was held by those who controlled the King.

And thus, Per Olov Enquist takes us on a journey through the murkiness of Danish politics in the mid-18th Century.

Now, I was, and still am, unfamiliar with Danish politics of the 17th and 18th centuries. This novel does give an incite into the grab for political and royal power against a growing backdrop of "European" change.

At the forefront of the book is King Christian VII, whom many considered to have been either mad or an imbecile; his English wife, Caroline-Mathilde; the German Doctor, Struensee; and the man who opposed the burgeoning "Age of Enlightenment" - Ove Hoegh-Guldberg.

Events in the story are sometimes retold from the perspective of different characters - and at times I struggled over whether this was a fictionalised account of the events in question or an actual retelling - as in a biography, of sorts.

Had I a firmer grasp on Danish "affairs of state" I may well have understood the flow of events.

In all though, a most interesting read.

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"For my part, I adhere to the maxim of antiquity: The throne is a glorious sepulchre."

Women of History

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