A long fascination

“The best way to keep one’s word is not to give it” -Napoleon Bonaparte

After getting a copy of, The Corsican; a diary of Napoleon’s life in his own words, I quickly devoured this interesting collection of personal journals and correspondence from the pen de l’empereur himself.

The librarian asked me if I was on a Napoleon kick at the moment, since I frequently check out material about him. I summarily replied, ” for whatever reason my whole life has been a Napoleon kick”.

Jacques-Louis David has always been one of my favorite artists and his legacy is really almost inseparable from that of Napoleon. Some call his paintings propaganda, yet they capture the soul of Napoleon in a way that exceeds positive PR. The triumph of personal achievement replacing noble birth and discovering glory and destiny by action.

In his private writings, I was intrigued that he never seemed to dream or even desire rule of the world. Many of the wars he fought, from his viewpoint, were forced on him especially as he gained power. The monarchs of Europe could not tolerate a self-made man ruling so close to their countries. So, try as he did to assume a royal persona to change these views, he constantly had to react to impending invasions. Even at Waterloo which is seen as his great failure, it is amazing he managed to even gather an army to fight the British invasion upon his return from exile.