Fall 2012

Napoleon's Legends

Listed in: European Studies, as EUST-201

Formerly listed as: EUST-14

Moodle site: Course


Ronald C. Rosbottom (Section 01)


Napoleon Bonaparte’s legacy in French domestic and international politics and military strategy profoundly influenced nineteenth-century Europe. But so did the legends surrounding him, created before his great defeat and exile, and nurtured after his death in 1821. In painting, caricature, and sculpture, literature, music, and film, the legends--positive and negative--of Napoleon have served many ends. The cultural complexity of nineteenth- and twentieth-century Europe becomes clearer when one understands the motives behind and results of these representations of Napoleon.

In this course, we will study painting (e.g., David and Goya), narrative fiction (e.g., Balzac, Stendhal, and Tolstoy), poetry (e.g., Wordsworth and Hugo), music (e.g., Beethoven), urban history and architecture (e.g., of Paris), and the silent and sound films of our century (e.g., Gance). We will examine how different generations and a variety of cultures appropriated the real and imagined images of Napoleon for social, political, and artistic ends, and thereby influenced the creation of modern Europe. Three class hours per week.

Fall semester.  Professor Rosbottom.


Foreign culture taught in English


2015-16: Not offered
Other years: Offered in Spring 2009, Fall 2012, Spring 2015