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May 08, 2006

Influences

What happens when the Compte de Saint Germain meets Madame Pompadour meets Sapphire and Steel? "The Girl in the Fireplace" happens. And it was good. Much like a banana. Bananas are good.

St_germainWho was the Compte de Saint Germain? He was a wander, an adventurer, a methuselah. He claimed to have lived 2000 years, the "man who did not die", the "Wundermann. The Encyclopedia Britannica says he knew "nearly all the European languages...His knowledge of history was comprehensive..." He was said to have helped put Catherine the Great on the throne of Russia. He was said to have founded Freemasonry. (Doubtful.) And he was a popular figure at the court of Versailles in the 1750's, last seen in Paris in 1789. Doug Skinner writes:

[T]here’s something uniquely engaging about the Count of St-Germain, who stepped from nowhere with no past and no name to dazzle the French court. He pops up from time to time across Europe, only to vanish, leaving extravagant rumours in his wake: he was immortal; owned the elixir of life; was a Rosicrucian; a spy; an incognito king.

Francois_boucherMadame de Pompadour? She was the patron of Voltaire and other luminaries. She encouraged the development of the Rococo movement. She was the close friend, confidante and for a period of time, the mistress of Louis XV until her premature death at the age of 46. A living example of upward mobility, she moved from the bourgeois to the aristocratic to the near-royal. In short, she was a woman of power and influence.

Some say Saint Germain had an affair with Madame. Others, disagree. A 1745 letter from Horace Walpole to Horace Mann states "[Comte St Germain] never had any dealings, or desire to have any dealings with any woman--nay, nor with any succedaneum." Etienne de Lamothe-Langon wrote an entire novel about the love affair between Saint Germain and Madame de Pompadour.

History says little about the bananas.

Comments

Interesting stuff e. Cheers.

My take was Red Dwarf crashlanding into a French Heritage film...

I've always wanted an RD/DW crossover since that Red Dwarf A-Z special that had the Daleks as commentators.

Nor clockwork robots I imagine...

You know, the first thing I thought about was the good old comte, so good to see I'm not the only one with "fortean" type interests... ;-) Anyway, for one of the best articles on this guy I've ever seen, see here.

Bravo to SM / RTD for another cracking episode.

I enjoyed this posting, mainly because it was interesting and didn't have any gratuitous snogging, poor character development or Sophia Myles to spoil it, unlike the (distinctly average) episode itself.

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