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"Is it true that Napoleon wanted to be a writer?" Topic

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©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse01 Jan 2019 12:03 p.m. PST

"Is it true that Napoleon wanted to be a writer?

With Napoleon in mind, Adolphe Thiers wrote with enthusiasm: "The age had an immortal writer, immortal as Caesar; namely the sovereign himself, a great writer because he had a great mind".1 By Adolphe Thiers. I can't argue with that: Napoleon could have become a writer, if events had not favoured his military and then political career.

In his youth, Napoleon enthusiastically tried his hand at practically all the literary genres, writing numerous texts, many of which have survived, although he later tried to throw away the most personal ones: there were novels, including Le comte d'Essex [The Earl of Essex](1789), Le Masque Prophète [The Mask of the Prophet](1789), [La Nouvelle Corse] [The Corsican Novel] (1789), and Clisson et Eugénie (1795), philosophical essays, such as Le Parallèle entre l'Amour de la Patrie et l'Amour de la Gloire [The Parallel between the Love of Country and the Love of Glory], (1786), le Discours de Lyon [The Discourse for the Lyons Academy] (1791) and le Dialogue sur l'Amour [Dialogue on Love] (1791), purely political writings such as Les Corses ont-ils eu le droit de secouer le joug des Génois [Did the Corsicans have the right to shake off the Genoese yoke?] (1786), the Constitution de la Calotte du Régiment de la Fère [The Calotte for the de la Fère Regiment](1789), the Lettre à Matteo Buttafoco [Letter to Matteo Buttafoco] (1791) or the famous Souper de Beaucaire [Supper in Beaucaire], his first published work (1793). These early compositions, sometimes only sketched out, belong to the literary history of the 18th century, which sometimes makes them difficult for us to appreciate today, conditioned as we are by the Romantics and their literary successors. Some of his texts are nevertheless of high quality…."
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MaggieC70 Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2019 12:57 p.m. PST

Well, that's a real stretch!

Glengarry5 In the TMP Dawghouse01 Jan 2019 1:02 p.m. PST

I'd like to see his graphic novel!

Twilight Samurai Supporting Member of TMP01 Jan 2019 9:18 p.m. PST

I think, secretly, he wanted to be a mime.


Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse02 Jan 2019 11:21 a.m. PST



dibble02 Jan 2019 6:22 p.m. PST

No, but he had a fairytale novel printed called 'The Bulletin'. :D

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse03 Jan 2019 4:26 p.m. PST



Sebastian Palmer14 Jan 2019 7:26 a.m. PST

@ Armand:

I've read his unfinished 'Clisson et Eugenie', albeit translated into English. Not great reading! Stodgy indulgent neoclassical romance. Neither attractive or inspiring, and certainly not fun to read.

As fas as I know his 'Supper at Beaucaire' – only a pamphlet – was his only complete and published 'work'. I've got that as well, somewhere. Can't recall offhand if I ever read it? If I did it didn't leave much of an impression!

I don't know, but I suspect the other titles you mention are probably more a selection of fragmentary notes, as indeed was/is Clisson et Eugenie. As a general and politician he was able to see things through to completion. Not so much as a writer!

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP In the TMP Dawghouse15 Jan 2019 11:21 a.m. PST

I know he was not a good writter… as chess player also… (smile)


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