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A bond never broken : the relations between Napoleon and the authors of France

Author: Michael Polowetzky
Publisher: Rutherford : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press ; London : Associated University Presses, ©1993.
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
A Bond Never Broken is a critical reevaluation of Napoleon's relationship with the French literary community. It makes a new assessment of his dealings with such important figures as Mme. de Stael, Constant, Chateaubriand, and with numerous members of the press and the stage. For more than one hundred and fifty years, the predominant view among historians of all political persuasions has been that this relationship  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Polowetzky, Michael, 1956-
Bond never broken.
Rutherford : Fairleigh Dickinson University Press ; London : Associated University Presses, ©1993
(OCoLC)622276959
Named Person: Napoleon, Emperor of the French; Staël, Madame de; Napoleon, Emperor of the French; Staël, Madame de; Kaiser I ) Napoleon (Frankreich
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Michael Polowetzky
ISBN: 0838634826 9780838634820
OCLC Number: 26974064
Description: 191 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
Responsibility: Michael Polowetzky.

Abstract:

A Bond Never Broken is a critical reevaluation of Napoleon's relationship with the French literary community. It makes a new assessment of his dealings with such important figures as Mme. de Stael, Constant, Chateaubriand, and with numerous members of the press and the stage. For more than one hundred and fifty years, the predominant view among historians of all political persuasions has been that this relationship was an entirely adversarial one. While it is easy to understand how this theory developed, Michael Polowetzky demonstrates here that a true interpretation of Napoleon's actions toward the nation's literati is much more complicated. Napoleon was a man who was motivated throughout his life by a great desire for political power. At the same time, however, he was also deeply concerned with his place in history and how he would be evaluated by future generations. Napoleon wished to be remembered not simply as another political strongman, but also as a statesman who inspired and nurtured a golden age in his nation's culture, especially its literature. A great admirer of classical culture, Napoleon wished to be recalled as a modern Pericles, and desired that the France he had ruled over should be looked upon as a second Athens. A Bond Never Broken investigates how Napoleon wrestled with the task of achieving both his political ends and his wish to be a champion of literary achievement. This book makes no attempt to deny the autocratic nature of Napoleon's regime and no effort to apologize for it. Nevertheless, it will demonstrate that the Emperor's constant determination to be a champion of letters assured the preservation of some measure of free expression in all the various areas of the literary community: in fiction, academia, drama, even in the most closely controlled area - journalism. Even in the instances where literary free expression was suppressed, Napoleon's attachment to literature assured that his actions were taken with a minimum amount of force. Rather than a steadfast opponent of literature as so many have long believed, Napoleon instead possessed a great love for it. This affection was certainly one of the primary reasons the First Empire never became the model for the bloody authoritarian regimes that have so often sought to strangle the literary spirit in our own century. In a period when such issues as censorship and artistic freedom are so widely discussed, A Bond Never Broken should be of particular interest.

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