Note: Versailles

A key scene in one of Shelley's sources, Mercier's L'an 2440, imagines Louis XIV (1643-1715) returning in 2440 to the palace he built at Versailles. This historical prophecy, written from the perspective of the 1770s, is rendered especially ironic in light of later events during the French Revolution. Versailles was the site of a decisive confrontation in October 1789, when a crowd from Paris stormed the palace demanding "bread." Louis XVI (1774-1792) and the royal family were forced to flee to the Tuileries palace.