Napoleon: For and Against

By Pieter Geyl; Olive Renier | Go to book overview

CHAPTER III
TWO MORE OLD ACQUAINTANCES

BEFORE I come to Sorel, I must recall the conceptions of Masson, and deal briefly with a book, in which the author of Napoléon intime, ten years after the appearance of that work, set himself to deal with the problem of Napoleon's foreign policy.


MASSON; ENGLAND THE ENEMY; NAPOLEON THE LIBERATOR OF THE NATIONS

We already know that Masson had dealt at length with foreign policy in volumes III and IV of his Napoléon et sa famille, and that he gave his own interpretations which do not agree too well with one another.1 It is possible to gather from those thirteen volumes that the true motive force of Napoleon's European policy was his family sense. On this showing the Emperor did not so much use his brothers to administer le grand empire; he undertook his wars and founded the empire on the fruits of his victories, in order to provide thrones for his brothers. The idea will be remembered from Balzac's story;2 it seems somewhat in conflict with more authentic versions of the Napoleonic legend, although Balzac's veteran and his peasant audience found in it nothing to offend them. But in the introduction to his eighth volume (published in 1906), Masson takes the completely different viewpoint advanced by Vandal. Napoleon's policy and his wars are no longer determined by his omnipotent will. The Emperor, and France, are prisoners of the iron necessity of the struggle with England. Probably it was not under the influence of Vandal, but of Sorel, that Masson wrote in this strain. No one else at any rate worked up the theme of the implacable conflict between France and England to such a hymn of hate, even though his outburst can certainly be regarded as typical of feelings which no doubt Napoleon found in existence, but which he subsequently fanned so successfully that even at the present day they have not lost their hold on the French mind.

____________________
1
See above, pp. 205 sqq.
2
See above, p. 27.

-250-

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Napoleon: For and Against
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Contents 5
  • Preface - To the First Dutch Edition 7
  • Part One - The Antithesis at the Beginning 13
  • Chapter I - Chateaubriand 17
  • Chapter II - Madame de Staël 19
  • Chapter III - The Napoleonic Legend 23
  • Part Two - The First Chroniclers 33
  • Chapter I - M. Mignet 35
  • Chapter II - Baron Bignon 37
  • Chapter III - Armand Lefebvre 45
  • Chapter IV - Adolphe Thiers 53
  • Part Three - Reaction against the Legend 69
  • Chapter I - Jules Barni 73
  • Chapter II - Edgar Quinet 77
  • Chapter III - Pierre Lanfrey 86
  • Chapter IV - Comte D'Haussonville 106
  • Chapter V - Hippolyte Taine 133
  • Part Four - Admirers 149
  • Chapter I - Prince Napoleon 156
  • Chapter II - Henry Houssaye 160
  • Chapter III - Arthur - LéVy Polemic against Taine 169
  • Chapter IV - FréDéric Masson 177
  • Chapter V - Count Albert Vandal 230
  • Part Five - The Problem of Foreign Policy 233
  • Chapter I - Old Acquaintances 235
  • Chapter II - Emile Bourgeois 241
  • Chapter III - Two More Old Acquaintances 250
  • Chapter IV - Albert Sorel 254
  • Chapter V - Edouard Driault 308
  • Part Six - The Antithesis at the End 349
  • Chapter 1 356
  • Chapter II - A. L. Guérard 362
  • Chapter Ill - G. Pariset 364
  • Chapter IV - Jules Isaac 371
  • Chapter V - Charles Seignobos 373
  • Chapter VI - Jacques Bainville 376
  • Chapter VII - Louis Madelin 390
  • Chapter VIII - Gabriel Hanotaux 403
  • Chapter IX - Georges Lefebvre 446
  • Chronological Table 451
  • Index 465
  • Index of Authors 475
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