France’s rules of censorship in the eighteenth century were simple. The royal garde des sceaux [Keeper of the Seals] instructed his agents to seek out and confiscate any writings that challenged the pillars of state: the king, the Church, and the family. ‘Family’ meant not only the implicit patriarchy of the family unit (the king was, in fact, often portrayed as the father of his subjects) but also the whole hierarchy of families with the haute noblesse at its highest level, the barbarous ‘rabble’ scrambling to serve their betters at its base. The philosophe Gabrielle Emilie le Tonnelier de Breteuil, Marquise Du Châtelet (1706-1749), as the daughter of the Baron de Breteuil and the wife of a nobleman descended from one of the first families of Lorraine, stood close to the top of this social edifice.1 Yet everything she wrote that related to the three protected institutions would have been condemned by the royal censors, then seized and burned in the Place des Grèves – the usual fate for publications deemed injurious to the French polity.