Napoleon's Novella Reveals His Sappy Side

It's on the romantic life of an ambitious soldier
By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted May 12, 2009 3:23 PM CDT
Actors re-enact Napoleon Bonaparte's last battle. After the emperor's death, his novella was divided up and traded among French bibliophiles.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Before Napoleon the ruthless emperor came Napoleon the romance-writing softy—and his masterpiece is due out in English this fall. Clisson and Eugenie is a novella about a triumphant soldier who returns home to marry his lady—of the same name as Napoleon’s first love. The manuscript, penned when Napoleon was 26, was divided up after his death, and only recently reassembled, the Christian Science Monitor reports.

In 1939, a critic judged the incomplete pieces worthy of a collection of “dictators’ grade C works,” not unlike Hitler’s paintings and Mussolini’s writings. But the publisher of the upcoming book says Clisson provides “a fascinating insight into how the young Napoleon viewed love, women, and military life.” And it proves “one of history’s great leaders to also be an accomplished writer of fiction.”