Book Review: Clisson and Eugénie by Napoleon Bonaparte

October 15, 2013

Clisson and Eugénie is a romantic novella written by Napoleon Bonaparte, yes, that Napoleon Bonaparte. The book is mostly scholarly interpretation of this short story.

  • 86 pages
  • Publisher: Gallic Books
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906040273

Book Review Clisson and Eugénie by Napoleon Bonaparte

My rating for Clisson and Eugénie4

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Clisson and Eugénie by Napoleon Bonaparte is a very short story (30 pages) which was written by the general over a period of time and pieced together by scholars. Even though Napoleon was 26 when he wrote this story, it is not his first work having written essays and other short stories.

The story was written to commemorate a yearlong love affair of Napoleon with the lovely Desirée Eugénie Clary, whom he wanted to wed.  The lovely bride took her time answering and the geographical distance was no help either.
A year went by and Napoleon was asking his beloved to forget him and anyway, he met a certain Josephine de Beauharnais.

Such stories helped Napoleon relax, mental therapy and relieve the boredom of army life. This specific story was written as an exercise.  The story is very short, around 17 pages, and certainly shows why Napoleon chose soldiering over writing, even though I’m sure there were many other, much better, reasons. However it’s always interesting to read such stories and get an insight into such a huge personality. For example the short sentences, some which span months and years, show his impatience and famous temper.

The interesting parts of the book are the scholarly essays and commentaries by Peter Hicks and Emilie Barthet which give insight into the mind of Napoleon and extrapolate the meaning behind this short story.

The scholars complies this story from multiple drafts, published, unpublished and those that were thought to be lost. They sat and identified the parts of the story from the five attempts which Napoleon made to write this story.

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Zohar — Man of la Book
Dis­claimer: I got this book for free.
*Ama­zon links point to an affil­i­ate account

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  • Sharon Henning October 15, 2013 at 3:36 pm

    I would like to read this book. I read a historical fiction novel by Annamarie Selinko titled Desiree. From your description, it sounds like the same woman. This woman is supposed to marry Napoleon but gets dumped for Josephine but goes on to marry a man who becomes King of Sweden (if memory serves). It’s be interesting to read Napoleon’s point of veiw.

    • Zohar - Man of la Book October 16, 2013 at 7:11 am

      Yep, the same person.
      According to what I read though, Napoleon met Josephine a month after him and Desiree broke up.

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